Turkey threatens to block Finland and Sweden from joining Nato

Turkey has vowed to veto Finland and Sweden’s Nato applications just hours after they confirmed they would seek membership. The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said the Scandinavian nations shouldn’t even bother sending diplomats to try and change his mind. The countries have drawn the president’s anger over their welcoming of Kurdish refugees with ties to pro-independence groups. At a news conference on Monday, he said Nato would become a ‘hatchery’ for terrorists if they joined, adding: ‘Neither of these countries have a clear, open attitude towards terrorist organisations. How can we trust them?’ Sweden said it was ‘entering a … Continue reading Turkey threatens to block Finland and Sweden from joining Nato

Sweden and Finland confirm plans to join Nato

Sweden and Finland have confirmed they will apply for Nato membership in a historic shift that comes as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In Sweden, the governing Social Democrats said they backed joining the security alliance, paving the way for the country to apply. The announcement came soon after Finland too formally announced it would apply to join the grouping. Sweden stayed neutral in World War II and for more than two centuries has avoided joining military alliances. Finland shares a 1,300-km (810-mile) border with Russia. Until now, it has stayed out of Nato to avoid antagonizing its … Continue reading Sweden and Finland confirm plans to join Nato

Australia says Chinese spy ship sighted close to west coast

Australia’s defence minister has said a Chinese warship with spying capabilities had been tracked along the nation’s western coastline in what amounted to an “aggressive act”.Australian defence minister Peter Dutton Peter Dutton said the ship was sighted on Friday morning heading north about 250 nautical miles from Broome in Western Australia, and had been hugging the coastline for the past week. “Its intention, of course, is to collect intelligence right along the coastline,” Mr Dutton said. “It has been in close proximity to military and intelligence installations on the west coast of Australia.” He said it was without precedent for … Continue reading Australia says Chinese spy ship sighted close to west coast

Russia threatens to retaliate over Finland Nato membership move

Russia has said it will be forced to take “retaliatory steps” over its neighbour Finland’s move to join Nato. A foreign ministry statement said the move would seriously damage bilateral relations, as well as security and stability in northern Europe. Earlier, Finland’s president and PM called for the country to apply for Nato membership “without delay”. It comes amid a surge in public support for Nato membership following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Finland shares a 1,300-km (810-mile) border with Russia. Until now, it has stayed out of Nato to avoid antagonising its eastern neighbour. Finland will formally announce its decision … Continue reading Russia threatens to retaliate over Finland Nato membership move

Finland to join Nato as Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine backfires

Finland took a landmark decision on Thursday to apply to join Nato in a further sign of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine backfiring spectacularly.Finland PM Sanna Marin The Russian president ordered his troops into Ukraine amid claims it could join Nato and pose a risk to Russia. But his invasion has sparked a major shake-up of Europe’s security architecture, with Finland now moving to join Nato, and Sweden expected to follow suit. Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin said in a joint statement that their country should submit an application to join the military alliance. “Now that … Continue reading Finland to join Nato as Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine backfires

UK and Japan sign military agreement amid Russia concerns

Boris Johnson has promised to work with other countries to take on “autocratic, coercive powers”, after signing a defensive partnership with Japan. The prime minister met Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida in Downing Street, where the two nations also announced joint exercises and increased working together for disaster relief. The agreement is the first of its kind between Japan and a European country. It comes after both PMs condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The agreement also follows the UK government’s defence and foreign policy integrated review, published last year, which announced a “tilt” towards the Indo-Pacific region. The meeting between Mr Kishida … Continue reading UK and Japan sign military agreement amid Russia concerns

Photos: North Korea displays ICBMs at huge parade

North Korea will speed up development of its nuclear arsenal, leader Kim Jong Un said while overseeing a huge military parade that displayed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and other weapons, state media reported on Tuesday. The parade occurred Monday night during celebrations for the founding anniversary of North Korea’s armed forces, state news agency KCNA said. It comes as Pyongyang has stepped up weapons tests and displays of military power amid stalled denuclearization talks with the United States and an incoming conservative administration in South Korea. U.S. and South Korean officials say there are signs of new construction at North … Continue reading Photos: North Korea displays ICBMs at huge parade

Russia warns Sweden and Finland against Nato membership

Russia has warned Finland and Sweden against joining Nato, arguing the move would not bring stability to Europe. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that “the alliance remains a tool geared towards confrontation”. It comes as US defence officials said Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine has been a “massive strategic blunder” which is likely to bring Nato enlargement. US officials expect the Nordic neighbours to bid for membership of the alliance, potentially as early as June. Washington is believed to support the move which would see the Western alliance grow to 32 members. US State Department officials said last week that … Continue reading Russia warns Sweden and Finland against Nato membership

North Korea warns South of nuclear retaliation

The sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un says Pyongyang would retaliate with nuclear strikes if South Korea launched a pre-emptive attack. Kim Yo-jong, a senior official, has issued two statements responding to remarks from South Korean officials. South Korean Defence Minister Suh Wook had said the South was able to strike the North’s missile launch points – sparking the furious reaction. North Korea has tested several missiles this year, heightening tensions. On Tuesday, Kim Yo-jong released a second statement in state media saying any South Korean aggression would warrant an “inevitable” nuclear response from North Korea. “In case South … Continue reading North Korea warns South of nuclear retaliation

Ukraine: GCHQ chief warns China over ‘alignment’ with Russia

China should not to become “too closely aligned” with Russia following the invasion of Ukraine, the head of UK cyber-intelligence GCHQ has warned. Sir Jeremy Fleming said China’s long-term interests are not served by an alliance with Moscow. In a rare public address during a visit to Australia, Sir Jeremy also said Russia had “massively misjudged” the situation in Ukraine. He said Vladimir Putin’s advisers are “afraid to tell him the truth”. Sir Jeremy said China’s aspirations to become a leading player on the global stage were “not well served by close alliance with a regime that wilfully and illegally … Continue reading Ukraine: GCHQ chief warns China over ‘alignment’ with Russia

Possible China security pact with the Solomon Islands causes concern in Australia

Australia says it would be concerned if China signed a pact that could let it establish a military presence in the Solomon Islands. Leaked documents purport to show plans for a security deal between China and the Pacific nation, which lies about 2,000km (1,200 miles) from Australia. The ABC and Reuters report they have verified the draft document as genuine. Australia has long been concerned over Beijing’s growing influence in the Pacific, its nearest neighbours. Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd called the apparent plans “one of the most significant security developments we have seen in decades” and “adverse to … Continue reading Possible China security pact with the Solomon Islands causes concern in Australia

U.S. weighs dropping Iran’s IRGC from terrorism list ?

The United States is considering removing Iran’s Revolutionary Guards from its foreign terrorist organization blacklist in return for Iranian assurances about reining in the elite force, a source familiar with the matter said on Wednesday. The source said Washington had not decided what might be an acceptable commitment from Tehran in exchange for such a step, which would reverse former U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2019 blacklisting of the group and draw sharp Republican criticism. The move was the first time Washington had formally labeled part of another sovereign government as a terrorist group. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is … Continue reading U.S. weighs dropping Iran’s IRGC from terrorism list ?