KYIV, Ukraine — Europe pushed Monday to sharpen and expand its response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with Sweden poised to follow Finland in seeking membership of NATO and European Union officials working to rescue proposed sanctions that would target Russian oil exports helping the Kremlin finance its war.

On the ground, Russia saw more setbacks in its offensive in eastern Ukraine, where Ukrainian defenders are fighting desperately against attempted Russian advances and even successfully rolling back the front lines in some areas.

In a small but symbolic boost for Ukrainian morale, a patrol of soldiers recorded triumphant video of their push right up to the Russian border in the region of Kharkiv. Already, Ukrainian forces have pushed Russian troops back from the region’s capital, making it harder for them to hit the battered city with artillery.

As fighting raged, international efforts to respond to Russia’s aggression continued to pick up pace. The Swedish government is expected to announce its intention to seek NATO membership later Monday — as its neighbor Finland has done. Those are seismic developments for the Nordic countries that have traditionally positioned themselves as militarily “nonaligned.”

An enlargement of NATO to include Sweden and Finland would be a serious blow to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has called the alliance’s post-Cold War expansion in Eastern Europe a threat and cited it as a reason for attacking Ukraine. NATO says it is a purely defensive alliance.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said the membership process for both Finland and Sweden could be very quick — though member Turkey has cast doubts over the move.

In Brussels, EU officials worked to overcome opposition from a small group of countries led by Hungary to a proposed embargo on imports of Russian oil. Hungary is one of a number of landlocked countries that are highly dependent on Russian oil, along with the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Bulgaria also has reservations.

“We will do our best in order to deblock the situation,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said. ” I cannot ensure that it is going to happen because positions are quite strong.”

Weapons from NATO countries to Ukraine and western sanctions against Russia have helped the outgunned and outnumbered Ukrainian forces bog down the Russian advance — and even turn it back in places.

Stoltenberg, the NATO chief, said Sunday the war “is not going as Moscow had planned.”



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