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Ending weeks of standoff, Russia takes key port but sees setbacks elsewhere

Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

“The fact that the security of Sweden and Finland will not be strengthened as a result of this decision is very clear to us,” the Interfax news agency quoted Ryabkov as saying. “They should have no illusions that we will simply put up with it.”

Entry into NATO by Finland and Sweden — long officially nonaligned nations that have avoided allying with major powers — would significantly alter the transatlantic security architecture in existence since the end of World War II.

In another symbol of just how isolated Russia has become, McDonald’s announced Monday that it had begun the process of selling its chain of 850 restaurants in Russia, calling the company’s presence “inconsistent with McDonald’s values.”

More than three decades ago in a sign of easing Cold War tensions, McDonald’s was the first American fast-food restaurant to open in the Soviet Union — just two months after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Inside Ukraine, the Russian military has had little to celebrate. In its most recent setback, Russian forces have been driven back from Kharkiv, the second-most populous city, which lies about 25 miles from the border and has been under heavy assault since the beginning of the war.

In a video message, Zelenskyy thanked troops who had pushed Russian forces toward the border.

 

Russians were reported to be pressing attacks Monday in the Donbas region, Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland.

Russian aircraft “damaged civilian and military infrastructure in the eastern war zone and industrial facilities deep in Ukraine,” the Ukrainian military said Monday. Russia is “preparing offensive operations” with forces based in the Russian-controlled eastern Ukrainian city of Izyum, a key strategic point in the Donbas battle.

Zelenskyy said that Ukraine was bracing for expanded Russian assaults in the region.

“We are preparing for new attempts by Russia to attack in Donbas, to somehow intensify its movement in the south of Ukraine,” he said. “The occupiers still do not want to admit that they are in a dead end and their so-called special operation has already gone bankrupt.”

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