(Reuters) – Russia has charged an American journalist with spying while Finland moved closer to becoming a NATO member, deepening tensions between Moscow and the West as the war in Ukraine reached its 400th day on Friday.
* U.S. Secretary of State Blinken will push back on Russia’s attempts to “weaponize energy” and rally support for a Ukrainian counteroffensive when he meets NATO foreign ministers in Brussels next week, an official said.
* The Turkish parliament ratified Finland’s NATO accession but kept Sweden waiting. Finland and Sweden asked to join the military alliance in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The parliaments of all NATO members must ratify newcomers.
* Japan banned Russia-bound exports of steel, aluminium and aircraft including drones in its latest sanction against Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, the trade ministry said.
* The U.S. said it imposed sanctions on a Slovakian man for trying to arrange the sale of over two dozen types of North Korean weapons and munitions to Russia to help it replace military equipment lost in the war.
* The United States has new information that Russia is actively seeking to acquire additional weapons from North Korea in exchange for food aid, the White House said.
* At least six Russian missiles hit the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv late on Thursday, and officials are gathering details about damage and casualties, the regional governor said.
* The advance of Russian soldiers on the outskirts of the eastern frontline town of Bakhmut “has been halted – or nearly halted”, the director of the Ukrainian defence publication Defense Express said.
* Reuters could not verify battlefield reports.
U.S. REPORTER’S ARREST
* A Moscow court ruled that a U.S. journalist for the Wall Street Journal should be detained for nearly two months on suspicion of spying, the most serious move against a foreign journalist since Russia invaded Ukraine and one quickly condemned by Washington.
STORIES OF NOTE
* In Ukraine’s Bucha, a ‘wounded soul’ aches one year after liberation from violent Russian occupation
* SPECIAL REPORT-Facial recognition is helping Putin curb dissent with the aid of U.S. tech
* INSIGHT-Ukraine’s scramble for ‘game-changer’ drone fleet
* SPECIAL REPORT-Wagner’s convicts tell of horrors of Ukraine war and loyalty to their leader.
(Compiled by Reuters editors)
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