The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

U.S. seeks clarity after Turkey signals opposition to Sweden, Finland joining NATO

A Ukrainian court held a hearing on May 13 for Vadim Shishimarin, 21, starting the first war crimes trial of the conflict with Russia. (Video: Reuters)
Placeholder while article actions load

This live coverage has ended. For Saturday’s live updates, click here.

The United States is seeking clarification after Turkey’s president suggested Friday that he was reluctant about Sweden and Finland potentially joining the NATO defense alliance. The Turkish warning came a day after a landmark recommendation from Finland’s leaders that the country join NATO and as Swedish leaders appeared ready to follow their lead this weekend.

View live politics updates

“Certainly this will be a conversation that will continue over the weekend,” a U.S. official said as Secretary of State Antony Blinken prepares to travel to Germany on Saturday for a meeting of NATO foreign ministers that will include the top diplomats of Finland, Sweden — and Turkey.

On Friday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu for the first time since the war began, urging an immediate cease-fire. Britain announced new sanctions against the family of Russian President Vladimir Putin, while in Kyiv the first trial of a Russian soldier for alleged war crimes began. Shelling across Ukraine continued to claim lives.

Here’s what else to know

  • Ukrainian forces are “frustrating” Russian attempts to make gains by preventing Russian groups from crossing the Siverskyi Donets River to fully consolidate their forces, the Pentagon said.
  • A Russian-owned energy company, citing nonpayment, said it planned to halt electricity sales to Finland on Saturday in what appeared to be Russian blowback over the NATO plans.
  • Ukraine is entering a “new, long phase of the war” as weapons supplies from Western allies gradually increase, the country’s defense minister said.
  • The Washington Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel.
Loading...