KYIV, Ukraine—Ukraine began a counteroffensive toward the eastern city of Izyum aimed at disrupting Russian supply lines into the Donbas region, officials said, as Ukrainian forces continued clearing villages north of Kharkiv and President
warned his Finnish counterpart that joining NATO would risk damaging relations with Moscow.
According to the Kremlin, Mr. Putin told Finland’s President
in a phone call Saturday that ending its decadeslong nonaligned defense policy by joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization would be a mistake for Helsinki. The Finnish leader initiated the call to explain to Mr. Putin how his invasion of Ukraine had altered the security environment, prompting Finland to seek NATO membership in the coming days.
“The conversation was direct and straightforward and was conducted without aggravations. Avoiding tension was considered important,” Mr. Niinistö said.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister
meanwhile, said that Moscow would need to take “adequate precautionary measures” if NATO were to deploy infrastructure for nuclear weapons near Russia’s borders, including in Finland.
As the war entered its 80th day, Russian offensive operations in Donbas remained largely stalled following the failure of Russia’s ambitious attempt to cross the Siverskyi Donets river and encircle the metropolitan area of Severodonetsk, the capital of…