Ukraine counter-attacks Russian forces in the east

Ruska Lozova (Ukraine), May 16

Russia attacked positions in eastern Ukraine as it tries to encircle Ukrainian forces in the Donbas and fend off a counteroffensive around the city of Izium.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Russia’s offensive in Donbas had stalled and Ukraine could win the war, an outcome few military analysts predicted at the outset of the conflict.

“Russia’s war in Ukraine is not going as Moscow had planned,” Stoltenberg told reporters on Sunday.

In a strategic blow for Russia, which has long opposed NATO expansion, Finland on Sunday confirmed it would apply to join the Atlantic military alliance.

Sweden’s ruling Social Democrats also on Sunday backed NATO membership, paving the way for an application and abandoning decades of military non-alignment.

NATO and the United States said they were confident both countries would be accepted into the alliance and that reservation from Turkey, which wants the Nordic countries to halt support for Kurdish militant groups present on their territory, could be overcome.

Ukraine has scored a series of successes since Russia invaded on February 24, reversing an advance on the capital Kyiv and driving Russian forces out of Kharkiv in the east.