Ukrainian troops pull back again as Russia’s onslaught pushes ahead

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — A Ukrainian army spokesman says Kyiv’s troops have withdrawn from a village in the east of the country, as Russian forces make their advantages in manpower and ammunition tell on the battlefield at the start of the war’s third year. The official said Monday the latest setback for Kyiv’s soldiers was in the village of Lastochkyne, where they pulled back to nearby villages in an attempt to hold the line there. Lastochkyne lies to the west of Avdiivka, a suburb of Donetsk city that the Kremlin’s forces captured on Feb. 18 after a four-month battle. The outnumbered defenders were overwhelmed by Moscow’s military might, and Ukraine chose to pull out its troops and mount a defense elsewhere.

Protesting farmers spray Brussels police with liquid manure near EU’s base

BRUSSELS (AP) — Farmers have clashed with police in Belgium, spraying officers with liquid manure and throwing eggs and flares at them in a fresh show of force as the European Union’s agriculture ministers met in search of ways to address the protesters’ concerns. The farmers are angry at red tape and competition from cheap imports from countries where the EU’s relatively high standards do not have to be met. On Monday, 900 tractors entered the city, many bearing down on the European Council building where the ministers were meeting.

Hungary’s parliament ratifies Sweden’s NATO bid, clearing the final obstacle

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Hungary’s parliament has ratified Sweden’s bid to join NATO, ending more than 18 months of delays that frustrated the alliance as it sought to expand in response to Russia’s war in Ukraine. Hungary’s government submitted the protocols for approving Sweden’s entry into NATO in 2022, but the matter had stalled in parliament over opposition by governing party lawmakers. Unanimous support among all NATO members is required to admit new countries, and Hungary is the last of its 31 members to give its backing. But the Monday vote cleared Sweden’s final hurdle.

Navalny aides say the Russian opposition leader was close to being freed

(AP) — Associates of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny say talks had been underway to exchange him for a Russian imprisoned in Germany. Navalny ally Maria Pevchikh said in a video statement those talks were in their “final stages” on Feb. 15, the day before Navalny was reported dead. Her claims, reiterated by other Navalny aides, could not be independently confirmed and she did not offer evidence to back them up. She said Navalny and two U.S. citizens held in Russia were supposed to be swapped for Vadim Krasikov, a Russian serving a life sentence in Germany for the 2019 killing of a 40-year-old Georgian citizen of Chechen descent.


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