Finland announced Thursday it is applying to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Sweden is expected to quickly follow, which could expand the Western military alliance to 32 nations.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has long been opposed to NATO expansion — even citing it as one of the reasons for his invasion of Ukraine.
Further cornered by Finland’s NATO aims and facing a fierce fight on the battlefield in Ukraine, Russia has pulled the trigger on another weapon in its arsenal: effectively cutting off gas supplies to Europe, a day after the Ukrainian government halted gas transfers through its territory.
Ukrainian forces have launched a blistering counterattack outside Kharkiv, recapturing villages surrounding Ukraine’s second largest city. They’ve pushed Russian soldiers back and cut off critical supply lines to the Donbas region.
Yet further south in the eastern Donbas region, villages and towns have faced a relentless Russian bombardment by land and air.
The daily reality for those in the path of Russia’s war machine is never knowing when the next missile or airstrike will come or where it will land. Dazed and angry residents on a dirt road in Bakhmut were stunned by a massive explosion that left an enormous crater in a quiet lane and obliterated their homes.
This article was first published in CBS News . All contents and images are copyright to their respective owners and sources.