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BERLIN (AP) — A senior NATO official said Russia’s military advance in Ukraine appeared to be faltering and he expressed hope that kyiv could win the war.

Senior NATO diplomats meet in Berlin on Sunday to discuss further support for Ukraine and steps taken by Finland, Sweden and others to join the Western alliance in the face of threats from Russia.

“The brutal invasion (by) Russia is losing momentum,” NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoana told reporters. “We know that with the bravery of the Ukrainian people and army, and with our help, Ukraine can win this war.”

Geoana, who was chairing the meeting while NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was recovering from COVID-19 infection, said Ukraine supporters were “united, we are strong, we will continue to help Ukraine win this war”.

NATO’s expansion beyond its current 30 member states is one of the main issues being discussed in Berlin.

Finland and Sweden have already taken steps to join the alliance, while Georgia’s candidacy is being discussed again despite dire warnings from Moscow about the consequences if its neighbor becomes a NATO member.

“Finland and Sweden are already NATO’s closest partners,” Geoana said, adding that he expected allies to view their candidacies positively.

Georgian officials will also be invited to an upcoming NATO summit in Madrid, he said, adding that the alliance’s open door policy “remains sacrosanct”.

The meeting follows a meeting of foreign ministers from the major Group of Seven economies on Germany’s Baltic Sea coast this week. Officials there expressed strong support for Ukraine and warned that Russia’s blockade of grain exports from Ukrainian ports risked fueling a global food crisis.


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The Associated Press