Leave now, Putin warns as he prepares to attack Kiev

“Russian missiles struck a television tower next to the burial site of thousands of Jews murdered by the Nazis yesterday as Moscow warned civilians to leave Kyiv before heavy aerial bombardment. Five members of the same family were burnt alive in the strike, which took out Ukrainian terrestrial television broadcasting across the capital as the Kremlin targeted infrastructure used for what it called “information attacks on Russia”. The television tower is next to Babyn Yar, the burial site and memorial for more than 30,000 Jews shot by the Nazis after their assault on the city in 1941. President Zelensky, Ukraine’s first Jewish president, appealed to Nato to impose a no-fly zone to stop the Russian air force, insisting it would not drag the alliance into war with Russia.” – The Times

  • Convoy of thousands is snaking toward Kiev – The Times
  • Dnipro ‘will be a Stalingrad’ for the Russian attackers – The Times
  • Russia holding back from launch of full cyberattack – The Times
  • Zelensky’s plea receives EU ovation – The Times
  • And Zelensky pleads with West to prevent genocide – Daily Telegraph
  • Britain’s secret army of cyber hackers deployed during Ukraine crisis – The Sun
  • Taiwan on high alert as it watches Ukraine – The Times
  • Desperate families scramble for last trains out of Kyiv – The Times
  • ‘It might be the last chance to get out’ – The Guardian
  • Britain doubles visas for Ukrainian refugees to 200,000 – The Times
  • Desperate race to flee Kiev – Daily Mail
  • Patel bows to pressure – FT

PM confronted by tearful Ukrainian activist

“Boris Johnson has been confronted by a tearful Ukrainian campaigner for declining to support a no-fly zone or sanction Roman Abramovich. After a speech in Warsaw the prime minister was questioned by Daria Kaleniuk, the executive director of the Anti-Corruption Action Centre in Kyiv, who said she had fled the Ukrainian capital for Poland. “You are talking about the stoicism of Ukrainian people,” she said. “But Ukrainian women and Ukrainian children are in deep fear because of bombs and missiles which are going through the sky. And Ukrainian people are desperately asking for the West to protect our sky. We are asking for a no-fly zone.” – The Times

No 10 rebukes Tory MP over Ukraine trip

“A Conservative MP has been criticised by Downing Street for travelling to Ukraine against government advice. Adam Holloway, a former soldier and MP for Gravesham, Kent, has appeared in television interviews after crossing into the country from southeast Poland. Holloway, 56, who serves on the foreign affairs select committee, appears to have gone against the government’s guidance after the Foreign Office advised against all travel to Ukraine. Speaking to GB News, he described “extraordinary scenes” of refugees queueing at the border to flee Ukraine. The prime minister’s official spokesman said he was not aware of Holloway’s trip to Ukraine but “our advice applies to everyone”. – The Times

MP claims Abramovich selling London property to avoid sanctions

“Roman Abramovich is selling his palatial London home within days to avoid having his assets frozen under British sanctions, an MP told parliament yesterday. Chris Bryant said the billionaire Russian owner of Chelsea football club was “terrified of being sanctioned” and ministers should act quickly. “He’s already going to sell his London home tomorrow and another flat as well,” the Labour MP added. Britain has sanctioned eight Russians since the invasion of Ukraine, with the EU placing asset freezes and travel bans on several others with London links. Abramovich, 55, has not been sanctioned by Britain or the EU.”” – The Times

  • Abramovich ‘to receive bids for Chelsea this week’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Russian billionaire quits as Royal Academy trustee – The Guardian
Action against oligarchs
  • Abramovich’s future at Chelsea in doubt – The Times
  • EU sanctions Russian oligarchs – The Times
  • Legal system has been corrupted by kleptocrats, says Tory MP – The Times
  • Russia’s richest man is EU target – The Guardian

Pay rise for MPs as families wake up to soaring bills

“MPs will receive a pay rise of more than £2,200 in April at a time when household bills are expected to soar. The independent body that sets MPs’ pay has recommended a 2.7 per cent wage increase despite protestations from Boris Johnson and Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader. The base salary for MPs will rise from £81,932 to £84,144 to match last year’s average public sector pay increases, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) has said. The rise is below inflation, with the consumer prices index expected to hit 7 per cent in April. The change will come into effect on April 1, a day when household bills across the country will rise dramatically.” – The Times

Ministers are clueless on the cost of net zero, MPs say

Scathing MPs accused No 10 of burying its head in the sand over the sheer scale of the bills. The greenhouse gas emissions 2050 target is still far too light on detail, the Public Accounts Committee says. It wants to know the true cost to struggling families. MPs fear net zero will force bills even higher when millions face soaring costs of food and energy. Ministers have yet to say how they will replace the £20billion fuel duty after the switch to electric cars, or whether eco-taxes for tech such as wind farms will whack consumers. And they have no idea how much it will cost everyone to go fully green, MPs say.” – The Sun

  • Government has ‘no idea’ how much net zero plans will cost – Daily Telegraph

Starmer told to ditch left wing MPs

“Sir Keir Starmer should kick out Labour MPs who back the Stop the War campaign or face losing the next election, according to shadow cabinet ministers. Diane Abbott and John McDonnell are among 11 left-wing MPs who have signed a letter organised by the group last week which was critical of NATO expansion and UK “sabre-rattling” ahead of the war in Ukraine. All have since withdrawn their support after being threatened with having the party whip removed. Some shadow cabinet ministers are concerned that the Labour leader is in danger of being beholden to left-wing MPs if he were to form a minority government after a general election.” – Sky News

Sebastian Payne: Starmer is taking on Labour left over Ukraine

“For perhaps the first time, Sir Keir Starmer made Tory strategists sweat. As Boris Johnson announced the first round of British sanctions against Russia last week, the Labour party leader stared down the prime minister. “We must be prepared to go further,” he told the House of Commons. “A threshold has already been breached.” After days of soaring rhetoric about tough action if Russia invaded Ukraine, Johnson had misfired. One Tory aide watched Starmer’s attack aghast: “There is no way we can look weaker on security than Labour, that’s core for us.” As the Russian invasion of Ukraine has progressed, the prime minister announced harsher sanctions and military aid, but that initial exchange was striking.” – FT

Scottish Labour to dump historic red rose

“Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar is planning a major rebrand by dumping his party’s iconic ‘red rose’ emblem. He will replace the rose with a red and purple thistle in a bid to hammer home Labour’s Scottish credentials. The move, which will be announced by Sarwar on the first day of his party’s conference on Friday, comes on the back of feedback from voters. It is understood focus groups found the red rose to be old, tired and not communicating anything politically. Others noted that a rose is also a symbol of England. Sarwar, who led on the project, has decided to axe a logo his party has shared in one form or another with UK Labour for decades.” – Daily Record

Biden makes bid to reverse poll ratings

“President Biden confronted a string of domestic troubles in his first state of the union address yesterday, all too aware that his approval ratings have plunged to a near-record low. Biden pledged to invest in US manufacturing, infrastructure and supply chains as part of his plan to tackle inflation. His speech to the nation followed a tumultuous first year in office. Inflation is spiralling, Biden’s legislative agenda has stalled and the public has grown weary over the Covid-19 pandemic crisis he pledged to resolve. With the Democrats fearing disaster at the midterm elections in November, Biden, 79, has struggled to rally his divided party for the crucial year ahead.” – The Times

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