Russia has on Tuesday 17th of May 2021 announced that it had decided to pull out of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS), stating that the organisation has abandoned the principles on which it was created, and is turning it into an instrument of anti-Russian policy.
As the Russia-Ukraine war enters the third month, Finland and Sweden are insisting on joining North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, NATO amidst the Russian threat of Military consequences. Accordingly, the parliament in Finland has today voted 188-8 to approve a bid for joining NATO membership. To indicate serious commitment, Sweden’s Foreign Minister, Ann Linde signed an application form for onward submission to Brussels as an official application. This follows President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin who made the announcement on Sunday of their determination of joining NATO.
French President Emmanuel Macron has been reelected for a second term after defeating far-right leader, Marine Le Pen by more than 15% of the votes on Sunday. En route to his victory, He has become the first sitting president in 20 years to be re-elected. President Macron, the first president to win re-election since Jacques Chirac in 2002 gathered 58.8% of the vote, while Le Pen in her third attempt at the presidency gathered about 41.2%, which is a staggeringly wide margin according to projections.
Pope Francis on Sunday called for an Easter ceasefire in Ukraine to pave the way for peace through “real negotiation”. “Let the Easter truce begin. But not to provide more weapons and pick up the combat again – no! – a truce that will lead to peace, through real negotiation,” he told a public mass at Saint Peter’s Square. The pontiff denounced a war where “defenseless civilians” suffered “heinous massacres and atrocious cruelty”.
Finland’s president and Prime Minister Sauli Niinisto and Sanna Mirella Marin respectively, have called for the country to apply for NATO membership without delay. By so doing the top leaders have set the stage for an expansion of the U.S.-led alliance amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In a joint statement on Thursday, the duo expects a decision in the next few days. “NATO membership would strengthen Finland’s security. As a member of NATO, Finland would strengthen the entire defence alliance,” the statement said.
French politician and president, Emmanuel Jean-Michel Frédéric Macron has won the first round of the French election, after edging far-right rival Marine Le Pen by 4.19% and veteran far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon by 5.65%. As the top two finishers, Macron and Le Pen will advance to a second-round on April 24, a repeat of the 2017 election final from which Macron emerged the winner.
The United Nations General Assembly, UNGA, has today moved a motion calling for the suspension of the Russian federation from the Human Right Council, HRC. According to the UN report as published on its website, the resolution received a two-third majority vote of 93 votes out of the 193 total vote aggregate as 24 countries voted against and 58 countries abstained from voting. The UN Secretary said, “The meeting marked the resumption of a special emergency session on the war in Ukraine and followed reports of violations committed by Russian forces”,