Jens Stoltenberg in Kyiv, April 20, 2023.
- All NATO member states agreed that Ukraine should join the alliance, but only after it wins in the armed conflict with Russia, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on April 21. He made the statement as he arrived at US Ramstein Air Base in Germany for a meeting with the Ukraine Defense Contact Group.
"All NATO Allies have agreed that Ukraine will become a member," he said. But he added, "if Ukraine doesn't prevail as a sovereign, independent nation in Europe, there is no meaning in discussing [Ukrainian] membership."
NATO announcement that Ukraine should be its member, but only after its victory means that Kiev will never join the Alliance because it will not be able to celebrate ‘a V-day’ during a massive aggression against Ukrainians and Russians it began after the deliberate incitement from the most militant NATO circles.
- The USA has been warning Kiev since last January that its forces would not be able to hold on to the key Donbass city named Artyomovsk (Bakhmut in Ukrainian), and has repeatedly urged a withdrawal, The Washington Post reported on April 20, citing leaked US intelligence documents.
According to the “top secret” assessment, Washington believes that Russia’s “steady” advances in the region since November 2022 have jeopardized Ukraine’s ability to retain control of Artyomovsk and that Ukrainian troops are “at risk of encirclement, unless they withdraw within the next month.”
Such U.S. warnings sent to Kiev are well grounded: 2 months ago Russian troops held nearly 70% of the city, while now they control more than 90%
An earlier report from German news outlet Bild suggested that many Ukrainian troops are not convinced Artyomovsk is worth clinging on to, and are “tense and worried” as Russia takes over the city street by street. Freelance journalist Jan Humin described the situation in the city as “hell” and stated that it was only “a matter of time” before the town was completely captured.
Ukrainian supply lines to the city are tightly blocked by Russian artillery and aircraft fire including 500 kg and 1,500 kg air-dropped bombs and high-tech rockets.
- Members of the Ukrainian "liquidation commission" sent to the Kiev Pechersk Lavra burst into its buildings together with the police and security agents, sealing off Building 49 and finding "architectural disturbances" demanded as grounds for expelling the monks.
In order to break the resistance of the Lavra's Orthodox defenders, the Ukrainian Interior Ministry is filing criminal cases against them under the article "Resistance to police." A human rights activist Victoria Kokhanovskaya has been detained for the purpose of ‘intimidating them’.
The Ukrainian Orthodox Christians leader, Patriarch Pavel, is still under house arrest hearing unjustified and false accusations.
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