Ukraine’s NATO Membership

  • President Biden said that his administration would not “make it easy” for Ukraine to join NATO.  When asked about easing the path to membership, he said that Ukraine has “got to meet the same standards [as other member states].  So, we’re not going to make it easy” (Politico). 
  • Previously, Politico reported that Biden is ‘open’ to removing a Membership Action Plan, which requires candidate countries to make democratic and military reforms, to ease Ukraine’s path towards NATO membership if other Allies were also supportive.  Biden spoke about the idea with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during Stoltenberg’s visit to Washington this week.  However, U.S. Ambassador to NATO Julianne Smith said that “I think the allies are now in agreement that a proper invitation is unlikely while they’re engaged in a full-scale war.” (Politico, Washington Post)
  • With the upcoming NATO summit in Vilnius, Zelenskyy has said that he sees “no point” in attending without signs towards Ukrainian admission. Stoltenberg says NATO knows “that we need to address Ukraine’s request for membership and the way forward. There are consultations going on between NATO allies, and these consultations [are not] at a conclusion yet.” (USA Today News)
Biden about Ukraine

Security Guarantees for Ukraine

  • The United States, United Kingdom, France, and Germany have been working to provide Ukraine with security guarantees by formalising their military and economic support for Ukraine and continuing it after the war ends. This type of deal or agreement “would not have the legal force of a treaty.”  A National Security Council spokesperson said that “the U.S. is in talks with Ukraine and our allies and partners on how we can reassure Ukraine about their long-term security to deter any future aggression for after this war ends.” (Politico)
The United States, Great Britain, France and Germany are security guarantors for Ukraine

Ukraine’s Counteroffensive

  • Ukraine recaptured Piatykhatky in the southern Zaporizhzhya region, marking one of Ukraine’s first wins on that front since the start of the counteroffensive. (Politico, Reuters, AP)
  • The U.K. Ministry of Defence said that “the most intense combat focused in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, western Donetsk Oblast, and around Bakhmut,” and Ukraine “has made small advances” while “Russian forces often conduct relatively defensive operations.” (Ministry of Defense)
  • Ukraine also reported that it destroyed an ammunition depot in Kherson. Serhiy Bratchuk, a spokesperson for the Odessa military administration, said that “our armed forces dealt a good blow in the morning — and a very loud one — in the village of Rykove, Henichesk district, in the temporarily occupied territory of the Kherson region.  There was a very significant ammunition depot. It was destroyed” (Reuters)
  • While the counteroffensive was starting, the Nova Kakhovka hydroelectric dam in southern Ukraine was blown up, causing flooding, displacement, and restraining paths of advancement for the Ukrainian military. The New York Times published an article on June 16 showing that signs point to Russia having blown up the dam from within. (Politico, New York Times, AP)
Ukraine’s Counteroffensive

Putin’s Meeting with African Leaders

  • Putin met with a delegation of African leaders, including the leaders of Senegal, Egypt, Zambia, the Comoros, and South Africa.  The meeting came after Putin confirmed the movement of nuclear weapons into Belarus. The South African ties to Moscow have been criticised, especially by the United States. (Politico, Euractiv)
  • Zelenskyy asked the African leaders to ask Putin to free political prisoners. The leaders visited both Ukraine and Russia for a “peace meeting,” with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa saying that “this conflict is affecting Africa negatively.” (AP)
  • The African peace mission left empty-handed and has been followed by fierce fighting, as reported by Russia. (Reuters)
Meeting with African Leaders

Movement of Nuclear Weapons into Belarus

  • Putin confirmed the movement of tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus.  Reuters reported that Putin said that the deployment of these weapons to Belarus was a “reminder to the West that it could not inflict a strategic defeat on Russia.” (Reuters, Euractiv)
  • After Lukashenko said Belarus had received tactical nuclear weapons from Moscow, NATO said that it saw “no sign that Russia has changed its nuclear posture.”  Stoltenberg said, “We are, of course, closely monitoring what Russia is doing.  So far, we haven’t seen any changes in the nuclear posture that requires any change in our posture.”  He also said that “Russia’s nuclear rhetoric and messaging is reckless and dangerous.  Russia must know that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.” (AP)
Nuclear Weapons into Belarus

Russia Planning Elections in Occupied Ukraine

  • Despite the counteroffensive, Russia has announced plans to conduct elections in occupied areas of Ukraine. It has called occupied territories in Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson “the new subjects of the Russian Federation.” (Politico)

Author: Sophie Adams-Smith, Media Analyst, Promote Ukraine

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