An acceptance of Sweden and Finland into NATO, a process that could take up to a year to finalize, would bring the Western military alliance right to Russia’s 810-mile-long border with Finland and would mark another profound shift to Europe’s strategic landscape brought on by Russia’s war in Ukraine.
At the same time, the Pentagon is rotating new troops into Europe to bolster the alliance’s eastern flank, signaling that the temporary troop buildup is likely to become permanent.
As Western powers buckled down for what Ukraine’s defense minister called a “new, long phase” in the war, developments on the ground bore out the idea that Ukraine was still fighting Russia doggedly in the east and reporting that it was gaining ground.
In recent days, Ukrainian forces have begun consolidating control over the major city of Kharkiv after months of Russian attacks and heavy shelling.
In a seeming replay of the Russian retreat from Kyiv, its battered battalions are withdrawing in order to protect critical supply lines to the east and to reinforce struggling units elsewhere in the Donbas in the country’s east, Ukrainian officials said.