EU hikes military aid for Ukraine as NATO expansion faces roadblocks
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EU hikes military aid for Ukraine as NATO expansion faces roadblocks

Europe pledged another half billion dollars in military support for Kyiv on Friday as Sweden and Finland’s moves toward joining NATO hit multiple hurdles.

Moscow said it would cut off electricity to Helsinki, and the president of Turkey — a member of the Atlantic alliance whose approval is required to expand it — expressed opposition to the Scandinavian countries becoming part of NATO.

Fighting between Russian and Ukrainian troops continued along the long front in the Donbas with minor gains on both sides, and Ukrainian fighters under siege in a Mariupol steelwork pleaded for help.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu meanwhile spoke directly for the first time since before the war began.

But few details emerged from their one-hour call beyond Austin urging Shoigu to implement an immediate ceasefire, according to the Pentagon.

“The call itself didn’t specifically solve any acute issues or lead to a direct change in what the Russians are doing or what they are saying,” a senior US defense official said.

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