Published:

Huge 40-mile Russian convoy bears down on Kiev

“A massive convoy of Russian armour and support vehicles stretching for as much as 40 miles is bearing down on the capital Kyiv, according to satellite images released last night updating a previous assessment of 17 miles. Maxar, a US surveillance company, said that “along parts of the route, some vehicles are spaced fairly far apart while in other sections military equipment and units are travelling two or three vehicles abreast on the road”. It added that cloud cover earlier had prevented a full appraisal of the extent of the convoy. Boris Johnson condemned “barbaric Russian airstrikes against innocent civilians, including children” and pledged more military aid for Ukraine, a day after the EU’s historic collective decision to supply Kyiv with weapons.” – The Times

  • Invaders’ push towards the capital halted after column is ambushed by Ukrainian artillery and drone strikes – Daily Telegraph
  • Tanks ‘turning back’ after being confronted by dozens of unarmed Ukrainians – Daily Express
  • 70 Ukrainian soldiers killed in Okhtyrka – The Guardian
  • Russia launches fierce rocket attack on Ukrainian city of Kharkov – FT
  • Footage shows dozens of Grad missiles raining down as Moscow ‘adapts its tactics’ – The Guardian
  • Putin accused of war crimes – Daily Telegraph
  • Snake Island guards are alive and held prisoner – Daily Mail

>Today: ToryDiary: We must show Russia that it has a way out, even if Putin is too mired in blood to take it

Johnson flies to Eastern Europe as he blasts Putin’s ‘colossal mistake’

“Boris Johnson will fly to the Eastern Front tomorrow for urgent security talks following Vladimir Putin’s crazed nuclear threats. The PM is heading to Nato’s flank for meetings in Poland and Estonia as ruthless Russian forces blitz a path of bombs and bullets across Ukraine. Britain is sending more weapons to arm the Ukrainian people fiercely defending their homeland against the Kremlin onslaught. Mr Johnson today warned that Mad Vlad had made a “colossal mistake” by underestimating the resistance… Western officials believe Russian troops are shocked to have encountered fighting rather than being greeted as liberators as Moscow promised. But they fear frustrated Putin could now lash out by unleashing enormous firepower on Ukraine at grave civilian cost.” – The Sun

  • US and Europe are paying the Kremlin $1bn-a-day for oil and gas – Daily Mail
  • Prime Minister warns of UK energy price shock – FT
  • Russian sanctions will cause pain for Britons, he warns – The Times
  • Five ways we have hit Putin’s economy – Daily Mail

More:

  • Zelenskyy gives Johnson ‘shopping list’ of arms needed to defeat Russian forces – The Sun
  •  China says it is ‘partners’ not allies with Russia and vows not to interfere – Daily Telegraph

>Today: Jeremy Black in Comment: This crisis will require a Prime Minister able to devote sustained attention

Truss will launch savage broadside at Russian leader in UN address

“Vladimir Putin has ‘blood on his hands’, Liz Truss will say today at a UN summit, while Boris Johnson will visit British troops defending Nato’s eastern border with Russia. In a speech in Geneva, the Foreign Secretary will condemn Putin’s brutal tactics and accuse him of ‘murdering Ukrainians indiscriminately’… Miss Truss will use today’s meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council to discuss relief for Ukrainians fleeing the conflict.  Her comments go further than most other senior Western figures in condemning Putin’s growing use of indiscriminate weapons in heavily populated civilian areas. Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov yesterday pulled out of the UN conference, where he was expected to face condemnation, saying EU travel sanctions meant he could no longer attend.” – Daily Mail

  • Property register to stop Russian oligarchs hiding dirty cash – The Times
  • Foreign Secretary announces the UK will freeze the assets of all Russian banks within days – Daily Mail
  • Russian ships barred from British ports in latest sanctions – The Times
  • Starmer threatens to kick out Labour members who attack NATO over Putin invasion – Daily Express

Comment:

  • Londongrad will stand so long as enforcement stays weak – Cat Rutter Pooley, FT

>Yesterday: Peter Franklin’s column: Is the West ready for the barbarians?

Wallace tells Brits to join the army instead of going to Ukraine

“Joining the British Army is a better way to help Ukraine than going to the country to fight Russians, the defence secretary has said. Ben Wallace struck a more cautious note this morning than Liz Truss, the foreign secretary, saying that fighting in Ukraine was “very dangerous” and people should not go unless they had received proper military training. Yesterday Truss said she “won’t oppose” Britons who travel to Ukraine to fight the Russian invasion after President Zelensky announced the formation of a dedicated International Legion and urged foreigners to come and take up arms against Moscow. The new unit is reminiscent of the International Brigades set up by left-wingers in the Spanish Civil War, drawing thousands of foreign volunteers including literary greats George Orwell to WH Auden.” – The Times

  • Number 10 refuses to back Foreign Secretary’s statement supporting Britons who want to fight – FT
  • More than 150 former paratroopers understood to be travelling to Ukraine – Daily Mail
  • Army warns its soldiers not to go rogue and travel to Ukraine – Daily Telegraph
  • Britain’s wannabe vigilantes told to join the army instead – The Times

Comment:

  • Brave Britons answering the call to arms – Ian Birrell, Daily Mail

>Yesterday: Mark Francois MP in Comment: Now the Government must tear up the Integrated Review, start again – and boost the army

Patel refuses to waive all visa rules for Ukraine refugees

“Priti Patel has rejected demands to offer a full visa waiver to Ukrainians fleeing war amid growing unrest among Conservative MPs over the government’s refugee policy. The home secretary said security and biometric checks must stay in place for applicants because of concerns about extremists and Russian agents entering the UK while posing as refugees, but the UK’s policy did not appear to have changed from the one announced on Sunday evening. Patel’s statement on Monday was criticised by refugee charities and opposition MPs for falling short of the package of measures put forward by all 27 EU member countries. It swiftly followed the Guardian’s disclosure of a letter from 37 Conservative MPs to Boris Johnson calling for the government to “act decisively” and “share responsibility” with other European countries.” – The Guardian

  • Home Secretary offers ‘bespoke humanitarian route’ for British nationals and Ukrainians with residency to bring relatives… – FT
  • …but rules out any visa-free travel for all Ukrainians because of fears Russian agents could infiltrate it – Daily Telegraph
  • Patel demands security checks on fleeing Ukrainian families – The Times

More:

  • Lords reject clause in bill criminalising refugees who arrive by irregular route – The Guardian
  • African refugees fleeing Ukraine are facing ‘shockingly racist’ treatment – Daily Mail
  • Home Office ‘should be stripped of responsibility for modern slavery victims’ – Daily Telegraph

William Hague: Ukraine’s nightmare is only just beginning

“While it is clear that a great many Russian diplomats and officials think he has made a terrible mistake, there will be nothing they can do now to restrain their isolated, paranoid, obsessive and increasingly angry president. And tragically for the people of Ukraine, he will have no doubts about what he must do. He will be telling his generals to go deeper, faster, more brutally and destructively if necessary. The huge loss of life in rocket attacks on Kharkiv is a sure sign of what is about to happen. Nothing matters more to Putin than that the subjugation of Ukraine is swift. He wants to present the world with a fait accompli.” – The Times

  • Sanctions don’t work; serious diplomacy is the only way to stop Putin – Simon Jenkins, The Guardian

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Meanwhile, a vote of confidence in Johnson’s leadership is off – for as long as this crisis lasts

Noisy eco-rallies will be banned under laws set to sail through Parliament

“Noisy eco rallies will be banned under laws set to sail through Parliament last night. Cops will be able to crack down on protesters who use “noise as a weapon”. It is thought it will block any use of drums, whistles and shouting deemed “damaging”. MPs were expected to back the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill — but insisted that the powers were limited. Writing for Tory grassroots site ConHome, Policing Minister Kit Malthouse said: “We’ve seen some truly ridiculous claims, even that the Bill bans ‘people singing in the street’, which is just nonsense.”… Mr Malthouse said that noisy protests can cause “significant psychological damage” and “intrude disproportionately on the rights of others”.” – The Sun

>Yesterday: Kit Malthouse MP in Comment: How the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill protects women and girls

Businesses urge Sunak to delay ‘ill-timed and illogical’ NI rise

“Rishi Sunak is facing renewed pressure from business leaders to delay a planned £12bn rise in national insurance, amid warnings over soaring costs for companies and households as the Russian invasion of Ukraine drives up inflation. The manufacturing trade body Make UK, which represents 20,000 firms of all sizes across the country, said the tax hike planned for April should be pushed back until the UK economy is in a stronger position. It warned the government that pressing ahead would risk firms slamming the brakes on recruitment and putting the economic recovery from Covid at risk. With concerns mounting over the fallout from Vladimir Putin ordering his troops into Ukraine last week, the business lobby group said now was not the time to add further self-imposed costs on companies.” – The Guardian

  • Insurers reveal misgivings over reform aimed at freeing up billions for investment – FT

>Today: David Willetts’ column: Sunak’s Mais lecture, Ministers’ Augar response – and a better approach to universities

>Yesterday: David Gauke’s column: Sunak’s big speech. Intended to move on from crisis management. Made just as there is a new crisis to manage.

News in Brief:

  • Team Armageddon: the Tory MPs who want war with Russia – Henry Hill, UnHerd
  • Britain must accept there is no pain free solution to this crisis – Mark Wallace, The i
  • Putin’s nightmare is becoming a reality – Rodric Braithwaite, The Spectator
  • The Ukrainians have launched the greatest PR operation of our times – Ben Sixsmith, The Critic
  • Britain will pay the price for indulging the anti-housing lobby – Henry Hill, CapX