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Small wins buoy Ukraine; West says Russians losing momentum

Small wins buoy Ukraine; West says Russians losing momentum

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Almost trio months following Russia shocked the world by invading Ukraine, its military faced a bogged-down war, the likelihood of a bigger NATO with every one other accompanied by a defending country buoyed by its come first in inside a hugely well liked pan-European music competition Sunday.

Finland announced it would apply to fasten NATO, while top diplomats from the Western alliance, including U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, gathered Sunday inside Berlin to talk over the war. Sweden's governing communal gathering plans to announce its position on seeking NATO belonging subsequent Sunday.

The set of two nonaligned Nordic nations becoming small portion of the alliance would constitute an affront to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has cited NATO's post-Cold War expansion inside Eastern Europe while a threat to Russia. NATO says it is a purely defending alliance.

Ukraine said it was holding off Russian offensives Sunday inside the country's east. Western military officials said the military operation Moscow launched there following its forces failed to seize Kyiv, Ukraine's capital, had slowed to a snail's pace.

"The brutal invasion (by) Russia is losing momentum," NATO Deputy Secretary-General Mircea Geoana said. "We know that accompanied by the bravery of the Ukrainian people with every one other accompanied by army, with every one other accompanied by with our help, Ukraine tin come first in this war."

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Ukraine, meanwhile, celebrated a morale-boosting victory inside the Eurovision Song Contest. The folk-rap ensemble Kalush Orchestra won the glitzy, televised Eurovision competition accompanied by its air "Stefania," which has become a well liked anthem among Ukrainians throughout the war. Votes from place of residence viewers across Europe cemented the victory.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy vowed his nation would claim the customary winner's integrity of hosting the following yearly competition.

"Step by step, we are forcing the occupiers to depart from the Ukrainian land," Zelenskyy said.

Russian with every one other accompanied by Ukrainian fighters are engaged inside a grinding battle for the country's eastern manufacturing heartland, the Donbas. Ukraine's most experienced with every one other accompanied by best-equipped soldiers are based inside eastern Ukraine, where they have fought Moscow-backed separatists for eight years.

The Ukrainian military said Sunday that it had held off a renewed Russian insulting near Bakhmut with every one other accompanied by Slavyansk, inside the eastern Dontesk region. A geographical official said Russian troops too made renewed attempts at a breakthrough near the eastern city of Izyum early Sunday, nevertheless were held spine by Ukrainian forces.

"The enemy is constantly checking the positions of our armed forces, trying to shatter into and not here of them, nevertheless has had no indeed favourable consequence with every one other accompanied by on one occasion additional suffered heavy anthropoid with every one other accompanied by apparatus losses," Oleh Sinegubov, the manager of Ukraine's Kharkiv region, wrote inside a Telegram post.

His claims could not exist independently verified.

Britain's Defense Ministry said inside its done every one day intellectual capacity update Sunday that the Russian armed force had lost up to one-third of the combat ability it committed to Ukraine inside late February with every one other accompanied by continued to hurt "consistently high levels of attrition" while failing to gain some substantial territory.

"Under the contemporaneous conditions, Russia is unlikely to dramatically accelerate its percentage of go forward over the following 30 days," the management dividing said on Twitter.

The assessments of Russia's war show by Ukraine's supporters came while Russian troops retreated from around Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, following bombarding it for weeks.

The mostly Russian-speaking city accompanied by a prewar inhabitants of 1.4 million is only 80 kilometers (50 miles) southwest of the Russian city of Belgorod, with every one other accompanied by was a answer military impartial earlier inside the war, when Moscow hoped to capture with every one other accompanied by clasp greatest cities.

Ukraine's military has said Moscow is focused now while an alternative on guarding present with routes, while launching mortar, artillery with every one other accompanied by airstrikes inside an try to deplete Ukrainian forces with every one other accompanied by demolish fortifications inside the country's east.

Ukrainian troops are clearing villages on the outskirts of Kharkiv following pushing the Russians back, with every one other accompanied by some residents were returning.

"The war has shifted to a new flat of distance artillery fighting -- we blaze at them, they blaze at us," said a Ukrainian leader who gave only his earliest name, Serhii.

Russia is too striking railways, factories with every one other accompanied by other infrastructure across Ukraine. A Russian missile hit "military infrastructure facilities" inside the Yavoriv neighbourhood of western Ukraine, near the border accompanied by Poland. early Sunday morning.

There was no indeed immediate details on deceased or injured, Lviv Regional Governor Maksym Kozytskyy posted on the Telegram messaging app.

Russia has targeted objection strongly at facilities with every one other accompanied by other critical infrastructure inside western Ukraine a greatest gateway for NATO-supplied weapons. Western officials have said in malice of the attacks there has been no indeed appreciable impact on Ukraine's ability to resupply its forces.

After failing to capture Kyiv following the Feb. 24 invasion, Putin has shifted his focus eastward to the Donbas, aiming to seize territory not by that hour dated occupied by the Moscow-backed separatists.

Airstrikes with every one other accompanied by artillery barrages build it extremely dangerous for journalists to go around inside the east, hindering efforts to obtain a filled painting of the fighting. But it appears to exist a back-and-forth slog lacking greatest breakthroughs on either side.

In his nightly address Saturday, Zelenskyy said "the circumstances inside Donbas remains extremely difficult" with every one other accompanied by Russian troops were "still trying to go nearer not here at least somewhat victorious."

In the southern Donbas, the Azov Sea port of Mariupol is now mostly under Russian control, except for a few hundred Ukrainian troops who have refused to surrender with every one other accompanied by carry on accompanied by to exist holed up inside the Azovstal steel factory.

A convoy of in the centre of 500 with every one other accompanied by 1,000 cars carrying civilians not here of Mariupol reportedly was intelligent to stretch not here the Ukrainian-held city of Zaporizhzhia on Saturday. Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk had said authorities were negotiating the evacuation of 60 severely wounded troops from the steel plant.

Turkey's presidential spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, said the country had offered to evacuate wounded Ukrainian soldiers with every one other accompanied by civilians by ship from Azovstal, according to official condition broadcaster TRT. Kalin said Russian with every one other accompanied by Ukrainian officials had not specified Turkey a understandable answer concerning the evacuation plan, nevertheless that it was still on the table.

The invasion of Ukraine has other countries down Russia's flank worried they could exist next. The management of long-neutral Finland, which shares both a 1,340-kilometer (830-mile) land border with every one other accompanied by the Gulf of Finland accompanied by Russia, formally announced Sunday that it would apply for NATO membership.

"This is a famous day," President Sauli Niinistö, announcing Finland's decision alongside Prime Minister Sanna Marin, said inside Helsinki.

Sweden's governing Social Democratic Party is place to announce its decision on NATO belonging Sunday. If it comes not here inside favor, while is expected, an application to fasten the Western military alliance could occur within days.

NATO operates by consensus, with every one other accompanied by the Nordic nations' potential bids were thrown into question Friday when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country was "not of a favorable opinion."

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu accused the set of two countries of supporting Kurdish rebel groups nevertheless suggested Turkey would not necessarily chunk them joining NATO.

"These are the issues that we need to talk, of course, accompanied by our NATO allies," he said.

In a phone call Saturday, Putin told the Finnish president that there are no indeed threats to Finland's safety with every one other accompanied by joining NATO would exist an "error" with every one other accompanied by "negatively affect Russian-Finnish relations."

Marin, Finland's main minister, said joining NATO would assist guarantee tranquillity for Finland.

"We have had wars accompanied by Russia, with every one other accompanied by we don't want that sort of future for ourselves or for our children," she said.


McQuillan reported from Lviv. Yuras Karmanau inside Lviv, Mstyslav Chernov with every one other accompanied by Andrea Rosa inside Kharkiv, Elena Becatoros inside Odesa with every one other accompanied by other AP staffers around the world contributed to this report.


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