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Turkey holds delicate talks with Sweden and Finland ahead of a decision on their NATO membership application

Turkey holds delicate talks with Sweden and Finland ahead of a decision on their NATO membership application

Senior Turkish officials have met with government delegations from Sweden and Finland as discussions continue following Ankara's threat to veto the NATO membership application of the two Nordic countries. Most NATO countries have warmly welcomed the decision of Sweden and Finland since their membership in NATO will considerably strengthen the northern flank of the alliance, but Turkey accuses both countries of having an ambivalent position on Turkey's struggle with militant Kurdish groups. On Wednesday, Swedish and Finnish government delegations travelled to Ankara to meet with Turkish representatives in an effort to resolve the country’s doubts regarding their accession to NATO. In their first face-to-face meeting since the two Nordic countries applied for membership, Turkish representatives stressed their security concerns, and conditions regarding Sweden’s “cooperation” with Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Turkish presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin said in a statement late on Wednesday that positive steps towards the lifting of an arms embargo from Finland and Sweden had been taken. In October of 2019, Sweden and Finland were among some  European states that imposed an arms embargo on Turkey following a military incursion into Syria.

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Updated: Russia recognises Ukrainian breakaway regions as independent countries

Updated: Russia recognises Ukrainian breakaway regions as independent countries

Russia has recognised the breakaway Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Lugansk as independent countries and signed friendship and co-operation agreements with them. Just before, Russian president Vladimir Putin in a long and agitated television address to the nation appeared to question the very existence of the Ukrainian state, lambasted the west for its policy towards Russia, accused the Ukrainian government of genocide in the Donbass region and announced the recognition of the two separatist entities.
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Putin orders the start of strategic nuclear exercises

Putin orders the start of strategic nuclear exercises

Russia's President Vladimir Putin on Saturday ordered the start of strategic nuclear exercises involving launches of ballistic missiles. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, a close ally of Putin, took part in military exercises alongside Putin from a situation centre in the Kremlin. There is intense speculation that Russia will launch an attack against Ukraine in the next days. Speaking to the media in Lithuania on Saturday, U.S. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said Russian forces were beginning to "uncoil and move closer" to the border with Ukraine.
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EU-African Union summit is crucial for both continents

EU-African Union summit is crucial for both continents

European and African leaders come together today and tomorrow for an EU-Africa summit in Brussels with the goal of solidifying the partnership between the two neighbouring continents with a number of initiatives, agreements and investment pledges. The summit comes at a critical time for both continents and its results are crucial for future relations.