In Finland, lawmakers began debating whether to join NATO – the latest example of the war being counterproductive to Russia’s goals. Mr Putin sought to prevent Ukraine from ever joining the alliance, eliminate the country’s military and political independence and sow divisions within NATO.
Instead, Finland and Sweden are heading to give up their longstanding non-alignment and seek NATO’s protection from an aggressive Russia. NATO is ramping up military spending and is more united than it has been in years, and the Ukrainian military has put up a surprisingly tough fight against the larger but often disorganized and demoralized invasion force.
The invasion of Ukraine has also banned Russia financially and economically – interrupted Wednesday at a meeting of the group of 20 finance ministers. Several participants, including Finance Minister Janet L. Yellen and Ukraine’s Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko, left abruptly in protest when Russia’s Finance Minister Anton Siluanov began speaking.
The United States and other NATO countries have been funneling huge quantities of weapons into Ukraine, and increasingly those shipments include heavier, more advanced and longer-range weapons – large-caliber artillery, armored vehicles, anti-aircraft missiles and spare parts for damaged aircraft – that ominous warnings from the Kremlin.
Even Germany has overturned a long-held ban on shipping weapons to a conflict zone and ramped up its own military spending, but calls to go even further and ship tanks to Ukraine have divided the government in Berlin.
Russia has falsely insisted since the invasion began on February 24 that it hit only military targets, but countless shattered, burnt and flattened apartment buildings, shops, offices, houses and cars testify to the contrary. In the town of Avdiivka in Donbas, near the front lines, where Russian bombing has left a number of civilians killed and injured and many of those displaced underground, airstrikes this week destroyed a supermarket and an athletic store in the heart of the city.