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Europe Supports Ukraine Despite Energy Crisis: EU's Von der Leyen | Europe In :60 | GZERO Media

Europe supports Ukraine despite energy crisis: EU’s von der Leyen

Carl Bildt, former prime minister of Sweden, shares his perspective on European politics.

What were the main points of the commission President Ursula von der Leyen's State of Europe speech?

Well, the first point was obviously support for Ukraine in different forms. And she highlighted in particular the need to get Ukraine full access to the European internal market, thus facilitating the long-term development of the Ukrainian economy. The second item that she dealt with quite a lot was, of course, the energy crisis in order to bear and handle the winter as the Russians are cutting the gas.

Second question: what's going to happen in Sweden after the recent election?

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Ukrainian soldiers pose with their national flag outside a Kharkiv village recently liberated from Russia.

Ukrainian Armed Forces/Handout via REUTERS

What We’re Watching: Ukraine retakes Kharkiv, Sweden turns right

Ukraine makes big gains, Putin gets rare pushback

As the war reached its 200-day mark Sunday, the Ukrainian military made its most significant gains against Russia since the invasion began. President Volodymyr Zelensky said more than 1,000 km of territory had been liberated and promised that the ultimate goal is “de-occupation.” The loss of Izyum and dozens of other Kharkiv towns and villages that had been under Russian occupation was met by Moscow with a flurry of air strikes to knock out power and water in the region. Russia notably admitted on Sunday that it had lost much of the northern Kharkiv region. Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin came under fire from pro-war conservatives and allies like Chechnyan leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who publicly admitted that the “special military operation” was not going to plan. Also, local officials in Putin’s hometown of St. Petersburg petitioned the Duma (parliament) to oust the president for committing alleged treason (they’ve been dealt with swiftly). Finally, there has been some relief at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine: after losing all power and the ability to cool its last functioning reactor, the facility was finally reconnected to a backup power line on Sunday.

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Annie Gugliotta

What We’re Watching: Australia’s climate bill, Ukraine’s progress, Sweden’s election

Australia passes climate bill after a decade

The Australian parliament has passed its first piece of climate legislation in over a decade just months after Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of the center-left Labor Party came to power vowing to prioritize climate change mitigation efforts. The bill – supported by the Green Party and independents but not by former PM Scott Morrison’s Liberal Party – passed the Senate (and is all but assured to be passed by the lower house). It includes a commitment to slash greenhouse emissions by 43% from 2005 levels by the end of the decade. For context, the US emission reduction goal for 2030 is 50%, Canada’s is 40%, and the UK’s is 78% by 2035. Although the new target is an improvement from the former conservative government’s 26%, critics say the bill doesn’t go far enough to offset Australia’s large carbon footprint. Australia is the world’s second-largest exporter of coal and relies on coal for 75% of its electricity consumption. The Albanese government has notably not banned new coal and gas projects – lucrative Australian exports – which some say could make this 43% target hard to meet. Still, after years of government foot-dragging, many Aussies are hailing this progress four months after a general election that was seen in large part as a referendum on climate (in)action.

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Putin looks on during his meeting with the Lebanese president at the Kremlin in Moscow.

REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Is NATO expansion bad for Russia?

For the first time in nearly two decades, NATO just got a lot closer to Russia’s borders. At a summit in Madrid on Wednesday, alliance leaders formally invited Sweden and Finland to join, ending more than half a century of neutrality by both countries.

At the same time, the alliance adopted a new strategic plan in which Russia has gone from being the West’s “strategic partner” to its “most significant threat.” And to underscore the point, NATO is putting more than 300,000 troops on high alert against Russian aggression.

Looks pretty bad for Vladimir Putin, wouldn’t you say? Well, let’s consider a few perspectives.

Yes, of course it’s very bad. NATO’s border with Russia has just doubled to more than 1,600 miles, and those two new members are no strategic slouches. Sweden and Finland are both highly advanced militaries with decades of experience keeping a close eye on Russia, especially the Finns.

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Paige Fusco

What is Turkey thinking?

It’s been over a month since Finland and Sweden applied to join NATO. But despite expectations of a speedy process, the joint bid has been met by an unexpected and troublesome obstacle: Turkey.

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Ari Winkleman

NATO debates Russia and Trump

NATO defense ministers will wrap up important meetings in Brussels later today ahead of a crucial summit of the alliance’s heads of state in Madrid at the end of June. This is a crucial moment in the history of the world’s largest-ever and most successful security alliance. Russia’s war on Ukraine has given the organization a sense of unity and purpose it hasn’t had since the Cold War. NATO leaders will now try to use this boost to prepare for the complex challenges ahead.

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NATO’s Tough Choices Ahead | GZERO World

NATO’s tough choices ahead

Is NATO stronger today than it was before Russia invaded Ukraine?

Certainly, former US State Department official Anne-Marie Slaughter tells Ian Bremmer on GZERO World, but now the tougher issue is how the alliance can say yes to Finland and Sweden but no to Ukraine, despite spending billions of dollars to help the Ukrainians fight the Russians.

"If you say yes to Ukraine, well, surely you have to say yes to Moldova and to Belarus and to Georgia, and then where are you?"

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Finland & Sweden Joining NATO Will Strengthen NATO As Western Alliance | Europe In :60 | GZERO Media

Finland and Sweden NATO bid faces problems with Turkey’s Erdogan

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective on European politics from Nuuk, Greenland.

Will Sweden and Finland join NATO?

Well, they have decided, Finland is in the process of a parliamentary process. Sweden took the government decision today to apply for membership of NATO. That means that they will hand in their applications within a day or two, that’s dependent upon some technical details. And then it is up to the NATO members to decide whether they will be accepted or not. It’s welcomed by most countries. The Russian reaction, so far, has been perhaps somewhat more subdued than you could expect; they have other issues to deal with at the moment. There are some problems with Mr. Erdogan in Turkey who wants to extract some concessions on completely unrelated issues. But I would hope, and I would guess, that this would be sorted out. And this will no doubt strengthen NATO as a Western alliance, a cohesive alliance, determined to do its contribution to the stability of Europe with the support also of the administration in Washington.

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