Ukraine attack LIVE: ‘War against Europe’ begun as explosions rip across Kiev

Russia: Boris Johnson imposes sanctions amid Ukraine invasion

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News of an invasion began around 5AM local time, as reports flooded in of explosions in Kiev.

The Embassy of Ukraine to the UK issued a stark update on social media, announcing the beginning of the invasion.

They tweeted: “It was 5 o’clock in the morning Kiev time Putin started an unprovoked war against Ukraine, a war against Europe, a war against the whole world.”

Western leaders woke up to news of the attack and have condemned the move.

NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg issued a statement on the worrying scenes from Kiev.

Mr Stoltenberg said: “I strongly condemn Russia’s relentless and unprovoked attack on Ukraine, which puts at risk countless civilian lives.

“Once again, despite our repeated warnings and tireless efforts to engage in diplomacy, Russia has chosen the path of aggression against a sovereign and independent country.

“This is a grave breach of international law, and a serious threat to Euro-Atlantic security.

“I call on Russia to cease its military action immediately and respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss took to Twitter to express her support for Ukraine.

She said: “I strongly condemn the appalling, unprovoked attack President Putin has launched on the people of Ukraine.

“We stand with Ukraine and we will work with our international partners to respond to this terrible act of aggression.”

FOLLOW BELOW FOR LIVE UPDATES…

KEY EVENTS

  • Boris ‘appalled’ by ‘horrific’ Russian invasion of Ukraine05:08
  • President Zelensky announces Russian attack05:01
  • Liz Truss strongly condemns ‘unprovoked attack’ on Kiev05:00
  • Multiple explosions resound across Kiev04:57
  • Putin launches ‘unprovoked and unjustified attack’, says Biden04:56
  • Leaders of separatists regions in Ukraine ask Putin for help21:24
  • Joe Biden warns of invasion in next 48 hours17:43
  • China to turn back on Putin in brutal blow ‘Doesn’t want to know’13:48
  • Ukraine crisis could be most ‘critical moment’ for the world since WW2, says Sturgeon12:57
  • Turkey refusing to choose between Russia and Ukraine12:30
  • Ukraine to impose state of emergency10:22
  • Trump praises ‘tough cookie’ Putin10:05
  • Ukraine’s parliament votes to give permission for civilians to carry firearms09:53
  • Ukraine’s foreign ministry is urging its citizens to leave Russia as soon as possible 09:09
  • UK ‘very concerned’ about imminent invasion07:54
  • Boris ‘appalled’ by ‘horrific’ Russian invasion of Ukraine

    Boris Johnson has issued a statement in which he condemns Vladimir Putin for pursuing a path of “bloodshed and destruction” after the Russian President launched an “unprovoked attack on Ukraine”.

    Boris Johnson, 57, responded to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in the early hours of the morning.

    The Prime Minister had imposed sanctions on Russia on Monday.However, he has not vowed to “respond decisively” after Vladimir Putin, 69, orchestrated an invasion of Ukraine.

    Writing on Twitter, the Prime Minister said: “I am appalled by the horrific events in Ukraine and I have spoken to President Zelenskyy to discuss next steps.

    “President Putin has chosen a path of bloodshed and destruction by launching this unprovoked attack on Ukraine.

    “The UK and our allies will respond decisively.”

    President Zelensky announces Russian attack

    Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced Russia launched an attack and revealed he spoke to US President Joe Biden.

    Liz Truss strongly condemns ‘unprovoked attack’ on Kiev

    Liz Truss has condemned the recent attack on Ukraine by Russian troops just minutes after Putin declared a “special military operation” in the country.

    In a strong-worded statement, Ms Truss tweeted: “I strongly condemn the appalling, unprovoked attack President Putin has launched on the people of Ukraine.

    “We stand with Ukraine and we will work with our international partners to respond to this terrible act of aggression.”

    Kiev imposes martial law as Vladimir Putin launches attack on Ukraine

    Ukraine has reportedly imposed martial law in which special restrictions will apply in order to keep the country calm and protect its economy following an attack on the country from Russia.

    Oleksiy Danilov, 59, warned Kiev could impose a state of emergency yesterday.

    He said: “These are preventive measures to keep calm in the country, so that our economy and our country can work.

    “Depending on the threats that may arise in certain territories, there will be either a more strengthened or more weakened state of emergency. 

    “We are talking about border areas where we have a border with the Russian Federation, with Belarus.”

    However, reports suggest martial law has now been imposed.

    Multiple explosions resound across Kiev

    Loud explosions were heard in the capital city of Kiev after Putin effectively declared war on Ukraine.

    According to the reports, visuals of explosions from airstrike reported near Boryspil Airport in Kiev, Oblast were seen on Wednesday night.

    The disastrous incident comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “military operation” in Ukraine’s Donbas region.

    He made the declaration in a televised speech at the same time as the UN Security Council was imploring him to stop.

    Putin launches ‘unprovoked and unjustified attack’, says Biden

    US President Joe Biden has expressed his solidarity with the people of Ukraine and announces “further consequences” for Russia.

    In a statement posted on Twitter by Sam Stein, President Biden said: “The prayers of the entire world are with the people of Ukraine tonight as they suffer an unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces.

    “President Putin has chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering.”

    He added the “world would hold Russia accountable”.

    He said the G7 would meet tomorrow and that “further consequences” against Russia would be announced.

    Ukraine requests urgent meeting of UN

    Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Thursday he had demanded an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council regarding the latest appeal of pro-Russian separatists to Russia for military assistance.

    “Ukraine has requested an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council due to the appeal by Russian occupation administrations in Donetsk and Luhansk to Russia with a request to provide them with military assistance, which is a further escalation of the security situation,” Kuleba said on Twitter.

    Armed resistance erupts as Ukrainians to ‘shoot and destroy’ Russian invader

    FURIOUS Ukrainian artists have vowed to “shoot and destroy” Russian aggressors, as they prepare to swap their paint brushes for guns.

    Boris Yeghiazaryan and a group of colleagues from the Union of Ukrainian Artists are putting together their own partisan unit to help defend their country.

    Mr Yeghiazaryan and his fellow artists have sworn to make Mr Putin pay a high price for any attack on their motherland.

    He told Express.co.uk: “If before we said we are ready to die to defend our country, now we say we are ready to live to destroy them (Russians).

    “We don’t want to kill – but the moment the enemy crosses our border, he is then a murderer and we have to kill him.”

    Leaders of separatists regions in Ukraine ask Putin for help

    The leaders of two separatist regions in eastern Ukraine have asked Vladimir Putin for help in repelling “aggression” from the Ukrainian army.

    Head of the “Donetsk People’s Republic”, Denis Pushilin, has told Russian state media d separatist leader of a Ukrainian breakaway region said on Wednesday that Ukrainian government forces should withdraw from territory that his self-proclaimed state lays claim to and take their weapons with them.

    Pushilin had earlier said on Wednesday he wanted to peacefully settle the border issue with Ukraine via talks but reserved the right to ask “big Russia” for help.

    Asked if they would try to expand their territory, Pushilin said: “We are not yet at that stage, we’re at the stage when the enemy’s forces 

    Putin having to adapt to sanctions

    The White House said Vladimir Putin is improvising and having to adapt his strategy following sanctions. 

    Spokesperson Jen Psaki spoke to reporters on Wednesday saying sanctions from the west were causing the Russian President to adapt.

    Asked if the sanctions will actually be a deterrent to the Russian leader, she said: “That is a decision for Putin to make.”

    Chemical plant evacuated in Russia

    Ukraine’s foreign minister has tweeted that a chemical plant has been evacuated in the possibility of “another staged provocation”.

    Dmytro Kubela tweeted: “Worrying reports from Crimea on the entire night shift of Titan chemicals plant in Armyansk evacuated from the facility.

    “This might be a preparation for another staged provocation by Russia. Moscow seems to have no limits in attempts to falsify pretexts for further aggression.”

    Ukraine approves state of emergency

    The Ukrainian parliament approved a declaration of a state of emergency in the entire Ukraine except for two eastern regions where it has been in place since 2014.

    President Volodymyr Zelenskiy proposed introducing a nationwide state of emergency earlier on Wednesday, as the country braces for a possible large scale military offensive from Russia.

    The 30-day state of emergency could restrict the freedom of movement of conscripted reservists, see curbs imposed on the media and lead to personal document checks, according to a draft text that needs to be approved by parliament.

    The restrictions would come into force from Thursday.

    The Ukrainian government has also announced compulsory military service for all men of fighting age.

    Pakistan leader arrives in Moscow

    Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has arrived in Moscow for an official visit. 

    The leader’s first few comments upon arriving were: “What a time I have come, so much excitement”.

    Biden confirms sanctions on Nord Stream 2

    US President Joe Biden said his administration will impose sanctions on Nord Stream 2 AG. 

    In a statement released by the White House Biden said: “”Today, I have directed my administration to impose sanctions on Nord Stream 2 AG and its corporate officers.”

    Landmarks light up in support of Ukraine

    Famous landmarks are illuminated in blue and yellow, the national colours of Ukraine to show solidarity. 

    Berlin lit up the Brandenburg Gate, which represented the front line during the Cold War until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

    In Paris, authorities lit City Hall, the seat of the mayor and local administration, in the same colours to also show their support.

    Berlin Mayor Franziska Giffey sad: “We are showing our solidarity with the people of Ukraine, the many Berliners with Ukrainian roots but also with the many Russians who want peace in Russia and Ukraine.

    “They all want nothing more than an end to the escalation and a peaceful settlement to this threatening conflict.”

    Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, also a candidate in France’s upcoming presidential election, said earlier on Wednesday “once again, the spectre of war looms on Europe’s doorstep.”

    ‘Possible today is that day’- US official warns

    A senior US defence official said Russia is “as ready as they can be” for an invasion. 

    The official added that they have “about 80 percent in forward positions ready to go”. 

    They said: “He is as ready as he can be. We’ve been saying any day now and it’s certainly possible that today is that day.”

    Ukraine’s state of emergency

    Ukraine has declared a state of emergency and told citizens in Russia to flee. 

    The 30-day state of emergency could restrict the freedom of movement of conscripted reservists, see curbs imposed on the media and lead to personal document checks, according to a draft text that needs to be approved by parliament.

    The restrictions would come into force from Thursday.

    Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said: “Predicting what might be the next step of Russia, the separatists or the personal decisions of the Russian president – I cannot say.

    The Ukrainian government has also announced compulsory military service for all men of fighting age.

    Joe Biden warns of invasion in next 48 hours

    Joe Biden has warned Ukraine there will be a full-scale Russian invasion within the next 48 hours.

    The US Government has warned Ukraine that the latest intelligence points to a full-scale attack by Russia “imminently”.

    The invasion, which is predicted to take place within the next 48 hours, could strike the northeastern city of Kharkiv.

    “The President of Ukraine has been warned Russia will highly likely begin an invasion within 48 hours based on U.S. intelligence,” a US official told CNN.

    PM wants toughest possible sanctions

    Boris Johnson told finance chiefs that he wants the next batch of sanctions against Russia to be the toughest possible, a government source said.

    Johnson met regulators and heads of top banks and financial sector industry groups to discuss the government’s approach to sanctions. 

    The government source said the prime minister told the meeting he wanted the “toughest possible next tranche” and that he thought it “will make a difference and change the outcome.”

    The Prime Minister said he wanted to work with the financial sector to make sure the sanctions announced so far “really bite”, particularly if all the major financial centres act at the same time.

    “It’s not easy. I’m a former mayor of London. I know how important it is that our City is open to investment so these are tricky issues to navigate,” Johnson told the meeting, the government source said.

    Russia’s wealthiest lost £23.5billion

    Russia’s oligarchs have lost £23.5 billion so far this year as sanctions are imposed.

    The UK’s Economic Secretary to the Treasury John Glen is charging a meeting today with banks, regulators and trade associations to discuss sanctions against Russia. 

    Russia’s richest billionaires have a net worth of $343bn between all 23 of them, according to Bloomberg rankings.

    That’s down from $375bn at the end of 2021.

    Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has not ruled out sanctions against Chelsea Football Club’s billionaire owner, Roman Abramovich. 

    Ukraine suffers another cyberattack

    Ukraine says another cyberattack is underway on the country’s websites and banks. 

    The websites of Ukraine’s government, foreign ministry and state security service were down on Wednesday in what the government said was the start of another massive denial of service (DDoS) attack.

    Ukraine has suffered a string of cyberattacks that Kiev has blamed on Russia, Moscow has denied any involvement. 

    Minister for digital transformation, Mykhailo Fedrov said: “At about 4 pm, another mass DDoS attack on our state began.

    “We have relevant data from a number of banks” adding that the parliament website was also hit.

    Ukraine calls on UN to ‘put out the fire in Europe’

    Ukraine’s Foreign Minister has called on the United Nations to “use all available means to protect Ukraine”.

    Speaking at the UN General Assembly in New York on Wednesday Dmytro Kuleba warned that Russia “will not be limited to Ukraine’s border and territory” before calling the UN to “put out the fire in Europe”. 

    Mr Kuleba added: “Swift and resolute actions by the UN can reclaim the organisation’s leading roll at this historic and dark moment.

    “We Ukrainians want peace, and we want to resolve all issues through diplomacy.

    “We stand ready for all possible scenarios, and ready to protect our land and our people if Russia attacks.

    “Ukraine will not hesitate to exercise its inherent right of self defence.”

    EU leaders to hold summit

    EU leaders will meet in Brussels on Thursday for a special summit to discuss the bloc’s response to Moscow. 

    head of the EU Council grouping the bloc’s member states, Charles Michel said: “It is important that we continue to be united and determined and jointly define our collective approach and actions.”

    Earlier today EU ambassadors signed off on the bloc’s package of sanctions against Russia which include blacklisting more politicians and banning trade between the EU and two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine.

    There are 351 members of the Russian Duma who will be targeted and 27 individuals and entities “who are playing a role in undermining or threatening Ukrainian territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence.”

    US ready to impose more sanctions is escalation continues

    The United States is ready to impose further sanctions on Russia if escalation continued, the US ambassador to the United Nations said. 

    Linda Thomas-Greenfield said they are already seeing “movements of additional troops right now”.

    She added: “It is the beginnings of an invasion and our sanctions are the beginning of our sanctions. They were strong sanctions and you can expect that, as the Russians escalate, our sanctions will escalate.”

    Ms Thomas-Greenfield said that it was clear from Mr Putin’s comments that his ambitions towards Ukraine did not stop at the largely Russian-speaking Donbas region in the east of the country.

    She said: “It was definitely clear from his speech on Monday that his intentions are not to stop with the Donbas. He questioned the independence and even the existence of Ukraine.”

    Russian news-channel labels Government ‘hypocritical’

    Russia Today has accused the UK Government of a “hypocritical” stance after Nadine Dorries asked Ofcom to review to operation of the Kremlin-backed news channel today.

    But the channel has suggested that Ofcom would need to look at the BBC too if the regulator is to take the Kremlin-backed broadcaster to task over “state sponsorship”.

    It comes after Tory MP for High Peak Robert Largan warned that he would be “cautious” about banning RT due to potential reprisals against the BBC.

    He said on Twitter: “Putin would respond by banning the BBC in Russia, which actually cuts through his propaganda to millions.”

    He suggested RT was mostly ignored by those in the UK.

    Good afternoon

    Good afternoon I’m Francesca Edwards, I’ll be bringing you all the latest developments on the Russia-Ukraine crisis for the next eight hours. Please feel free to get in touch with me as I work if you have a story or tips to share! Your thoughts are always welcome.

    Email: [email protected]

    Twitter: @FrankieLEdwards

    It is an ‘obscene perversion’ for Putin to call Russian troops in Ukraine ‘peacekeepers’

    Marise Payne, Australia’s Foreign Minister, has criticised Vladimir Putin’s claim that Russian soldiers in Ukraine would be acting as “peacekeepers”.

    Ms Payne said Australia will not hesitate to impose further sanctions if Moscow escalates the situation further.

    She continued: “Any suggestions that there is a legitimate basis for Russia’s actions are pure propaganda and disinformation.

    “The assertion by President Putin of Russian soldiers acting as peacekeepers is indeed an obscene perversion of the noble and vital role that generations of peacekeepers have played across the world.”

    China to turn back on Putin in brutal blow ‘Doesn’t want to know’

    Russia’s threats to invade Ukraine is putting China in a tricky diplomatic position as President Xi Jinping is poised to turn his back on Vladimir Putin.  

    China’s President Xi Jinping has increasingly shown his support for Russian President Vladimir Putin, including opposing NATO expansion earlier this month.

    But as troops head to Ukraine, Mr Jinping is trying to retain those close ties while balancing its own domestic concerns and European relationships.

    Bonnie Glaser, director of the Asia programme at the German Marshall Fund in the US told Al Jazeera: “China has always prized sovereignty in its foreign policy; it does not want to be associated with Moscow’s action.

    “The costs of doing so, in terms of relations with the US and Europe, and its global reputation, are too high.

    “Yet, it has an important relationship with Russia that it doesn’t want to damage. I see this as a major foreign policy challenge for Xi Jinping.”

    Wang Yi, China’s Foreign Minister, said on Saturday: “the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of any country should be respected.

    “We hope that a solution can be found through dialogue and consultation that will really guarantee security and stability in Europe.”

    Leader of the Russian-controlled territory in Ukraine said that he will not immediately order attack

    Denis Pushilin, the leader of the Russian-controlled territory in Donetsk, has said that he while he won’t immediately order an attack on Ukrainian positions on the front line, he cannot not rule out a “military solution” to expanding his region’s borders either.

    He said: “We’re at the point where the enemy’s forces are located at the front line and could go on the offensive at any moment.”

    “Aggression from the Ukrainian side is growing,” Pushilin said, accusing Kiev of staging “provocations” and causing civilian casualties.

    Pope Francis warned of ‘increasingly alarming scenarios’ in Ukraine

    During his weekly audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis, warned of “increasingly alarming scenarios” in Ukraine.

    He said the threat of war caused “great pain” in his heart and he appealed to all sides “to abstain from any action that could provoke more suffering to the populations, destabilising coexistence among nations and discrediting international law”.

    The pontiff proclaimed Ash Wednesday, March 2, a day of international prayer for peace and fasting.

    Ofcom asked to review operation of Kremlin-backed news channel Russia Today

    Nadine Dorries, Culture Secretary, has urged Ofcom (the UK’s communications regulator) to review the operation of the Kremlin-backed Russia Today (RT) news channel in the UK.

    Nadine Dorries said RT was “demonstrably part of Russia’s global disinformation campaign”.

    Mr Johnson said in response: “We live in a democracy and we live in a country that believes in free speech and I think it’s important that we should leave it up to Ofcom rather than to politicians to decide which media organisations to ban.

    “That’s what Russia does.”

    Sir Keir Stamer, Leader of the Opposition, said RT was President Vladimir Putin’s “personal propaganda tool” which spread “lies and disinformation.”

    Ukraine crisis could be most ‘critical moment’ for the world since WW2, says Sturgeon

    The crisis in Ukraine could be the most “critical moment” for the world since 1945, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said.

    Speaking after a meeting with the Ukrainian Consul General and the chairwoman of the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain in Edinburgh, the First Minister said: “This is a moment to stand up for independence, for sovereignty, for territorial integrity and for democracy around the world.

    “This is probably the most critical moment for the world since the Second World War and time will tell whether the world stands up and defends the values and the principles that we hold dear, or allow people like Putin to ride roughshod over that.

    “If somebody like Putin can get away with that kind of aggression towards an independent country, then for countries across the world – particularly smaller countries – there is a very hard lesson in that.”

    Turkey refusing to choose between Russia and Ukraine

    EU signs off sanctions package

    EU ambassadors have signed off on the bloc’s package of sanctions against Russia that will take effect from Wednesday.

    The measures include blacklisting more politicians and banning trade between the EU and two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine.

    There are 351 members of the Russian Duma who will be targeted and 27 individuals and entities “who are playing a role in undermining or threatening Ukrainian territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence.”

    Critics say the minimal sanctions package, which was watered down because of disagreements between EU capitals, will have little impact. 

    Business leaders to attend Downing Street talks on further sanctions

    Downing Street and Prime Minister Boris Johnson will hold a roundtable with business leaders on options for further sanctions against Russia.

    The meeting will be chaired by Treasury minister John Glen and Number 10 director of policy Andrew Griffith.

    Sky News reports that there will be leaders from Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays, Goldman Sachs, HM Treasury, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, HSBC, NatWest, JP Morgan and others.

    Tories urged to hand over Russian cash

    The Liberal Democrats have called on the Conservatives to hand over any money from Russian-linked donors to Ukraine.

    Almost £2m worth of donations to the Tories have come from people with ties to Russia.

    Lib Dem foreign affairs spokesperson Layla Moran said: “This would send a powerful signal to Putin that the Conservatives are serious about no longer allowing themselves to be bankrolled by Russian money.

    “It would also provide vital support to Ukrainians on the ground facing the threat of invasion and a sustained campaign of Russian disinformation.

    “Europe is taking steps to wean itself off Russian gas, but so far Boris Johnson is failing to wean the Tory party off Russian money. It’s time for the Conservatives to put their money where their mouth is.”

    ‘The longer Putin’s been in power, the more authoritarian he’s become’

    Jack Straw, former foreign secretary under Tony Blair, has said Russian President Vladimir Putin has become more authoritarian the longer he’s been in power.

    Having known Mr Putin some 15 to 20 years ago, Mr Straw said the Russian president has “strengthened his grip” of Russia’s state since then. 

    He described Mr Putin as “basically a Russian nationalist.”

    He saus Putin will be felling “the West has taken too much from Russia and they want it back. When they take things personally, they can take it out on a whole country like Ukraine.”

    Ukraine to impose state of emergency

    Ukraine’s top security official has said a state of emergency will be introduced in all Ukrainian territory, with the exception of Donetsk and Luhansk, in the east of Ukraine, which are partially held by Russian-backed separatists. 

    Trump praises ‘tough cookie’ Putin

    Former US president Donald Trump has described Russian President Vladimir Putin as a “genius” and a “tough cookie.”

    He said: “Putin declares a big portion of Ukraine as independent. That’s wonderful. How smart is that? This is genius.

    “I knew Putin very well. I got along with him great. He’s got a lot of great charm and a lot of pride. He loves his country.”

    Speaking to The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, he said he used to talk to Mr Putin about Russia’s ambitions to invade Ukraine.

    “I used to talk to him about it. I said, ‘You can’t do it. You’re not gonna do it’. But I could see that he wanted it.”

    He called current US President Joe Biden “weak” in his response to Russia.

    He added: “If properly handled, there was absolutely no reason that the situation currently happening in Ukraine should have happened at all.”

    Ukraine’s parliament votes to give permission for civilians to carry firearms

    Ukrainian civilians have been given the right to carry firearms and defend themselves after the country’s parliament voted in favour of the measure. 

    Earlier today Ukraine also started conscripting army reservists and urged all Ukrainians in Russia to leave as soon as possible. 

    Ukraine urges tougher sanctions

    Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, has called on the West to impose tougher sanctions against Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.

    “Now the pressure needs to step up to stop Putin. Hit his economy and cronies. Hit more. Hit hard. Hit now.”

    Liz Truss responds to Labour’s sanctions criticism

    David Lammy, Liz Truss’ Labour counterpart, has critised the set of sanctions on Russia announced by the UK yesterday.

    But also, several prominent MPs from her the Conservative Party have said they do not go far enough too. 

    Ms Truss said to BBC Breakfast that the sanctions are the “toughest we’ve ever put on Russia”.

    She said the UK has to “keep some sanctions in the locker” to use if and when Russia escalates its use of force against Ukraine.

    She continued: “There will be more action on financial markets, there will be more action on individuals – we have a list of individuals ready to go.

    “Vladimir Putin and his cronies will be fearing they will be hit next.”

    St Petersburg should not host Champions League final urges Liz Truss

    Liz Truss tells BBC Breakfast that the Champion’s League final should not go ahead in St Petersburg, Russia.

    Due to be played in the Russian city’s Gazprom Arena on 28 May, Ms Truss said: “I think it is wrong at this stage with what Russia is doing internationally to have the final there.”

    Asked if English clubs should boycott it, should they reach the final, she says: “That’s a matter for the team but if I was a player, which is a very unlikely eventuality, I certainly wouldn’t want to be part of that.”

    Labour says UK sanctions are not good enough

    David Lammy, Shadow Foreign Secretary, told BBC Breakfast that the government needs to implement stronger sanctions on Russia.

    He said the mood among many MPs is that the measures sanctioning three oligarchs and five banks are not “strong enough”.

    He said they are concerned that the UK has not sent a “message to Vladimir Putin that might, at this 11th hour, make him step back”.

    Ukraine’s foreign ministry is urging its citizens to leave Russia as soon as possible

    Ukraine’s foreign ministry is urging its citizens to leave Russia as soon as possible and warns it may not be able to protect them.

    In a statement on the government site, it said: “We emphasize that ignoring these recommendations will significantly complicate ensuring proper protection of Ukrainian citizens in the Russian Federation.”

    There are 3 million Ukrainians in Russia, Putin said in 2019.

    Half of Russians say it would be right to use military force to keep Ukraine out of NATO

    An exclusive new poll of Russians and Ukrainians for CNN finds that twice as many Russians believe it would be right for Moscow to use military force to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO as say it would be wrong.

    One out of every two Russians says it would be right, while only a quarter say it would be wrong. The other quarter are unsure.

    The poll also found that more Russians think it would be wrong than right to use military force “to reunite Russia and Ukraine”, but it’s a close call, with 43 percent of Russians saying use of military force against Ukraine to join it to Russia would be wrong, while 36 percent said it would be right.

    Ukrainians are divided about the possibility of Russia starting a war, 42 percent expect it, while 45 percent think it is unlikely. 

    On the Russian side, only 13 percent think the Kremlin is likely to initiate military action.

    65 percent of Russians expect a peaceful end to the tensions between the two countries, while only 43 percent of Ukrainians expect the same.

    Russia is open to ‘honest dialogue’

    Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke in a video address to mark Russia’s Defender of the Fatherland Day.

    He said Russia was always open for “honest dialogue” and “diplomatic solutions” could still be met with the West over Ukraine. However, he said interests of Russia and the security of its citizens were non-negotiable.

    Australia PM says a full invasion is ‘likely’ within 24 hours

    Scott Morrison, Australia’s Prime Minister, said in address that “the invasion of Ukraine has effectively already begun”.

    He strongly condemned the “unprovoked” and “unacceptable” actions of the Kremlin.

    Mr Morrison said Russia is: “at peak readiness to now complete a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and that is likely to occur within the next 24 hours. There are even reports already of shelling and things of that nature which could indicate that it has already begun.”

    He added that liberal democracies needed to stand together to oppose authoritarian states “seeking to have their way”.

    Canada delivers ‘lethal aid’ to Ukraine

    Canada’s Minister of National Defence, Anita Anand, has tweeted that a second delivery of “lethal aid” has now been sent to Ukraine.

    Ukraine has received weapons and military gear from NATO countries in the last few weeks.

    Yesterday, Canada imposed financial sanctions on Russia too.

    UK ‘very concerned’ about imminent invasion

    Liz Truss, UK Foreign Secretary, spoke to BBC Breakfast and said she is “very very concerned about an imminent invasion of Ukraine”.

    She said an assault on the capital Kiev is a “very real possibility”.

    She continued: “Russia has encircled Ukraine so we could see an attack from a variety of directions.

    “Nothing would be off the table in the event of a full invasion.”

    Read more here: ‘Today is Phase 1 – more pain is coming to Putin!’ Liz Truss warns UK is on the attack

    Russia: Liz Truss says 'nothing is off the table'

    Good morning

    Good morning from London, I’m Rachel Hagan. I’ll be bringing you all the latest developments on the Russia-Ukraine crisis for the next eight hours.

    Please feel free to get in touch with me as I work if you have a story or tips to share! Your thoughts are always welcome.

    Email: [email protected]

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