Newsflash – May 12, 2022

NATO – The president of Romania Klaus Iohannis hailed Finland’s announcement regarding its intention to join NATO, and says Bucharest supported the decision. „Romania is a firm supporter of NATO’s open door policy and stands ready to support Finland in the process of NATO accession. Together we are stronger!” Iohannis posted on Twitter on Thursday. The president of Finland Sauli Niinistö and PM Sanna Marin Thursday spoke in favour of the country’s joining NATO without delay, with the candidacy to be announced on Sunday, AFP reports. As a member of NATO, Finland would strengthen the Alliance as a whole, the two officials said in a joint press release. Finland’s accession will be a threat to Russia, the Kremlin said in response. Three in four Finnish citizens support the accession. A neutral state during the Cold War, Finland joined the EU and NATO’s Partnership for Peace programme, but remained outside the alliance. The decision to join NATO comes against the background of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Finland shares a 1,300-km border with Russia.

UKRAINE – A first Russian soldier will be on trial in Ukraine for killing a civilian in the Sumy region. International teams of prosecutors and investigators continue to probe into war crimes committed by the Russian army, with more than 10,000 such cases pending. According to Radio Romania’s special correspondent, investigators say the 21-year old Russian soldier killed a Ukrainian civilian who was walking his bike along the sidewalk. The soldier and other Russian troops were in a stolen car, after their unit had been destroyed by the Ukrainian forces. The prosecutor general of Ukraine, Iryna Venediktova, said there was enough evidence of his involvement in violation of the laws and customs of war, including premeditated murder, and that he was facing 10 to 15 years or life in prison. Experts from Poland, Lithuania and France help the teams of investigators, and the cases documented so far point to people being killed with no reason. Clashes continued on Thursday in the north-east and south-east of Ukraine, with both sides announcing local-scale advances.

(Radio Romania International)