War against Ukraine: ++ Sweden votes on joining NATO ++

Sweden’s parliament is voting today on whether the country should join NATO. Ukraine is set to receive a $15.6 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund. The developments in the live blog.

4:33 a.m

Swedish parliament votes on joining NATO

The Swedish parliament is voting today on whether the country should join NATO. The parliamentarians’ approval of the government’s proposal to join the western military alliance is considered certain. However, the “yes” of the NATO members Turkey and Hungary is still pending. Turkey has so far blocked Sweden’s membership and is demanding tougher action from the government in Stockholm against Kurdish activists in the country, who Ankara considers “terrorists”.

3:22 a.m

Japan’s Prime Minister invites Selenskyj to the G7 meeting

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida pledged further support for Ukraine during a surprise visit to Kiev. At a joint press conference with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kiev, Kishida invited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to attend online the next G7 summit in May in the Japanese city of Hiroshima, Japanese news agency Kyodo reported.

Japan currently holds the G7 presidency. The group also includes Germany, the US, France, the UK, Italy and Canada. Prior to his visit to Kiev, Kishida was the only leader or president of the group who had not visited Ukraine since Russia’s attack last year. He also promised Ukraine $30 million to purchase equipment, according to Kyodo. The money is to be made available through a NATO fund.

1:37 a.m

More billions in loans for Kyiv

Ukraine and its international donors have set the course for a new billion-euro financing package. The loan program promised by the IMF is intended to give the country attacked by Russia access to 15.6 billion US dollars – the equivalent of around 14.5 billion euros – according to the Washington-based International Monetary Fund.

The technical level agreement (a so-called Staff Level Agreement) is subject to approval by the Executive Board. The test is expected to take place in the coming weeks, it said. In addition to the terrible humanitarian consequences, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to have a devastating impact on the economy, according to the IMF. “Economic activity fell by 30 percent in 2022, much of the capital stock was destroyed, and poverty rose.” The IMF assumes that the Ukrainian economy will slowly recover in the coming quarters.

1:29 am

Selenskyj recalls successes after the beginning of the war

More than a year after the start of the Russian war of aggression, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy recalled the first successes of his army. On March 21, 2022, the battle for the village of Moschchun, not far from the capital Kiev, was won, Zelenskyy said in his evening video address. “This was our state’s first major step toward victory in this war.” The Ukrainian leader also recalled the subsequent recapture of the eastern Kharkiv region and part of Kherson in the south of the country. He also announced: “We will come to the same result with other offensive actions”. With a view to the hard-fought Donbass in eastern Ukraine, Zelenskyj was confident. The Ukrainian flag will also fly again on the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, which Moscow illegally annexed in 2014, he stressed.

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