(NEW YORK) — Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “special military operation” into neighboring Ukraine began on Feb. 24, with Russian forces invading from Belarus, to the north, and Russia, to the east. Ukrainian troops have offered “stiff resistance,” according to U.S. officials.
The Russian military has since launched a full-scale ground offensive in eastern Ukraine’s disputed Donbas region, attempting to capture the strategic port city of Mariupol to secure a coastal corridor to the Moscow-annexed Crimean Peninsula.
Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern.
May 17, 6:26 pm
State Department ‘confident’ in NATO expansion
As Turkey becomes more vocal about its opposition to Sweden and Finland joining NATO, the State Department said it is still assured of the alliance’s unified support for the two prospective members.
State Department spokesperson Ned Price said during a briefing Tuesday that Secretary of State Antony Blinken came away from meetings with NATO allies with a “sense of confidence there was strong consensus for admitting Finland and Sweden into the alliance if they so choose to join, and we’re confident we’ll be able to preserve that consensus.”
Price said that assessment came from what Blinken heard in conversations behind closed doors.
Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has publicly said that both candidates are untrustworthy because he perceives them as being supportive of groups Ankara views as extremist.
There is speculation that Turkey’s opposition is an attempt to leverage the moment to achieve its own policy goals or concessions from the U.S. Price said Tuesday that Turkey has not made any specific requests.
Price confirmed that Blinken will meet with his Turkish counterpart on the sidelines of the U.N. on Wednesday, adding that “other conversations are ongoing between and among current NATO allies and potential aspirant countries.”
-ABC News’ Shannon Crawford
May 17, 2:22 pm
Finland, Sweden to jointly submit applications for NATO membership on Wednesday
Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson’s office announced Sweden and Finland will jointly submit an application for NATO membership on Wednesday, after she met with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö in Stockholm.
“It is a message of strength and a clear signal that we stand united going into the future,” Andersson said in a joint press conference with the Finnish president.
The two leaders are set to meet President Joe Biden at the White House on Thursday.
The two countries have stepped away from nonalignment in the wake of Russian’s invasion of Ukraine, and fears for their own security.
-ABC News’ Christine Theodorou
May 17, 2:11 pm
ICC sends 42 investigators to Ukraine
The International Criminal Court deployed a team of 42 investigators forensic and support personnel to Ukraine to advance investigations into crimes falling under ICC jurisdiction and provide support to Ukrainian authorities.
“This represents the largest ever single field deployment by my office since its establishment,” ICC prosecutor Karim Khan said Tuesday.
Khan said 21 countries have offered to send national experts to his office and 20 states have committed to provide financial contributions.
“I look forward to working with all actors, including survivor groups, national authorities, civil society organisations and international partners, in order to accelerate this collective work moving forward,” Khan said.
-ABC News’ Christine Theodorou
May 17, 1:33 pm
US commerce secretary says export controls on Russia are working
Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told reporters Tuesday that the export controls the U.S. and other countries have put on Russia are working, including compliance from China.
“These export controls are having a strong and significant effect,” Raimondo said Tuesday.
Raimondo returned from Paris where she co-chaired the U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council Ministerial Meeting. She said there was consensus and partnership amongst countries with respect to cutting off Russia’s access to “critical technologies.”
“We’ve had extensive discussions on export controls,” she said.
The Commerce Department and 37 other countries have limited semiconductor chips that can be exported to Russia, which help not only everyday Russian carmakers, but the Russian military build and use military equipment.
“You’ve all heard the anecdotal stories of Russia’s inability to continue to produce tanks and auto companies shutting down but overall U.S. exports to Russia have decreased over 80%, between February and a week ago,” she said. “So we essentially stopped sending high tech to Russia, which is what they need for their military.”
Even China, Raimondo said, stopped shipping tech products such as laptops to Russia by 40% compared to a year ago.
Asked whether she trusts the Chinese data, Raimondo said it is “consistent” with what the Ukrainians are seeing on the ground.
“We are not seeing systematic efforts by China to go around our export controls,” she said. “So yes, I think this is probably quite accurate.”
-ABC News’ Luke Barr
May 17, 9:20 am
Biden to meet with leaders of Sweden, Finland as they seek to join NATO
President Joe Biden will host Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson of Sweden and President Sauli Niinistö of Finland at the White House on Thursday as the two countries seek to join NATO, the White House announced Tuesday.
The three leaders will “discuss Finland’s and Sweden’s NATO applications and European security,” according to a statement from White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
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