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FOR THE WEEK OF JULY 11, 2022

NATO military alliance that includes U.S. will add two members – a show of unity against Russia

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Summarize a fresh report from Ukraine.
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Share a quote about that war or NATO.
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Tell something learned from reading about another international topic.

In an ironic twist for President Vladimir Putin of Russia, his five-month-old Ukraine invasion is strengthening and expanding an alliance of Western countries. Finland and Sweden plan to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a 73-year-old organization of democratic countries formed after World War II for protection against military threats. The two new members got a required OK from all 30 members at a recent conference that brought President Biden and other leaders to Madrid, the capital of Spain. The alliance also announced a historic surge of forces along Europe's eastern edge as they restated a promise to defend NATO territory.

America and its allies want to show that their efforts to help Ukraine and confront Russia remain firm, despite recent battlefield gains by Putin's military. The West has sent missiles, other arms, vehicles and additional support, and now will position more troops near Ukraine in hopes of averting other border crossings by Russia. America plans to send another $800 million in military assistance to Ukraine. No U.S. soldiers are there and Biden vows not to send any.

NATO includes six countries in Eastern and Central Europe that were admitted in the late 1990s and early 2000s after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union – an empire controlled from Moscow. Those half-dozen newcomers -- Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia -- wanted to join an alliance that obligated the U.S. and democratic neighbors to defend them to come to their defense if Russia attacked. Putin strongly opposes further expansion and worried that Ukraine, a direct neighbor of Russia, also might join. He invaded Feb. 20 to prevent that possibility, as well as for other reasons. As it turns out, the crisis strengthens the alliance he fears.

President Biden says: "We're proving that NATO is more needed now than it ever has been. And it's as important as it ever has been." – At Madrid meeting

Ukrainian president says: "[Putin] wants to absorb city after city — all of us — and then all in Europe, whom the Russian leadership considers its property, not independent states. This is Russia's real goal." – Volodymyr Zelensky, in video remarks to NATO conference June 29

NATO pledge says: "An armed attack against one or more [members] in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all." – 1949 treaty

Front Page Talking Points is written by Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2022

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