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NATO

Activists arrested during NATO exercise

Five people were arrested on Wednesday morning after entering a bombing range in northern Sweden being used as a part of a major NATO training exercise.

Police say those arrested are between 21- and 27-years-old and include four men and one women, reports the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

Ofog, a network of peace activists committed to demilitarization, confirmed in a statement that at least four of its members had gained access to a bombing range near the Vidsel Air Base in Norrbotten.

The base is one of two Swedish bases involved in Loyal Arrow, a NATO-led military exercise involving forces and equipment from ten countries, including Sweden.

“Yes, it was members of Ofog who were in the area,” said Ofog member Kajsa Sjöblom to the TT news agency.

“And we have new groups on the way to the area.”

The point of the Ofog action was “to stop the preparation of war crimes” and “prevent NATO from bombing the area further”, the group said in a statement.

After the Ofog activists had entered the bombing range, the group informed officials at the Vidsel base that civilians were in the area and that bombing exercises should be halted as a result.

According to Ofog, the activists were in the restricted area for five hours before being apprehended by security guards at the base and handed over to police.

“They are on their way to Luleå for questioning. We don’t know any more at this time,” said Norbotten police spokesperson Ulf Suup to TT.

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NATO

Turkey forms ‘permanent committee’ to assess Swedish Nato deal

Turkey on Thursday said a new "permanent committee" would meet Finnish and Swedish officials in August to assess if the two nations are complying with Ankara's conditions to ratify their Nato membership bids.

Turkey forms 'permanent committee' to assess Swedish Nato deal

Finland and Sweden dropped their history of military non-alignment and announced plans to join Nato after Russia invaded Ukraine at the end of
February. All 30 Nato members must ratify the accession.

Nato member Turkey has demanded the extradition of dozens of suspected “terrorists” from both countries under an accession deal the three signed last month.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to “freeze” the process over Sweden and Finland’s failure to extradite the suspects.

He accuses them of providing a haven for outlawed Kurdish militants. “If these countries are not implementing the points included in the
memorandum that we signed, we will not ratify the accession protocol,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu reaffirmed in a televised interview.

He said the committee would meet in August but provided no details.Turkey’s parliament has broken for its summer recess and will not be able
to hold a ratification vote before October. Some Turkish officials have warned that the process may drag out until next year.

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