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Ukraine updates: Zelenskyy urges NATO security guarantees – DW – 04/16/2023

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Ukraine needs effective security guarantees ahead of a NATO summit in Lithuania in July.

In his nightly address on Saturday, the Ukrainian leader also restated Kyiv’s desire to join the military alliance as soon as possible.

“Effective security guarantees for Ukraine (…) are needed even before we join the Alliance,” Zelenskyy added without further details.

Ukraine has sought to join the military alliance for years, but in February, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said, “Ukraine will become a member of our alliance, but at the same time that is a long term perspective.”

Zelenskyy wants accelerated accession to the alliance.

However, a prerequisite for joining NATO is that the candidate country must not be involved in international conflicts and border disputes.

This presents a challenge for Ukraine as it continues to face Russian aggression.

Russian justified its invasion of Ukraine last year, in part, over concerns over Ukraine’s eventual membership in NATO.

Here are some of the other notable developments concerning Russia’s war in Ukraine on Sunday, April 16

Russia’s war, China headline G7 talks

Russia’s war on Ukraine and China’s growing pressure on Taiwan top the Group of Seven (G7) foreign minister’s meeting agenda in Japan.

Their discussions in the Japanese resort town of Karuizawa come ahead of a leaders summit in Hiroshima in May.

“Japan’s basic position… on Ukraine is that the security of Europe and that of the Indo-Pacific cannot be discussed separately,” a Japanese government official said ahead of the talks.

The G7’s top diplomats were likely to demand Russia’s immediate withdrawal again and pledge continued support for Kyiv.

Ukrainian Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko already got that assurance from G7 finance ministers he spoke to at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings in Washington this week.

It’s unlikely the meeting in Japan will produce substantive new measures, though promises to support war-crimes prosecution, as well as fresh expressions of concern on nuclear saber-rattling by Russia, are probable.

Putin attends midnight Orthodox Easter service

Russian President Vladimir Putin attended Easter services led by Russian Orthodox Church head Patriarch Kirill, a supporter of Russia’s military war in Ukraine.

Putin was among worshippers attending Easter services led by Russian Orthodox Church head Patriarch KirillImage: Sergei Karpukhin/TASS/picture alliance

In a video message broadcast on state television before the start of the service, Kirill lamented the “grave events taking place on our Russian historical land.”

Putin has, in the past, made it clear that he believes Ukraine has no historical claim to independence.

Kirill called for prayers “so that peace and a common good life, fraternal relations again unite our peoples, who were once the one people of united Russia.”

Zelenskyy and Macron discuss China and peace summit

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Saturday about his recent trip to China.

Macron’s visit was dominated by discussions on the war in Ukraine, with Beijing being a close partner of Moscow.

“I am thankful for the clear support of those principles that unite our entire anti-war coalition,” Zelenskyy said.

He said the discussion lasted for almost an hour and a half.

The two leaders also “discussed the next steps in the organization of a peace summit,” Macron’s office said in a statement.

Zelenskyy proposed a global summit to chart a path to peace in Ukraine, however, there was no detail about what was planned.

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lo/wd (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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