BRUSSELS — NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Friday pledged ongoing support for Ukraine, saying that backing Ukrainian forces now is a step toward a lasting peace. “Most wars end with negotiations. But what happens at the negotiating table depends on what happens on the battlefield,” he said at a news conference in Brussels.
Stoltenberg also accused Russia of using ever more brutal tactics against Ukraine in the wake of recent battlefield losses. “This is a horrific start to the winter for Ukraine,” he said. He pledged to push for additional support for Kyiv at next week’s meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Bucharest, Romania.
On the eve of Russia’s Mother’s Day, President Vladimir Putin met with mothers of Russian soldiers at his official residence outside Moscow, the first time he has publicly met relatives of servicemen fighting in Ukraine. Putin said he “personally” shared their suffering and that “nothing can replace the loss of a child, a son, especially for a mother.” Earlier this month, the Pentagon’s top general said more than 100,000 Russian troops were believed to have been killed or injured since the Feb. 24 invasion. Tens of thousands of men have left the country to avoid being drafted.
Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.
4. From our correspondents
Russian legislature advances bill criminalizing ‘promoting’ LGBTQ relationships: The Russian parliament’s lower house passed the final reading of a bill that seeks to ban attempts to promote homosexuality, including in movies, books or advertising, writes The Washington Post’s Francesca Ebel. The bill now goes to the upper chamber, which is expected to approve it, and then to Putin, who is expected to sign it.
Citizens who promote what the Duma dubs the “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” could be fined up to $6,600; organizations could be fined up to $82,100. Foreign nationals could be sentenced to up to 15 days and deported. Sexual minorities in Russia already face significant oppression, and the bill should be seen as an attempt to distract the public from Russia’s recent battlefield failures in Ukraine, a rights activist told The Post.