Fri, 19 Aug 2022

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday the Western military alliance has the joint tasks of both supporting Ukraine in its fight against a Russian invasion and to prevent the conflict from spreading into a war between Russia and NATO.

Speaking to a summer camp in his native Norway, Stoltenberg said NATO has a moral responsibility to support Ukraine and the Ukrainian people who have been subjected to a war of aggression.

'We are seeing acts of war, attacks on civilians and destruction not seen since World War II,' Stoltenberg said, according to a NATO release of his prepared remarks. 'We cannot be indifferent to this.'

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., welcomes Paivi Nevala, minister counselor of the Finnish Embassy, left, and Karin Olofsdotter, Sweden's ambassador to the U.S., just before the Senate vote to ratify NATO membership for the two nations, in Washington, Aug. 3, 2022. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., welcomes Paivi Nevala, minister counselor of the Finnish Embassy, left, and Karin Olofsdotter, Sweden's ambassador to the U.S., just before the Senate vote to ratify NATO membership for the two nations, in Washington, Aug. 3, 2022.

US Senate Approves NATO Membership for Sweden, Finland  

Stoltenberg said the world will be a more dangerous place if Russian President Vladimir Putin gets what he wants through the use of military force.

'If Russia wins this war, he will have confirmation that violence works. Then other neighboring countries may be next,' he said.

Ukraine's military said Thursday that Russian forces were shelling multiple areas in Ukraine, including those around Kharkiv, Slovyansk and Chernihiv.

Meanwhile, Britain's Defense Ministry said Ukrainian forces were using missiles and artillery attacks against Russian 'military strongholds, personnel clusters, logistical support bases and ammunition depots.' A ministry statement said such attacks were likely to have a high impact on Russia's efforts to resupply and support its forces.

Activists from the collective 'On the Spot' walk by the Arc de Triomphe, during a night of action where they will extinguish the lights on dozens of storefronts in Paris, July 29, 2022. Activists from the collective 'On the Spot' walk by the Arc de Triomphe, during a night of action where they will extinguish the lights on dozens of storefronts in Paris, July 29, 2022.

Cold Showers, No Lights: Europe Saves as Russian Gas Wanes

Energy crisis

Foreign ministers from the G-7 countries issued a statement late Wednesday saying they are looking at ways to 'prevent Russia from profiting from its war of aggression and to curtail Russia's ability to wage war.'

Noting efforts to phase out the use of Russian energy, the ministers said they will seek steps to reduce the amount of money Russia makes from its energy exports, while also trying to stabilize global energy markets and prevent harmful economic impacts on low- and middle-income nations.

'We remain committed to considering a range of approaches, including options for a comprehensive prohibition of all services that enable transportation of Russian seaborne crude oil and petroleum products globally, unless the oil is purchased at or below a price to be agreed in consultation with international partners,' the statement said.

In New York, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told reporters Wednesday the organization is now looking at ways to ease the global energy crisis caused by the war.

Guterres said when negotiations to restart grain shipments from Ukraine started to gain traction, prices of wheat and fertilizer began to drop and are now at roughly pre-invasion levels.

'But that doesn't mean that bread in the bakery is at the same price as before the war,' he cautioned, noting global inflation rates.

Guterres hopes to get energy markets to relax in anticipation that an understanding can be reached in which supply will exceed demand.

'For that, there are two things that are essential,' he said. 'One is, reduce consumption as much as possible. And second is, bet on a strong investment in renewable energy.'

The U.N, chief criticized what he said is the 'grotesque greed' of oil and gas companies whose profits are exploding with the energy crisis.

'It is immoral for oil and gas companies to be making record profits from this energy crisis on the back of the poorest people and communities, and at a massive cost to the climate,' he said, urging governments to tax these profits and use the revenue for social safety nets.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

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