Russians should not assassinate Vladimir Putin, says Boris Johnson

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·30 min read
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The Prime Minister's spokesperson said: "We stand with the Ukrainian people in demanding the immediate end to the Russian invasion." - PHILL MAGAKOE /AFP
The Prime Minister's spokesperson said: "We stand with the Ukrainian people in demanding the immediate end to the Russian invasion." - PHILL MAGAKOE /AFP

Boris Johnson does not want Russians to assassinate Vladimir Putin, his spokesman has said, despite a US senator inviting a 'Brutus' to deal with the Russian president.

Lindsey Graham, a Republican senator, last night publicly called for that move, telling Fox News: "How does this end? Somebody in Russia has to step up to the plate... and take this guy out."

Today, the Prime Minister's spokesman said Mr Johnson did not agree with that idea.

The spokesman said: “We’ve said before that Putin must be held to account at the International [Criminal] Court for the horrific acts that have been seen."

It comes as Gordon Brown called for a new Nurenberg to be established so that Mr Putin can be tried for his crimes of aggression against Ukraine.

"If we were to acquiesce in any way, none of us could ever take freedom or democracy for granted ever again," said the former prime minister.

04:07 PM

That’s all for today

As the war in Ukraine continued into its ninth day, both Dominic Raab and Liz Truss insisted that further sanctions were being looked at, as the Government looked to remove obstacles to taking measures against Vladimir Putin.

This morning Dominic Raab said that he WAS looking to change the law to stop Russian billionaires gagging journalists and investigators revealing corruption linked to the Russian leader's regime.

After two further oligarchs were sanctioned by the UK last night, bringing the total to 13, the Government today refused again to comment on the case of Roman Abramovich.

Mr Raab said “we don’t talk about individual cases before the sanctions are imposed”, as it would give those with links to the Putin regime a heads-up to get their money out of the UK.

The Deputy Prime Minister defended the UK’s record on sanctions, despite lagging behind much of Europe, adding that the Government was looking at confiscating Russian mansions in London, in order to house Ukrainian refugees fleeing war.

03:52 PM

Ben Wallace given Danish honour

Danish defence minister Kalle Laanet awarded Ben Wallace with the Ministry of Defence Cross of Merit, First Class – the highest decoration conferred by the Ministry – for his commitment to European defence and security.

03:33 PM

'A noble and correct thing to do': Telegraph readers on the Ukraine refugee crisis

In response to the Government’s humanitarian pledges, Telegraph readers have flooded the comments section with their views on the the war in Ukraine.

Click here to read what your fellow readers had to say and join the discussion.

03:26 PM

Scottish Labour pledges free residential care for pensioners

Anas Sarwar has announced a plan for free residential care to everyone over the age of 65 if they need it.

Speaking at the Scottish Labour conference in Glasgow, Mr Sarwar said: "This will be the single greatest reform of the care service since the introduction of free personal care.

"But we don't have to wait until 2026, we can take steps right now to set us on track for all care in Scotland to be free at the point of need, delivering a health and care system which people can rely on their whole lives.

"A social care service based on NHS principles.

"That's our politics - Labour politics - building the health and social care system of the future."

03:25 PM

Sage stands down signifying ‘end of the Covid pandemic’ in the UK

The Government’s scientific advisory group faced criticism over the last year for its modelling which has been repeatedly shown to be wrong, writes Sarah Knapton, our Science Editor.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) has been stood down in a clear sign that the government believes the Covid crisis is over.

Although the group ‘stands ready if required’ it will no longer meet regularly, the first time it has halted its ongoing response since January 2002.

The decision was taken after the government acknowledged that Britain has entered a new phase of its response, and follows the lifting of all remaining legal restrictions in England as part of Downing Street’s Living With Covid plan.

The Telegraph understands that the government will continue to receive Covid advice from other expert bodies, such as the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), as well as from Sir Patrick Vallance, the Chief Scientific Advisor and Sir Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer.

You can read the full piece here.

Professor Carl Heneghan, Director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at the University of Oxford said: “This is a remarkable turnabout of events given that just before Christmas, Sage advisors were warning infections could hit two million per day and were pushing for further restrictions. " - Leon Neal/Getty Images
Professor Carl Heneghan, Director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at the University of Oxford said: “This is a remarkable turnabout of events given that just before Christmas, Sage advisors were warning infections could hit two million per day and were pushing for further restrictions. " - Leon Neal/Getty Images

03:22 PM

DUP says Ukraine must not distract Government

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, the DUP leader, said the war in Ukraine must not result in a "freeze" on Government action on Brexit's Northern Ireland Protocol.

It comes after the Telegraph revealed that the Prime Minister is ‘unlikely’ to deploy a safeguard mechanism in the Northern Ireland Protocol this side of Assembly vote.

"I want to find solutions," Sir Jeffrey said.

"Of course the situation in Ukraine is vitally important but it doesn't mean that government in the UK freezes, the government in the UK stops making decisions."

You can read the exclusive story here on how Boris Johnson has been facing increasing pressure from senior Tory Brexiteers and Unionist parties to trigger Article 16.

Sir Jeffrey said: "People here in Northern Ireland are suffering as a result of the protocol. I could give many examples of how the protocol is impacting on individuals, on families and on businesses all across Northern Ireland." - Liam McBurney/PA
Sir Jeffrey said: "People here in Northern Ireland are suffering as a result of the protocol. I could give many examples of how the protocol is impacting on individuals, on families and on businesses all across Northern Ireland." - Liam McBurney/PA

03:04 PM

Labour has a culture of defeatism, says Scottish leader

Anas Sarwar said the Labour Party must change its "culture of defeatism" and start winning elections again.

The Scottish leader said: "We don't change people's lives by just debating the big issues.

"We only actually get to deliver on our values, only get to implement our ideas, and only get to change people's lives if we win."

Mr Sarwar added: "It's not enough that the Tories deserve to lose, it's not enough that the SNP deserve to lose.

"We have to prove to the people of Scotland that we deserve to win."

02:55 PM

Russia 'may be ready to use chemical weapons in Ukraine'

Warning comes from experts, with one adding: 'The EU and Nato need to prepare for the (almost) unimaginable', writes James Kilner.

Russia may be readying to use chemical weapons in its war in Ukraine after Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, referenced alleged US biological sites in the country, commentators have said.

The threat was flagged after Mr Lavrov claimed the US was "worried that it would lose control" over what he claimed were chemical weapons sites in Ukraine.

Several commentators said that this was a "red flag" and that the use of chemical weapons in Ukraine was now "real".

You can read the full piece here.

02:35 PM

Peace will prevail over Putin

Anas Sarwar praised the "inspirational bravery" of the Ukrainian people in the face of the Russian invasion.

Having led applause in support of Ukraine earlier in the day, the Scottish Labour leader argued that Vladimir Putin "will not win" and insisted peace will prevail.

He said: "We unequivocally reject any - any - false attempts to justify Russian aggression, and we stand in solidarity with those fleeing war and those who are staying to defend their homeland."

Mr Sarwar said: "We must provide more humanitarian assistance to defeat the horrors of war: hunger, destitution and need." - Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Mr Sarwar said: "We must provide more humanitarian assistance to defeat the horrors of war: hunger, destitution and need." - Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

02:21 PM

Government matched the first £20m of funding from public

DEC chief executive Saleh Saeed said the committee is "extremely grateful" for the "huge generosity" of everyone who has donated to the appeal, adding: "We are also very grateful for the generous support of the royal family."

He said: "We also thank the UK Government who have matched pound for pound the first £20 million donated by the public, as well as our broadcast partners and celebrities for having aired and joined the appeal, reaching millions of viewers and listeners."

02:09 PM

Ukraine appeal raises £55m on first day

The Disasters Emergency Committee's (DEC) Ukraine appeal has raised £55 million in its first day. The total includes "generous" donations from the Queen, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge, DEC said.

It said hundreds of thousands of members of the public donated to the humanitarian appeal within hours of its launch on Thursday.

The total includes £20 million donated by the UK Government as part of its UK Aid Match scheme - the largest commitment ever made to a DEC appeal through the initiative.

01:51 PM

Any questions?

If you have a question about the conflict in Ukraine, you can get in touch with our team here.

01:48 PM

Home Secretary visits Polish border

Priti Patel has said Ukrainians fleeing into Poland were escaping "the most atrocious set of circumstances where they are being persecuted by President Putin".

Speaking on a visit to the Polish border, the Home Secretary told reporters she wanted to "to see the work that they're doing and also to see how we can support Poland much more in terms of helping those Ukrainians with links to the United Kingdom to come to Britain, and actually we've been discussing some of that work here today".

Ms Patel said: "We're also launching our new family extension route today to enable Ukrainian families with links to the UK to come over to Britain. That scheme is live, that is now working, that's up and running."

Ms Patel said: "We stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Ukraine but also with our dear friends here in Poland, who are working really night and day, we can all see this, under incredible circumstances."
Ms Patel said: "We stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Ukraine but also with our dear friends here in Poland, who are working really night and day, we can all see this, under incredible circumstances."

01:40 PM

Sanctions loopholes could see Russians export goods

A union is warning that ships with a connection to Russia could reach the UK despite a Government ban because of "confusion" over sanctions.

Unison's head of energy Matt Lay said: "Even ships with a clear Russian connection are causing confusion and could slip through the net to reach a UK port.

"Department for Transport rules only cover the ownership and operators of vessels, not the cargo.

"The Boris Vilkitsky [a gas tanker diverted away from its destination of Kent] was chartered by a company based in Singapore, but majority Russian-owned.

"It's not at all clear whether it's covered by the ban."

01:28 PM

Western values under threat

The Defence Secretary said the shared values of the West were "under threat" from Russian president Vladimir Putin and his invasion of Ukraine.

Speaking in Copenhagen, Denmark, where he is visiting allies in the UK Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF), Ben Wallace said Mr Putin was "bombarding, ordering the killing, invasion of a sovereign country for simply having the nerve to choose a different future for itself".

The Cabinet minister said there were fears that a "new Cold War, a new Iron Curtain will descend upon Europe".

He added: "Now is the time for us to stand together in common values and in determination, both in soft and hard power.

"We recognise that freedom isn't free."

01:03 PM

Just three in ten 29 per cent feel life has returned to pre-Covid normal

Just three in ten Britons feel that their life has returned to pre-pandemic normal with almost two thirds saying that it has not, according to new research by YouGov.

The feeling that life is back to normal is particularly apparent amongst Conservative voters, with just over a third saying this compared to a quarter of Labour voters who say the same.

12:59 PM

Boris Johnson concerned for the safety of Zelensky

The Prime Minister has regularly spoken to the Ukrainian leader and has expressed his personal admiration of him.

A spokesman for the PM was asked whether Mr Johnson was worried about attempts reportedly made on Mr Zelensky's life.

He said: "Of course, everybody's concerned for the safety and welfare of the President of Ukraine and the rest of the government, as well as the people of Ukraine who we've seen indiscriminately targeted over recent days."

12:49 PM

Release public list of foreign-owned properties

On the issue of Russian money being laundered in London, the city's mayor Sadiq Khan told PA: "It is quite clear that many people across the globe, including in Russia, see London as the money laundering capital of the world. That's unacceptable.

"So, we're lobbying the Government to be seizing the assets of those Russian oligarchs who are close to Putin, to be making sure that the sanctions are implemented, it's really important to do so.

"But also to urgently make public a list of all those properties in our city that are owned by those who are from overseas."

Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich's mansion at Kensington Palace Gardens, in London - VICKIE FLORES/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock 
Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich's mansion at Kensington Palace Gardens, in London - VICKIE FLORES/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

12:45 PM

People won't be able to afford Sadiq Khan's Ulez extension

Michael Lloyd, of the Federation of Small Businesses, said there is "great cause for concern" over the news that Sadiq Khan will extend Ulez over the whole of Greater London.

He insisted that companies "want to do the right thing by the environment" but many "simply cannot afford" to replace their vehicles with Ulez-compliant models.

12:40 PM

Russia accused of 'numerous rapes' during its war in Ukraine

Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba has spoken of "numerous cases" of rapes in his country as the Russian invasion continues.

He told an online event organised by the Chatham House think-tank: "When bombs fall on your cities, when soldiers rape women in the occupied cities - and we have numerous cases of, unfortunately, when Russian soldiers rape women in Ukrainian cities - it's difficult of course to speak about the efficiency of the international law.

12:27 PM

Boris Johnson doesn't want Putin assassinated by his own people

The Prime Minister's spokesperson has suggested that Vladimir Putin should be tried in a criminal court, rather than assassinated.

12:15 PM

Career advice for children is 'dismal'

A Conservative former education secretary has described the Government's record on offering career guidance to children as "dismal and bleak".

Lord Baker of Dorking, education secretary under Margaret Thatcher, criticised what he described as a fall in the number of young people studying apprenticeships, and called for improved career guidance in "disadvantaged areas".

The Tory peer was speaking in a debate on the Education (Careers Guidance in Schools) Bill, which requires all state-funded schools in England to provide such support for children from year seven until they leave secondary school.

Currently careers guidance is offered from year eight and the service is not provided by some academy trusts.

12:02 PM

Scotish fishing negotations on hold

The Scottish Government has said it will not take part in any fisheries negotiations with the Russian Federation in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine.

Environment Secretary Mairi Gougeon has instructed Scottish Government officials to withdraw from any such negotiations until further notice.

She confirmed the move as she called for talks over fishing stocks involving both the UK and Russia, which are currently due to take place later this month, to be postponed.

Ms Gougeon made clear that allowing Russia to take part in talks - whether in person or remotely - would "be an insult to our Ukrainian friends and partners".

11:53 AM

West should set up new Nurenberg for Putin's crimes

Gordon Brown has called on countries to support the creation of a special tribunal to punish Vladimir Putin for the crime of aggression against Ukraine.

He joined Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba at an online event organised by the Chatham House think-tank, where pleas were made for Western nations to set up a tribunal to prosecute the Russian president and his accomplices.

Mr Brown said the plan to set up a new international tribunal is modelled on the actions of the nations which met in London during the Second World War to draft a resolution on Nazi war crimes, which led to the creation of the International Military Tribunals and the Nuremberg trials.

Mr Brown said: "President Putin has posed a fateful challenge to the post-1945 international order. He has sought to replace the rule of law with a misuse of force.

"If we were to acquiesce in any way, none of us could ever take freedom or democracy for granted ever again."

The proposal Mr Brown is supporting has been formulated by senior international legal experts. - PA /Andrew Milligan 
The proposal Mr Brown is supporting has been formulated by senior international legal experts. - PA /Andrew Milligan

11:38 AM

Khan to expand Ulez to cover the whole of Greater London

London's Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez) will be expanded to cover the entire city under plans announced by mayor Sadiq Khan to cut pollution and congestion.

Mr Khan has asked Transport for London (TfL) to consult on extending the scheme's boundary from the North and South Circular Roads to the whole of Greater London by the end of next year.

Drivers of vehicles which do not comply with minimum emissions standards are charged a daily fee of £12.50 for entering the Ulez area.

11:32 AM

Ukraine in picures

Russian forces shelled Europe's largest nuclear plant early this morning.  - Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant 
Russian forces shelled Europe's largest nuclear plant early this morning. - Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant
A member of the Territorial Defence Forces stands guard at a checkpoint in Kyiv, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues. - REUTERS/Mykola Tymchenko
A member of the Territorial Defence Forces stands guard at a checkpoint in Kyiv, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues. - REUTERS/Mykola Tymchenko
Refugee Katya Kuznetsove from Kyiv finds temporary accommodation on the stage of the Les Kurbos theatre in Lviv. - Simon Townsley for The Telegraph
Refugee Katya Kuznetsove from Kyiv finds temporary accommodation on the stage of the Les Kurbos theatre in Lviv. - Simon Townsley for The Telegraph
Ukrainian artillerymen keep position in the Luhansk region.  - ANATOLII STEPANOV 
Ukrainian artillerymen keep position in the Luhansk region. - ANATOLII STEPANOV
The Okhmadyt Children Hospital in Kyiv. Milana, 6, lies in her hospital bed while her grandmother Kondratchiva Titianometrivna tends to her. - David Rose for The Telegraph
The Okhmadyt Children Hospital in Kyiv. Milana, 6, lies in her hospital bed while her grandmother Kondratchiva Titianometrivna tends to her. - David Rose for The Telegraph

The Telegraph has picked out some of the most striking pictures of the war in Ukraine, you can see them all here.

11:23 AM

Wales could see finally see the end of Covid restrictions at end of March

Covid passes are to be scrapped and the need to wear face coverings in certain venues removed later this month.

Mark Drakeford is expected to announce Wales will remain at alert level zero for the next three weeks but legal requirements could go following a review on March 24, if the public health situation remains stable.

11:09 AM

Stock markets down across Europe

European markets on Friday reacted with horror to the fire at Europe's largest nuclear power plant amid shelling by Russia in the area.

Although the situation is reportedly under control, stock indexes were down across the continent, with London's top index, the FTSE 100, dropping to its lowest point since October on the news.

The index dropped by as much as 3.2% on Friday morning, retreating to less than 7,004 points - perilously close to the symbolic 7,000-point mark.

You can read all the analysis on how the Ukraine crisis is impacting the markets on our businesss live blog.

11:00 AM

Labour calls for top Conservative to be sacked

Sir Keir Starmer called for Conservative fundraiser and co-chair Ben Elliot to be sacked for his role in links between the Tories and Russian money.

Speaking during a visit to Birmingham Erdington, Sir Keir said: "I think there is growing concern about the links between the Conservative Party and Russian money.

"Ben Elliot is at the heart of that. We need to strip Russian money away from our politics, not to allow it to influence our politics.

"There will always be this danger if the Conservative government doesn't go really hard on this that people will say it must be because you are reliant on Russian money that you are not going more quickly.

"So, it's in everybody's best interests that Ben Elliot steps back from his role - and I think he should actually be sacked from it."

The Telegraph has a full profile on the man called "Mr Access All Areas", who transformed the finances of the Conservetives.

Asked by the Telegraph in 2011 what he was most ashamed of, his response was typically insouciant. “I don’t have much shame. I don’t really regret anything,” he replied.   - ITV
Asked by the Telegraph in 2011 what he was most ashamed of, his response was typically insouciant. “I don’t have much shame. I don’t really regret anything,” he replied. - ITV

10:50 AM

5,000 say no to Sir Gavin

A petition to stop Gavin Williamson being given a knighthood has almost reached 5,000 signatures.

Gavin Williamson, the former education secretary, angered critics who claimed he did "an abominable job" on schools policy during the pandemic.

Headteachers and education union leaders expressed shock and surprise when Downing Street said on Thursday that the Queen had approved the honour.

The honour has been extended for the 45-year-old's "political and public service", an insider said.   - Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
The honour has been extended for the 45-year-old's "political and public service", an insider said. - Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

10:44 AM

Make younger generation pay net zero bill, say peers

It is fairer to put burden on those who will live in carbon-neutral world rather than those paying bills now, peers have said.

Tony Diver our Whitehall Correspondent, has the full story:

Peers on the industry and regulators committee said it would be fairer for the £321 billion cost of reaching net zero emissions by 2050 to be met with government borrowing rather than levies on energy bills because the loans will be repaid by future taxpayers who will live in the net zero world.

Lord Hollick, chairman of the committee, said: "The amount that can realistically be raised via surcharges on energy bills is not enough.

"Bills are regressive as the poor pay more of their income on energy costs. It is also unfair to the current generation, as we are asking current billpayers to cover the huge costs of something that is designed to mainly benefit future generations."

You can read the full story here.

10:40 AM

Putin counted on Nato being divided

Sir Keir Starmer said it was clear Ukraine wanted the strongest possible response from Nato members, adding that the people of the country were "bravely" fighting back.

Asked for his view of President Vladimir Putin's state of mind and the way he was acting, Sir Keir answered: "Putin is a dangerous aggressor who is in breach of international law.

"I think he is gambling that Ukraine and our allies, the United Kingdom and Nato would not be united. He will be surprised by how united we are."

10:33 AM

The UK should 'got after every oligarch'

Asked for his view of the UK Government's efforts to sanction Russian oligarchs, Sir Keir Starmer said: "Where the Government is taking action on sanctions, we support them. But they have got to go further and faster.

"We must go after every oligarch. This is the weapon we have to use and we need to use it now.

"I am particularly concerned about the arrangements where the Government is suggesting there could be 18 months for those overseas owners to register their assets and their ownership.

"That gives them 18 months to remove their assets from this country, so I want to see the Government move on this."

10:28 AM

UK looking at speeding up sanctions process

Liz Truss has said that she is looking at speeding up the process of imposing sanctions on Russian companies and individuals.

Asked during a visit to Brussels why Britain was being slower than other countries on sanctions, the Foreign Secretary told reporters: "We've sanctioned more companies than our counterparts across the world, we've just sanctioned two more major oligarchs last night.

"What I am doing is looking at how we could speed up that process to make even more progress on that front," she added.

Earlier today Dominic Raab said he is looking to change the law to prevent Russian oligarchs and kleptocrats from exploiting the British justice system to "silence" those investigating corruption linked to Vladimir Putin's regime.

10:17 AM

Russia confirms it has blocked BBC and other media.

Russia's state communications watchdog said that it had blocked the BBC, Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Deutsche Welle and other media outlets for spreading "fake" information, Interfax news agency reported.

It comes after reports that users in Russia had lost access to the BBC following the UK's condemnation on Russia's state broadcaster RT.

10:14 AM

Putin is 'playing with fire'

Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary said Vladimir Putin was playing with fire by attacking a nuclear power plant in Ukraine's southeast and called on him to stop targeting such sites.

"We call upon the Russian president in the strongest possible terms to absolutely cease attacking sites such as that, it is incredibly dangerous," Mr Wallace told a news conference during a visit to Copenhagen.

"It's not just dangerous for Ukraine and Russia, it's dangerous for Europe, and it is playing with fire that really is beyond anything that has to do with logic or necessity."

Ben Wallace has been leading increased diplomatic ties with Denmark, a fellow Nato country, in recent months. - Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images
Ben Wallace has been leading increased diplomatic ties with Denmark, a fellow Nato country, in recent months. - Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images

10:07 AM

Attack on Ukrainian plant 'shocked the world', says Labour

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer described the overnight attack on a nuclear plant in Ukraine as "deeply alarming".

Speaking during a visit to Birmingham, Sir Keir said: "I think the whole world will be shocked. I think it's very important that we unite now and renew that message that Russia must withdraw.

"We need a ceasefire - and we need to stop this aggression from Russia because this escalation is deeply, deeply concerning."

09:52 AM

BBC to try to get services back up in Russia

Following reports that its Russian Service website has been blocked in the country, a BBC spokesman said:

"Access to accurate, independent information is a fundamental human right which should not be denied to the people of Russia, millions of whom rely on BBC News every week. We will continue our efforts to make BBC News available in Russia, and across the rest of the world."

The broadcaster previously said the audience for its Russian language news website has more than tripled its year-to-date weekly average to a record 10.7 million people in the last week, while visitors to the English language website in Russia were up 252 per cent to 423,000 last week.

Speaking in the House of Commons on Thursday, Nadine Dorries said RT, the Russian state broadcaster, should lose its licence and "never again" be able to broadcast "poisonous propaganda". - DCMS/PA Wire 
Speaking in the House of Commons on Thursday, Nadine Dorries said RT, the Russian state broadcaster, should lose its licence and "never again" be able to broadcast "poisonous propaganda". - DCMS/PA Wire

09:30 AM

West must be prepared for Putin to become 'even more barbaric'

The Deputy Prime Minister told BBC Radio 4's Today programme the economic sanctions taken on Russia are "starting to bite" but that Britain and its allies need to "bed in and have the strategic stamina for the long haul".

He added: "I've said that we can expect that, after the stuttering start to this campaign, that Putin would resort to ever more barbaric measures as he gets frustrated.

"And that is the next phase that we all need to be alert to, whether it is the sanctions or the steeling of the capacity and the will of the Ukrainian defence."

09:20 AM

Government again refuses to comment on Abramovich

Asked on BBC Radio 4's Today programme whether Mr Abramovich should be able to do "what he wants to" with the proceeds of the sale, the Deputy Prime Minister said: "I'm not going to talk about individual sanctions on individuals."

Pressed on the case of Mr Abramovich and the sale of his Premier League club, Mr Raab said: "We don't talk about individual cases before the sanctions are imposed.

"We have overnight imposed sanctions on Mr (Alisher) Usmanov and (Igor) Shuvalov, but the reason we do it is, first of all, precisely because it is contested and, as Justice Secretary, I can't prejudge these things.

"But, more importantly, we do not want to give advance sight to anyone of the measures that we take."

Vladimir Putin, poses for a photo with USM Holdings founder, businessman Alisher Usmanov - Alexei Druzhinin 
Vladimir Putin, poses for a photo with USM Holdings founder, businessman Alisher Usmanov - Alexei Druzhinin
Vladimir Putin listens to his then-first deputy prime minister, Igor Shuvalov. - VYACHESLAV OSELEDKO/AFP
Vladimir Putin listens to his then-first deputy prime minister, Igor Shuvalov. - VYACHESLAV OSELEDKO/AFP

09:01 AM

Government to stop oligarchs abusing UK legal system

The Justice Secretary is looking to change the law to prevent Russian oligarchs and kleptocrats from exploiting the British justice system to "silence" those investigating corruption linked to Vladimir Putin's regime.

He told BBC Breakfast he was looking it "as a matter of urgency and will be producing proposals on very shortly".

"We have seen oligarchs and kleptocrats and those with links to Putin coming into this country and suing under our libel laws those who are shining a light, whether it is authors or NGOs, on corruption and abuse.

"And that is an abuse of our system and I'm going to be putting forward proposals to deal with that and to prevent that.

"It cannot be right that kleptocrats and those with links to Putin can silence those shining a light on those excesses and use our courts to do so."

Tom Burgis outside of the Royal Courts of Justice in London after a high court judge dismissed a libel claim against him over his book, Kleptopia: How Dirty Money is Conquering the World. - Jess Glass / PA
Tom Burgis outside of the Royal Courts of Justice in London after a high court judge dismissed a libel claim against him over his book, Kleptopia: How Dirty Money is Conquering the World. - Jess Glass / PA

08:54 AM

Welsh to send £4 million in aid to Ukraine

Mark Drakeford, the Welsh First Minister , who told Sky News that Wales hopes to be "a nation of sanctuary" for Ukrainian refugees, said the aid would help people on the front line.

"For those people for whom Wales could be even a temporary home, a temporary place of sanctuary, we will want to do everything we can to welcome them and to provide for them," he added

08:48 AM

Putin must contemplate prison time

Dominic Raab was asked on Times Radio whether he saw the conflict ending with the Russian president "imprisoned for war crimes".

He said: "I think it is a very real risk that he must now contemplate.

"Beyond his personal situation, every commander operating in Ukraine, or indeed Moscow, when they are faced with illegal orders, whether it is to target civilians or otherwise, attack illegal or unlawful sites, they now know the ICC (international criminal court ) is investigating and the chief prosecutor Karim Khan is, I believe, travelling to Ukraine.

"They must now know that they face the very real risk of ending up in the dock of a court and, ultimately, in a prison if they follow through on those illegal, unlawful orders."

08:39 AM

Three million Russian companies blocked

Dominic Raab was asked during broadcast interviews why the European Union had sanctioned more individual Russian elites than Britain.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, the Deputy Prime Minister said it was a "false distinction" to make, adding: "The question is not whether it is individuals or companies - it is where the money is flowing."

"We've been at the vanguard of taking action and, of course, what is really important is we act in concert with our allies, European, American and other Nato allies.

"For example, we have sanctioned more Russian banks than the EU, including Sberbank, which is the biggest Russian bank. We've made it clear and introduced measures so that three million Russian companies cannot raise loans or get listed on the UK stock market.

A mega-yacht owned by a company linked to the head of Russian oil giant Rosneft has been seized in southern France. - VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images
A mega-yacht owned by a company linked to the head of Russian oil giant Rosneft has been seized in southern France. - VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images

08:34 AM

Ukraine-Russia morning briefing: Five key developments overnight

Vladimir Putin made clear on Thursday that "the worst is yet to come" as fighting in Ukraine continued for a ninth day. Here are five things you need to know about developments in the war with Russia.

  1. Volodymyr accused Russia of "nuclear terrorism" over its attack of the nuclear plant.

  2. A US senator has asked if there is "a Brutus in Russia" who would kill Vladimir Putin.

  3. 700 missiles set to be sent by Germany to Ukraine are inoperable because they have been stored in "mouldy" boxes.

  4. The BBC may have been blocked in Russia.

  5. Russia will keep its stock exchange closed for a fifth day.

You can read the full detail here.

08:26 AM

Russia's attack is 'affront to the world at large'

Dominic Raab told Times Radio: "It is clearly reckless, irresponsible and not only the fact they were shooting, bombarding that particular site, but when the Ukrainian emergency authorities were trying to put out the fire, the shelling continued.

"It must stop. We support the Ukrainians in dealing with the security situation there but also I think come down hard on Vladimir Putin.

"That's why the Prime Minister has called for an emergency United Nations security council meeting in New York so the entire international community can address this, because of course it is a much wider threat, given the nuclear implications.

"It is an affront to the world at large."

Early hours of this morning, Boris Johnson said the shelling of Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant means Putin now “could now directly threaten the safety of all of Europe”.  - ZAPORIZHZHIA NUCLEAR AUTHORITY/AFP
Early hours of this morning, Boris Johnson said the shelling of Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant means Putin now “could now directly threaten the safety of all of Europe”. - ZAPORIZHZHIA NUCLEAR AUTHORITY/AFP

08:20 AM

Lord Owen: Ukraine is going to be Putin's undoing

Lord David Owen, former Foreign Secretary, joins Christopher Hope to discuss why he thinks Ukraine is Vladimir Putin's undoing, how the Russian President's approach has radically changed since he first took power, and his fears about nuclear threats.

You can listen to the latest episode of Chopper's Politics Podcast here.

08:11 AM

Good morning

Following last night's attack on the Ukrainian nuclear facility, Dominic Raab is fielding questions on the morning round.

The Deputy Prime Minister told Sky News that the attack on the nuclear facility in Ukraine was “at the very least it was clearly a reckless bombardment of a very sensitive, precarious and dangerous facility."

“The fact they kept bombarding it when there was a fire and the Ukrainian rescue teams were trying to get to it makes it doubly reprehensible," he said.

In other news Labour has won the by-election in Birmingham Erdington.

Later in Parliament, only the House of Lords is sitting where it is debating private members' bills.