Finland Joins NATO as Ukraine Continues to Fight in Bakhmut

NATO’s expansion into former Soviet-controlled eastern and southern European countries enraged the Kremlin and strained its relationship with Washington.

President Putin cited NATO’s threat to expand into Ukraine as its reason for launching the war against the country last year. Follow our live blog for updates on the situation in Ukraine, all times are in Paris (GMT+2).

6:45am: Russian and Belarusian taekwondo athletes are now allowed to compete as neutrals at the upcoming world championships after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommended that athletes from both countries return to international competition following their ban last year due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The IOC also readmitted Russians and Belarusians as neutrals to compete in table tennis, fencing and judo.

03:53am: Ukraine’s Air Force command reported that Russia sent 17 Iranian-made Shahed drones to attack Ukraine overnight, with 14 of them destroyed by Ukraine’s air-defense systems.

12:00am: Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov threatened “tough” dealings with Europe if the EU continues to be hostile to Russia.

Lavrov said the EU has “lost” Russia and blames it on EU members and leaders wishing to inflict a “strategic defeat” on Russia.

He claimed that Russia has already decided how to approach Europe as it already supplies weapons and instructors to the “criminal regime” in Kyiv.

Key developments from Monday April 3:

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin posthumously decorated the high-profile military blogger Vladlen Tatarsky with Russia’s Order of Courage. Tatarsky, whose real name was Maxim Fomin, was killed in an explosion at a St. Petersburg café on Sunday.
  • 26-year-old Darya Trepova has been detained by Russian officials on suspicion of carrying out the bomb attack that killed Tatarsky.
  • Evan Gershkovich, the US journalist who was arrested in Russia last week on spying claims, is appealing his detention. Gershkovich, 31, is believed to be the first foreign journalist arrested on spying allegations since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

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