Vladimir Putin says he has no problem with Ukraine joining EU

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Putin claimed Russia's economy has overcome rocketing inflation following Western sanctions - AP
Putin claimed Russia's economy has overcome rocketing inflation following Western sanctions - AP

​Russian president Vladimir Putin has said he has no problem with Ukraine joining the European Union.

Addressing Ukraine's bid for EU membership during a press conference on Friday, Putin said: "We have nothing against it, this is not a military bloc."

Earlier on Friday Ukraine took a step closer towards joining the EU after the European Commission recommended it to be granted candidate status to join the bloc.

Putin claimed on Friday that the EU will lose $400bn because of heavy sanctions against Moscow following its invasion of Ukraine.

He told a forum in St Petersburg that sanctions against Russia were a double-edged sword and would only harm the West, accusing some currencies of "committing suicide".

"The economic blitzkrieg against Russia has no chance of succeeding," Putin said. "The eurozone has had huge inflation too since the start of the Special Operation.

"European countries dealt a serious blow to their own economy all on their own."

05:26 PM

What happened today

05:00 PM

Britain will free grain held 'hostage' by Putin - Johnson

Britain will give Ukraine the "strategic endurance" to prevail against Russia's invasion, Boris Johnson has said during a visit to Kyiv on Friday.

Britain will also work with Ukraine to free up grain for export via the Black Sea that he said was being held "hostage" by Vladimir Putin, he told a joint news conference with Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Kyiv.

Follow the latest news and updates from Johnson's visit to Kyiv in our politics blog.

04:30 PM

US does not know whereabouts of missing Americans in Ukraine

Joe Biden has said he has been briefed on the Americans missing in Ukraine but that the US does not currently know their whereabouts.

On Friday, Pro-Kremlin propaganda social media channels published photographs that appear to show two former US soldiers taken prisoner of war by Russian forces.

Alexander Drueke, 39, and Andy Huynh, 27, were fighting as volunteers with Ukrainian forces.

Mr Biden repeated on Friday that Americans should not be going to fight in Ukraine.

Alexander Drueke and Andy Huynh have been captured by Russian forces in Kharkiv 
Alexander Drueke and Andy Huynh have been captured by Russian forces in Kharkiv

04:09 PM

UK will train Ukraine's armed forces, PM says

Boris Johnson has told Volodymyr Zelensky that the UK is prepared to launch a major operation to train Ukrainian armed forces, Downing Street has said.

The Prime Minister told Mr Zelensky that Britain could train up to 120,000 troops every 120 days, when the two men met during an unannounced visit by Mr Johnson to Kyiv on Friday.

No 10 said international partners would be invited to host the programme, if the offer is accepted by Ukraine.

In a statement, Mr Johnson said: "My visit today, in the depths of this war, is to send a clear and simple message to the Ukrainian people: the UK is with you and we will be with you until you ultimately prevail.

"As Ukrainian soldiers fire UK missiles in defence of your nation's sovereignty, they do so also in defence of the very freedoms we take for granted.

"That is why I have offered President Zelensky a major new military training programme that could change the equation of this war - harnessing that most powerful of forces, the Ukrainian determination to win."

Mr Zelensky shared a video of the meeting on his Telegram feed:

Follow the latest news and updates from Johnson's visit to Kyiv in our politics blog.

04:00 PM

Biden punchbag in Moscow

A punchbag featuring the face of Joe Biden has been installed in a square in Moscow, according to a journalist from a Ukrainian news site.

03:41 PM

Pictured: Johnson meets Zelensky

Boris Johnson has shared a photograph of him meeting Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv.

Mr Zelensky has hailed Mr Johnson's trip to Kyiv, saying he is glad to see Ukraine's "great friend" again.

The second surprise trip comes a day after a visit by Emmanuel Macron, Olaf Scholz and Mario Draghi.

03:31 PM

Breaking: Boris Johnson in Kyiv

Boris Johnson is in Kyiv on his second trip to Ukraine, according to a report.

The prime minister had been due to attend a meeting with MPs in Doncaster on Friday but pulled out and is instead meeting Volodymyr Zelensky.

Mr Johnson was the first G7 leader to visit Kyiv when we went in April.

03:09 PM

Putin hails "new world order"

Ending his speech on a defiant and ominous note, Putin says: "Russia is entering a new era as a powerful, sovereign country, and will become even stronger."

"Only strong and sovereign states can have a say in this emerging world order, or are doomed to become colonies."

Putin struck a defiant tone at the end of a defensive and combative speech - AP
Putin struck a defiant tone at the end of a defensive and combative speech - AP

03:01 PM

Putin urges Russian companies to invest at home

While Vladimir Putin has insisted that sanctions on Russia are not harming its economy, he has also used his speech to urge Russian businesses to invest at home.

He asked Russia's enterprises to boost their domestic investment to help realise the country's "gigantic potential" and defy sanctions.

A looming recession in Russia is set to be the country's deepest contraction in at least two decades but Putin said Moscow would stick to a "responsible macroeconomic policy".

02:54 PM

Putin: Some currencies are "committing suicide"

Putin has told the forum that sanctions on Russia are "stupid" and claimed that some global currencies are "committing suicide".

In a robust and combative speech, Putin said: "We are strong people and can cope with any challenge. Like our ancestors, we will solve any problem, the entire thousand-year history of our country speaks of this."

Russia's president was roundly applauded in the hall when he reaffirmed his determination to continue the "special military operation" in Ukraine.

02:45 PM

War 'was forced on us', Putin claims

Putin has claimed that Russia's "special military operation" in Ukraine is justified because it was "forced on us".

Russia's president insists the invasion was aimed at protecting the people of Donbas - "our people" - from what he claims, without evidence, is a "genocide".

"Real success is possible only when you make sure that your future and your children's future are tied to the motherland," Putin said.

Putin once again accused Kyiv of "genocide" - REUTERS
Putin once again accused Kyiv of "genocide" - REUTERS

02:39 PM

Russia will co-operate 'with those who want it'

Putin said Moscow would continue to develop as an "open economy" despite Western sanctions.

He said Russia would keep dealing with Western companies and that he hoped gas flows would increase via new routes.

Russia, Putin added, would continue to expand economic cooperation "with those who want it".

02:34 PM

Putin pledges to boost grain exports

Putin has claimed Russia was not to blame for rising prices on the global grain market and said his government can significantly increase its exports of grain and fertilisers.

Putin said the United States is driving up food prices by "snapping up" food on global markets and insisted Russia would boost grain exports by some 50 million tonnes.

Russia's president also said he would export food to Africa and the Middle East.

02:27 PM

Putin restates promise to take Ukraine

Putin has pledged again to conquer Ukraine and make it a part of Russia.

Russian forces have suffered significant losses since the invasion of Ukraine on Feb 27, part of what Putin claimed was a "special military operation" to "de-Nazify" Ukraine that the West believes is an attempt to annex the country.

"All tasks of the special operation will, of course, be solved. And the guarantee of this is the courage and heroism of our soldiers," Putin said.

He warned: "Sovereignty in the 21st century cannot be partial or fragmented."

It comes after the UK's armed forces chief said on Friday morning that Russia had "strategically lost" the war in Ukraine and is now a "more diminished power" both diplomatically and economically than several months ago.

Ukraine's territorial army in a training exercise near Kyiv on Friday - REUTERS
Ukraine's territorial army in a training exercise near Kyiv on Friday - REUTERS

02:22 PM

Putin denies Russia is blocking Ukraine's food

Putin has denied that Russian forces are blocking Ukraine's food supplies.

Ukraine, one of the world's largest producers of wheat, has been unable to export its resources due to Russian blockades, causing a crisis that has driven up prices and threatened the global food chain.

Putin, however, claimed the problems are due to mismanagement in Kyiv.

He said: "As for Ukrainian food supplies... we are blocking them? For God's sake.

"We didn’t mine the ports. It’s not about us. It’s about the inadequacy of the people who are in power in Kyiv."

Putin waits to speak at the forum in St Petersburg on Friday - REUTERS
Putin waits to speak at the forum in St Petersburg on Friday - REUTERS

02:11 PM

EU will lose $400bn from its own sanctions, claims Putin

Putin claims the EU will lose $400bn as a result of heavy sanctions against Russia, calling the measures a double-edged sword.

"The economic blitzkrieg against Russia has no chance of succeeding," Putin has told the forum, reminding the audience that Russia wasn't the only area suffering.

"The eurozone has had huge inflation too since the start of the Special Operation.

"European countries dealt a serious blow to their own economy all on their own."

Putin accused the West of using the war as "a lifeline" to "hide their economic miscalculations".

02:08 PM

'Nothing will be as it used to be'

Putin says gloomy forecasts for the Russian economy had not been fulfilled and declared confidence in the rouble, adding that peak inflation had passed.

Amid a lengthy denunciation of the United States and its allies, Putin said: "Nothing will be as it used to be in global politics."

02:05 PM

West trying to isolate wrong states, says Putin

Putin accuses the US of pretending not to notice that there are other strong countries in the world.

The Russian president, speaking to the forum in St Petersburg, says the West still thinks in 20th-century terms, accusing the US and European powers of treating other nations like colonies.

Putin says they the US is trying to isolate the "wrong" states.

01:54 PM

Putin: US 'believes it has sacred right from God'

Vladimir Putin has taken to the stage in St Petersburg following the delay caused by a cyberattack.

Russia's president is speaking now and has launched into a blistering attack on the United States, accusing Americans of "declaring they are sent by God to Earth with their sacred interests".

He says attempts by Washington to "hammer" the Russian economy with sanctions have failed.

01:44 PM

EU accused of 'manipulating' Ukraine

Russia's foreign ministry has accused Brussels of "manipulating" Ukraine after the EU Commission recommended the Kyiv be granted candidate status for joining the bloc.

"We see how for many years the Western community has been manipulating the idea of some kind of involvement of Ukraine in their integration structures," ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told Russian news agencies.

Ukraine, however, is getting "worse and worse," she added.

Read more: Ukraine moves step closer to joining EU

01:06 PM

Ukraine to scrap visa-free travel for Russians

Ukraine is scrapping visa-free entry for Russians and will require them to obtain visas from July 1, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Friday.

"According to a decision that is planned by the Cabinet of Ministers, Ukraine will introduce a visa regime for Russian citizens from July 1, 2022," the Ukrainian president said.

12:41 PM

Vladimir Putin's speech delayed by cyber attack

The Kremlin said Russian president Vladimir Putin's address to the St Petersburg International Economic Forum had been delayed after the forum suffered from a "denial of service" cyber attack on its accreditation system.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said in a call with reporters that the cyber attack had begun on Thursday and disabled the forum's guest accreditation and admission system, leading to a host of problems with access.

He said specialists were working to fix the problem, and that Mr Putin's keynote address had been moved back.

12:38 PM

No10 welcomes idea of hosting Eurovision for Ukraine

Downing Street welcomed the possibility of the UK hosting Eurovision if Ukraine cannot, pledging to ensure it would "overwhelmingly reflects Ukraine's rich culture, heritage and creativity".

A No 10 spokesman said: "Ukraine's victory in the Eurovision song contest was richly deserved and as the rightful winner the Government's firm wish has been to see next year's contest hosted there.

Kalush Orchestra from Ukraine - Luca Bruno /AP
Kalush Orchestra from Ukraine - Luca Bruno /AP

"If the EBU decides the competition can't go ahead in Ukraine we would of course welcome the opportunity to work closely with Ukraine and the BBC to host it here in the UK.

"But we would be committed to ensuring it overwhelmingly reflects Ukraine's rich culture, heritage and creativity, as well as building on the ongoing partnership between our two countries."

Asked if the Government would help the BBC with the costs, the spokesman said "we're slightly getting ahead of ourselves in terms of the process".

12:30 PM

Russia 'carefully observing' Ukraine's EU candidate status

The Kremlin's spokesperson has said Moscow is on "heightened attention" in response to the European Union’s executive commission's recommendation that Ukraine and Moldova be granted candidate status to join the bloc.

Vladimir Putin's chief spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, said: the issue “requires our heightened attention, because we are all aware of the intensification of discussions in Europe on the subject of strengthening the defence component of the EU”.

He added: "There are various transformations that we are observing in the most careful way."

The Kremlin ha avoided referring to its invasion of Ukraine as a war, instead calling it a  “special military operation”.

In his briefing with reporters, Mr Peskov said Russia’s goal in its offensive continued to be to “save and secure” the population of the eastern Donbas region from what he called “barbaric attacks” by Kyiv’s forces.

He added that Russia was in contact with Turkey regarding the export of grain from Ukraine, but cited uncertainties from the Ukrainian side.

11:50 AM

Zelensky welcomes EU candidate status

11:45 AM

Eurovision 2023 'will not be held in Ukraine' due to war

The 2023 Eurovision Song Contest cannot be held in Ukraine given the ongoing war in the European country, the European Broadcasting Union has announced.

It added that it was in talks with the BBC to host it in the United Kingdom.

"The security and operational guarantees required for a broadcaster to host, organize and produce the Eurovision Song Contest under the ESC Rules cannot be fulfilled by UA:PBC," ESC said on Twitter.

"The EBU would like to thank (Ukraine's public broadcaster) UA:PBC for their wholehearted cooperation and commitment in exploring all scenarios in the weeks since Kalush Orchestra's win on 14 May in Turin and share their sadness and disappointment that next year's Contest cannot be held in Ukraine."

11:42 AM

Macron critics mock photo opp with Zelensky

Unsurprisingly, the photograph from yesterday of the French president getting very close and personal with Volodomyr Zelensky  has turned into a bit of a meme. Here is one take on the photo from Ukrainian correspondent Tanya Kozyreva:

11:32 AM

EU chief dons Ukraine flag colours

11:29 AM

Ukraine recommended as EU candidate

Ukraine has taken a step closer towards joining the EU after the European Commission recommended it to be granted candidate status to join the bloc on Friday.

The boost to Ukraine’s hopes of membership is laden with meaning in a country that turned defiantly westwards during the 2013 Euromaidan protests that toppled its pro-Russian president.

It will be a blow for Vladimir Putin, whose illegal invasion was an attempt to force Ukraine back into Moscow’s sphere of influence.

EU leaders are expected to approve Ukraine’s candidate status at next week’s European Council summit but with strict conditions.

11:28 AM

Russia says nearly 2,000 foreign fighters killed in Ukraine

Russia on Friday said that close to 2,000 foreign mercenaries have been killed in Ukraine since the start of Moscow's military intervention in the pro-Western country.

Russia's defence ministry said in a statement that 6,956 "mercenaries and weapons specialists" from 64 countries had arrived in Ukraine since the start of the conflict and that "1,956 have already been destroyed".

Another 1,779 have left Ukraine, the statement said.

It said that Poland was the "absolute leader" among European countries for the number of fighters that were sent to Ukraine, followed by Romania and Britain.

It also singled out "mercenaries" from Canada, the United States and the Caucasus nation of Georgia.

The ministry said the number of foreign fighters is decreasing and many are leaving Ukraine "against the backdrop of the growing number of military failures of the Kyiv regime and massive daily losses in manpower and equipment".

11:02 AM

Two dead, 20 injured as Russia strikes Mykolaiv

At least two people were killed and 20 injured in a Russian strike on a residential area in the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv, the local governor said.

"A rocket strike on a residential area killed two people and 20 are injured," Vitaliy Kim said on social media.

He earlier said that a child was among those injured.

"Four residential high-storey buildings and an infrastructure object were damaged in the morning strike on Mykolaiv," Kim said.

10:53 AM

Russia has 'strategically lost' the war in Ukraine, says UK defence chief

Russia has "strategically lost" the war in Ukraine and is now a "more diminished power" both diplomatically and economically than several months ago, the UK's armed forces chief has said.

In an interview published on Friday, Chief of Defence Staff Admiral Sir Tony Radakin said Vladimir Putin had lost 25 per cent of Russia's land power to reap only "tiny" gains.

He said while Russia may achieve "tactical successes" in the coming weeks, the idea the war had been a success was "nonsense".

"President Putin has used about 25 per cent of his army's power to gain a tiny amount of territory and 50,000 people either dead or injured," Admiral Radakin said.

Admiral Radakin said Russia could never occupy all of Ukraine as it was suffering heavy losses, running low on advanced missiles and faced the scorn of a strengthening Nato.

"This is a dreadful mistake by Russia. Russia will never take control of Ukraine," he said. "Russia has vulnerabilities because it's running out of people, it's running out of high-tech missiles.

"This is going to be a long fight. And we're supporting Ukraine. Ukraine has shown how courageous it really is."

10:17 AM

Ukraine says it hit Russian tugboat with two Harpoon missiles

Ukraine's armed forces said they struck the Russian navy's Vasiliy Bekh tugboat in the Black Sea with two Harpoon missiles on Friday, the first time Ukraine has said it hit a Russian vessel with the Western-supplied anti-ship rockets.

Ukraine's Armed Forces Strategic Communications Directorate published the information on the Telegram app, alongside a video purporting to show the strike from the air.

09:51 AM

Ukraine says evacuation from Sievierodonetsk chemical plant 'impossible'

The evacuation of 568 civilians sheltering in bunkers under the Azot chemical plant in the embattled city of Sievierodonetsk is currently impossible due to shelling and heavy fighting, the governor of Ukraine's Luhansk region said on Friday.

In a post on Telegram messenger, he said there were 38 children taking shelter in the bunkers at the chemical plant.

09:25 AM

Macron sceptical on deal to get grain out of Ukraine's Odesa port

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Friday that he was open to talking to Russia's President Vladimir Putin as part of efforts to strike a deal to get grain out of the Ukrainian port of Odesa but that he saw little chance of an agreement.

"We have to talk with Russia on food security and it (discussions) can be justified by liaising directly with the UN secretary general to get grains out of Odesa," Macron told BFM TV on his way back from Ukraine.

"But I don't believe a lot in this path, because I already had talks a few weeks ago with President Putin, but he didn't want to accept a UN resolution on this subject."

09:24 AM

'Complete ceasefire' needed to free civilians from Azot plant: governor

Only a "complete ceasefire" will allow the evacuation hundreds of civilians sheltering in a chemical plant in Ukraine's Severodonetsk, the site of heavy fighting with Russia, the regional governor said Friday.

"It is now impossible and physically dangerous to get out of the (Severodonetsk chemical Azot) plant due to constant shelling and fighting. There are 568 people in the shelter, including 38 children," Lugansk governor Sergiy Gaiday said on Telegram.

"Exit from the plant is possible only with a complete ceasefire."

08:35 AM

Humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine 'extremely alarming'

The UN on Friday said the humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine is "extremely alarming" and continues to deteriorate, four months into the Russian invasion.

"Nearly four months since the start of the war, the humanitarian situation across Ukraine - particularly in the eastern Donbas - is extremely alarming and continues to deteriorate rapidly," the UN's humanitarian agency, OCHA, said in a statement.

08:00 AM

EU to give fast-tracked opinion on Ukraine membership bid

The European Commission will meet Friday to give its fast-tracked opinion on Ukraine's bid for EU candidacy, a step closer to membership.

Never before has an opinion been given so quickly on EU candidacy, which must be approved by all 27 member states.

The opinion will serve as a basis for discussion at next week's EU summit, where leaders are expected to approve Ukraine's candidate status, but with stern conditions attached.

Membership may take years or even decades.

France, Germany, Italy and Romania are all in favour of Ukraine receiving "immediate" candidate status, the French President Emmanuel Macron said in Kyiv Thursday.

Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italian premier Mario Draghi arrived in Ukraine by train and headed to the Kyiv suburb of Irpin, scene of fierce battles early in the brutal war.

07:54 AM

Data suggests 15,000 millionaires trying to leave Russia

Thousands of millionaires are trying to leave Russia, data suggests according to Britain's defence ministry.

A continued exodus of its business and oligarch community will likely exacerbate the war's long-term damage to its economy, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said.

"Migration applications suggest that 15,000 Russian millionaires are likely already attempting to leave," the MoD said.

On the war front, Russia is likely trying to regain momentum in attempts to surround the Sievierodonetsk pocket from the south, it said.

Ukrainian officials have said their troops were holding out against massive Russian bombardment in the eastern city, and described new progress in a counteroffensive in the south.

06:41 AM

Russian-owned superyacht arrives in Honolulu

The superyacht Amadea is moored in Honolulu - AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy
The superyacht Amadea is moored in Honolulu - AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy

A Russian-owned superyacht seized by the United States has arrived in Honolulu Harbour flying an American flag.

The US won a legal battle in Fiji last week to take the $325 million (£264m) vessel and immediately sailed it to Hawaii.

The FBI has linked the Amadea to the Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov. The US said Kerimov secretly bought the Cayman Island-flagged vessel last year through various shell companies.

The ship became a target of Task Force KleptoCapture, launched in March to seize the assets of Russian oligarchs to put pressure on Russia to end the war in Ukraine.

The FBI said a search warrant in Fiji turned up emails showing that Kerimov's children were aboard the ship this year and that the crew used code names – G0 for Kerimov, G1 for his wife, G2 for his daughter and so on.

The 348-foot-long (106m) vessel features a live lobster tank, a hand-painted piano, a swimming pool and a large helipad.

Lawyer Feizal Haniff, who represented Millemarin Investments, the owner on paper, had argued the owner was another wealthy Russian who, unlike Kerimov, does not face sanctions.

05:49 AM

Australia's prime minister considers visit to Ukraine

Australia's new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Friday he would seek advice on whether to accept Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's invitation to visit Ukraine during his upcoming trip to Europe.

Mr Albanese is set to attend a NATO meeting in Spain at the end of this month.

He said he only became aware of the invitation when he read a newspaper report on Friday.

"I'll take appropriate advice, and obviously there are security issues as well in terms of such a visit," Mr Albanese told reporters.

"I appreciate the spirit in which it's been offered and one of the reasons why Australia has been invited to NATO is that Australia is the largest non-NATO contributor to give support to Ukraine.

"We'll continue to stand with the people of Ukraine."

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will consider an invitation to visit Ukraine - Shutterstock
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will consider an invitation to visit Ukraine - Shutterstock

05:21 AM

EU to give fast-tracked opinion on Ukraine membership bid

The European Commission will meet on Friday to give its fast-tracked opinion on Ukraine's bid for EU candidacy, bringing the country a step closer to membership.

The EU candidacy must be approved by all 27 member states and will serve as a basis for discussion at next week's EU summit.

Leaders are expected to approve Ukraine's candidate status, but with stern conditions attached, and membership may take years or even decades.

France, Germany, Italy and Romania are all in favour of Ukraine receiving "immediate" candidate status.

President Volodymyr Zelensky shakes hands with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz - Getty Images
President Volodymyr Zelensky shakes hands with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz - Getty Images

04:06 AM

EU leaders offer ambiguous support to Ukraine

The leaders of Germany, France and Italy visited Kyiv on Thursday and offered the hope of EU membership to the war-torn country.

“Ukraine must win,” French President Emmanuel Macron finally said on his historic visit to Ukraine.

Mr Macron described the visit as a “message of European unity”.

Read the full story here

02:26 AM

Ben Wallace: West must stop Ukraine having ‘gun put to its head

The West must protect Ukraine from having a “gun put to its head” by Moscow in peace talks, Britain warned on Thursday, as the leaders of France, Germany and Italy visited the war-torn country for the first time since Russia invaded.

Emmanuel Macron has claimed that France will be a “mediating power” in future negotiations but there are fears in Ukraine that the three visiting leaders will pressure Kyiv to agree to a quick and unjust peace deal to protect their economies.

“We stand with the Ukrainians without ambiguity. Ukraine must resist and win,” the French president said in an attempt to draw a line under criticism he has faced for warning Moscow could not be “humiliated” in defeat.

Speaking at a meeting of Nato defence ministers in Brussels, Ben Wallace said it was for Ukraine to choose “the manner and level of its negotiations” and it was vital that it did so from a position of strength.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and French President Emmanuel Macron shake hands and hug after a press conference - Getty Images
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and French President Emmanuel Macron shake hands and hug after a press conference - Getty Images

Read the full story here

01:41 AM

Hundreds of Ukrainian refugees left homeless

At least 660 Ukrainian families have been left homeless in England after arriving on visas designed to secure them a place to live following the Russian invasion, official figures have shown.

Since the end of February, at least 480 Ukrainian families with children and 180 single adults have applied to councils for help with homelessness.

They were left without a place to live after the relationship or accommodation arrangement with their UK hosts broke down, or the British home was judged unsuitable.

Two-thirds of those made homeless were on the Government’s family scheme where they had a relative in the UK. The remainder were on the Homes for Ukraine programme, where they were due to have been hosted by British families.

Ukrainian refugees are introduced to their host families in the UK
Ukrainian refugees are introduced to their host families in the UK

Read the full story here

01:35 AM

British companies could help rebuild destroyed Kyiv

UK companies could help rebuild key infrastructure in Kyiv with Britain to welcome representatives from Ukraine and business leaders on Friday to discuss the plan.

Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan will seek to promote collaboration between British companies in infrastructure, energy and transport, and Ukrainian public and private organisations to help repair damaged and destroyed infrastructure.

Ms Trevelyan is also set to announce changes to trade remedy measures, including reallocating ring-fenced market access for steel imports from Russia and Belarus to other countries including Ukraine.

The support provided on Friday will form part of a UK commitment to provide a combined economic, humanitarian and military support package worth around £2 billion.

Local residents wait for humanitarian aid next to destroyed houses along a street in the town of Bucha, northwest of the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv - AFP
Local residents wait for humanitarian aid next to destroyed houses along a street in the town of Bucha, northwest of the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv - AFP

12:44 AM

Today's top stories

  • Russia has already "strategically lost" the war in Ukraine, the head of the UK's armed forces said

  • Ben Wallace has warned that the West must protect Ukraine from having a “gun put to its head” by Moscow in peace talks, as the leaders of France, Germany and Italy visited the war-torn country for the first time since Russia invaded

  • At least 660 Ukrainian families have been left homeless in England after arriving on visas designed to secure them a place to live following the Russian invasion

  • French President Emmanuel Macron said that all four European Union leaders present in Kyiv supported the idea of granting an "immediate" EU candidate status to Ukraine

  • Nato will send more combat troops and weapons to eastern Europe in response to Russian aggression in Ukraine, following a meeting of alliance defence ministers

  • Russia was accused of ‘abducting’ 2,000 vulnerable Ukrainian children and facilitating forced adoptions of them in Russia, as the UK announced fresh sanctions against those believed to be involved

  • Russian forces have been severely depleted in their attempt to seize control of the strategically key city of Severodonetsk, according to local officials and Western intelligence