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Russia warns Finland, G7 wants to expand sanctions

► For Russia, Finland’s membership in NATO “would be a mistake, since there is no threat”

The Finnish president called Vladimir Putin on Saturday to inform him of his country’s imminent candidacy for NATO. “The conversation was direct and direct and passed without annoyance”affirmed the Finnish Head of State Sauli Niinistö, very regular interlocutor of the Russian President in recent years.

According to Moscow, Vladimir Putin told him that to see Finland end its historic policy of military non-alignment “would be a mistake, since there is no threat to the security of Finland”. Moscow has threatened to take action “technico-military” in retaliation.

Electricity exports from Russia to Finland ceased overnight from Friday to Saturday. The company responsible for selling Russian electricity to Finland, RAO Nordic, announced on Friday its intention to stop deliveries, citing unpaid bills, as Finland prepares to announce its candidacy for NATO.

The Finnish network is, however, in balance thanks to imports from Sweden, according to the real-time map of the Finnish operator Fingrid, which said on Friday it could do without ” without difficulty “ Russian electricity. Finland has so far imported about 10% of its total electricity consumption from its Russian neighbour.

Also historically out of military alliances so far, Sweden is also preparing to make its decision to join NATO, with a key meeting of the ruling Social Democratic Party on Sunday in Stockholm.

► The G7 “will never recognize the borders” that Russia is trying to change by force

The foreign ministers of the seven major powers reaffirmed, on Saturday May 14 at the end of a three-day meeting in northern Germany, that the G7 “will never recognize the borders that Russia has tried to change through military intervention.”

They also again called on Belarus to “stop facilitating Russia’s intervention and respect its international commitments”. They also promised “to broaden the sanctions” economic targets aimed at Moscow “sectors on which Russia is particularly dependent”, while urging China to “do not undermine” these measures, and by accelerating efforts to “put an end to dependence on Russian energy”.

Separately, G7 agriculture ministers on Saturday criticized India’s decision to ban wheat exports after a recent heat wave, saying it “will only aggravate the crisis” grain supply already strained with the war in Ukraine.

► Ukrainian intelligence chief believes his country will win the war “before the end of the year”

The war in Ukraine will experience a “turning” in August and Russia will be defeated ” before the end of the year “, predicted the head of Ukrainian military intelligence, Kyrylo Budanov in an interview with the British channel Sky News published on Friday evening. According to him, kyiv will succeed in reconquering all of its territory. Victory will not be ” not easy “but ” she will come “he continued, thinking ” optimistic “. “The turning point will take place in the second half of August”he predicted.

According to Kyrylo Budanov, the Russian army “suffered heavy losses in men and armaments”. However, no independent statistics are available. Kyrylo Budanov also claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin was “in very poor physical and psychological condition”assuring that he was ” very sick “.

► The fighting continues in the Donbass

“There is heavy fighting on the border with the Donetsk region, near Popasna”commented Friday evening on Facebook Serguiï Gaïdaï, Ukrainian governor of the Lugansk region, reporting numerous losses in equipment and personnel on the Russian side.

A spokesman for the Ukrainian general staff noted on Saturday morning that the Russians had no “not interrupted their offensive in the eastern operational zone. The enemy continues its missile strikes on industrial infrastructure and its firing at civilian targets throughout Ukraine. »

Sviatoslav Palamar, deputy commander of the Azov regiment, one of the Ukrainian formations at the Azovstal factory in Mariupol, appealed for help from the United States “to evacuate our wounded and (that they) mobilize all efforts to help extract our regiment” of this encirclement “There are nearly 600 wounded on Azovstal, the Russians continue to bombard the military hospital”he testified from the factory.

► Vladimr Putin would like to annex the South and East of Ukraine, according to the ISW

According to the American Institute for the Study of War (ISW), Vladimir Putin “probably intends to annex southern and eastern Ukraine to the Russian Federation in the coming months”. “Ukraine and its Western partners probably have only a small window of opportunity to support a counter-offensive in the territories occupied before” their annexation, according to this body.

In Georgia, a pro-Russian separatist region has taken a step towards joining Russia. The authorities of this ” Republic “ self-proclaimed separatist, de facto independent of pro-Western Georgia and occupied by Moscow forces since a Russian military intervention in 2008, announced that they would organize a referendum on July 17 on its integration into Russia.