Sign up for GZERO's daily newsletter

{{ subpage.title }}

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses via video link the 26th Annual Economist Government Roundtable in Lagonisi, Greece.

DPA via Reuters

What We're Watching: Ukraine tackles corruption, Nordics-Turkey NATO drama

Ukraine sacks officials over graft

Just days after the Ukrainian defense ministry called reports of graft in its procurement contracts “nonsense,” a deputy defense minister has been sacked to “preserve the trust” of Kyiv’s international partners. Also ousted: one of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s top deputies, a fellow known for living lavishly and speeding around in a flashy car while his countrymen sleep in trenches. The move follows reports that Ukraine’s defense ministry had overpaid for food supplies, suggesting that kickbacks were in the mix. Despite making progress in recent years, Ukraine’s government has long struggled with endemic corruption, but Kyiv is particularly concerned to allay concerns in Europe and the US, which have sent tens of billions of dollars in aid to the country since Russia’s invasion. We’re also watching to see how things play out among rank-and-file soldiers — allegations of corruption at the top during a war where troops are defending their country with homemade dune buggies is a bad bad look …

Read more Show less
Paige Fusco

Hard Numbers: Erdo vs. Nordics, China’s economic slump, new Nigerian voters, bridge to Sicily, Ukrainian chopper crash

130: Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan wants Finland and Sweden to hand over 130 political dissidents that Ankara calls "terrorists" in order to approve their joint application to join NATO. His demand comes a week after Kurdish activists in Stockholm hung an effigy of Erdoğan from a lamppost to protest against the Turkish leader for holding the Nordics' NATO bids hostage.

Read more Show less

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, Finland's President Sauli Niinisto and Sweden's Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson pose after signing a document during a NATO summit in Madrid, Spain.

REUTERS/Violeta Santos Moura

What We're Watching: Turkey backs off, Texas migrant tragedy, bombshell Jan. 6 testimony, Iran woos BRICS

Turkey opens NATO door to Finland and Sweden

The first day of the NATO Summit in Madrid brought concrete results. Turkey, Finland, and Sweden came to an agreement that addresses Ankara’s security concerns and paves the path to Finland and Sweden joining NATO. The Nordics’ joint bid for membership, inspired by Russian aggression in Ukraine, was at the center of the summit’s agenda. Accession demands consensus, and Turkey had raised objections, making security-centric demands from Stockholm and Helsinki that threatened to slow the process. In response, Sweden and Finland have suspended a 2019 arms embargo against Ankara and agreed to cut assistance to the People’s Protection Units, an armed group affiliated with the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, Turkey’s enemy. Some of Ankara’s requests still need to be discussed, but Turkey is walking away from its veto option, swinging the doors open to Finland and Sweden’s membership in NATO. Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, has said the expansion doesn’t threaten Russia but warned that Moscow would respond to any extension of military infrastructure into that region.

Read more Show less

Subscribe to our free newsletter, GZERO Daily

Latest