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Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is certain to dominate an upcoming NATO summit in Madrid. But host nation Spain and other members are quietly pushing the Western alliance to consider how mercenaries aligned with Russian President Vladimir Putin are spreading Moscow’s influence in Africa. The allies are emphasizing their proximity to Africa while lobbying for a greater focus on Europe’s southern flank in a new document outlining NATO’s vision of its security challenges and tasks. The Strategic Concept is NATO’s most important working document after the North Atlantic Treaty of 1949, and it's updated about every 10 years. Leaders of the alliance's 30 countries are expected to adopt a new version at the summit starting Tuesday.

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A Ukrainian deputy prime minister overseeing the country’s push to join the European Union says she’s “100%” certain all 27 EU nations will approve making Ukraine a candidate for membership in the bloc. In an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Olha Stefanishyna said the decision could come as soon as Thursday. She says countries that had been skeptical about starting accession talks while Ukraine is fighting Russia’s invasion are now supportive. Granting a country EU candidate status requires unanimous approval from existing member nations. Candidacy is the first step toward membership. It doesn't provide security guarantees or an automatic right to join the bloc.

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Hundreds of mourners have gathered in Ukraine's capital for a well-known Kyiv activist who took up arms against Russia's invasion and was killed. The 24-year-old Roman Ratushnyi had been a teenage protester during months of demonstrations that toppled Ukraine’s pro-Russian leader in 2014. He was also known as an environmental campaigner in Kyiv who led a fight to preserve a wooded park from development. Poppies, the blood-red flowers that cover the battlefields of Europe’s two world wars, were lain in mourning on his coffin at a memorial service. Mourners then walked in a silent column behind his coffin to a vast plaza in central Kyiv where three months of protests overthrew then-President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014.

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Russia’s Foreign Ministry has announced sanctions on 61 U.S. nationals, a move it says is “in response to the ever-expanding U.S. sanctions against Russian political and public figures, as well as representatives of domestic business.” The list includes U.S. officials and former and current top managers of large American companies, such as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, White House communications director Kate Bedingfield and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.

AP
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Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says the United States and allied countries will keep providing “significant” support to Ukraine, out of respect for the legacy of D-Day soldiers. In an interview Monday with The Associated Press, Milley said Russia’s war on Ukraine undermines the rules established by Allied countries to guarantee peace after the end of World War II. He accused Russia of an “open, unambiguous act of aggression.” He spoke in Normandy on the 78th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, which helped defeat Hitler and lead to the end of World War II. Dozens of veterans — now all in their 90s, from the U.S., Britain, Canada and elsewhere — were taking part in poignant D-Day ceremonies.

AP
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President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said that Ukraine is now losing 60 to 100 soldiers each day in combat. Just short of 50 American soldiers died per day on average in 1968 during the Vietnam War’s deadliest year for U.S. forces by way of comparison. Concentrations of Russian artillery are causing many of the casualties in the eastern regions that Moscow has focused on since its initial invasion launched Feb. 24 failed to take Kyiv. Retired U.S. Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges described the Russian strategy as a “medieval attrition approach” and said “these kinds of casualties are going to continue" until Ukraine gets promised deliveries of U.S., British and other weapons to destroy and disrupt Russian batteries.

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U.S. Defense Secretary Dick Cheney talks with members of the army's 3rd Armored Division in Southern Iraq on Tuesday afternoon, May 7, 1991. C…

Soldiers of the Free State Guard searching for arms and ammunition, Dec. 12, 1922, Dublin, Ireland. (AP Photo)

AT4 recoilless weapon in Saudi Arabian Desert during Operation Desert Shield, Sept. 19, 1990. (AP Photo)

A Russian anti-tank gun crew advances towards the German positions under cover of a smoke screen, somewhere in Russia, on July 23, 1943. (AP Photo)