World

Boris Johnson latest news: Russia blames Liz Truss for Putin’s nuclear order

Armed forces minister says people shouldn’t travel to Ukraine to fight

Vladimir Putin placed nuclear deterrence forces on high alert after comments made by Liz Truss, a Kremlin spokesman said today.

Dmitry Peskov said that “unacceptable” statements were made “by various representatives at various levels”, and singled out the foreign secretary.

On Sunday Mr Putin said his nuclear order was due to “aggressive statements” by Nato countries and economic sanctions placed on Russia.

In response Boris Johnson said the escalation was a “distraction” from the failures of the Russian president’s army to breakthrough in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Labour has criticised new immigration rules brought in to help Ukrainians seeking refuge in the UK, calling them “shameful”.

The relaxation of immigration rules comes after the government faced intense criticism over failing to relax the visa requirements for Ukrainian nationals earlier this week.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper at first said it was a “welcome first step forward”, but when further guidance was later released by the Home Office on Sunday night was critical that the rules did not apply to the “wider family”.

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Russian boats should not be allowed to dock at UK ports, says Shapps

UK ports should refuse access to Russian boats, transport secretary Grant Shapps said as Nicola Sturgeon raised concern over a Russian oil tanker due to dock in Orkney tomorrow.

Mr Shapps has written to all UK ports telling them not to provide access to any ship believed to be registered in Russia, flying the Russian flag or owned, controlled, chartered or operated by “any person connected with Russia”.

He added that the government will try to pass legislation prohibiting their arrival.

Scotland’s first minister previously said she does not want a Russian-owned oil tanker to dock in Orkney on Tuesday as planned, and was working with the UK government to “find a way of stopping that happening”.

The NS Champion tanker belongs to shipping company Sovcomflot, a firm that is majority owned by the Russian state, and Orkney Islands Council has said it is powerless to prevent it docking.

It was not immediately clear what Mr Shapps’s announcement would mean for the tanker’s plans.

Liam James28 February 2022 17:30

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Truss warns Russian officials could face ‘war crimes’ investigation

Foreign secretary Liz Truss has again warned those close to Vladimir Putin they could face questions about potential “war crimes” in future.

Asked if she was worried about possibility of indiscriminate attacks on civilians in Ukraine – and the potential use of incendiary munitions and chemical weapons by Russia – Ms Truss said: “That is the type of action we are seeing being contemplated.”

She added: “Everybody involved – including Putin’s advisers and generals and advisers – that the ICC is already looking at this, they are already looking at potential war crimes, and we are urging a full investigation to take place.”

Ms Truss yesterday said the use of chemical and nuclear weapons would be “an extremely serious escalation of the situation” and warned that senior Russian officials could be tried for war crimes in the instance of their use.

The foreign secretary said the Russian invasion was “illegal and unprovoked”.

Liam James28 February 2022 17:15

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Liz Truss reveals new sanctions to hit all Russian banks and ‘cut off’ Putin from global economy

Foreign secretary Liz Truss has revealed plans to extend UK sanctions aimed at hitting banks in Russia, as she vowed to “cut off” Vladimir Putin’s government from the global economy.

Ms Truss said new emergency legislation would allow full asset freeze on “all Russian banks” withing days, saying she wanted to see the “complete degradation” of the Russian economy after the invasion of Ukraine.

The foreign secretary said she was bringing forward legislation to prevent Russian banks clearing payments in Sterling, which would be applied to Sberbank, the country’s largest bank.

She also said full asset freezes would be imposed on the VEB, Sovcombank and Otkritiye banks – adding: “We will bring in a full asset freeze on all Russian banks in days, looking to coordinate with our allies.”

Ms Truss also vowed to keep working through a “hitlist” of oligarchs in the UK – saying she would “focus on their houses, their yachts and every aspect of their lives”.

Liam James28 February 2022 17:00

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Foreign Office advises against travel to Russia

The Foreign Office has advised UK residents against travel to Russia as they may not be able to get a return flight and the Russian economy is in crisis.

In an update to its travel advice, the Foreign Office said it “advises against all travel to the whole of Russia due to the lack of available flight options to return to the UK, and the increased volatility in the Russian economy.”

Britain has banned Russia’s national airline Aeroflot from landing in the UK. Russia has banned UK airlines from landing on its territory and flying in its airspace.

Sanctions from western allies, and some in the East, have targeted Russian banks and financial operations.

Liam James28 February 2022 16:41

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UK government expects Brexit trade deal with New Zealand to hurt British farmers

The government expects its newly signed New Zealand trade deal to damage the UK’s farming industry, according to its own impact assessment.

Figures released on Monday show officials expect agriculture and other food related sectors to take a roughly £150 million hit from the new agreement.

The official impact assessment describes the change sparked by the deal as a “reallocation of resources within the economy” and a “process of economic adjustment”.

Ministers were accused of “selling British farmers down the river” but the trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said the deal “will slash red tape”.

The agreement will result in the scrapping of tariffs on many agricultural products coming from New Zealand and UK farmers have said it could drive them out of business.

Jon Stone28 February 2022 16:15

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Minister declines to apologise for Ukrainian ‘fruit picking’ tweet

Home Office minister Kevin Foster declines to apologise for a tweet suggesting the seasonal worker scheme – for jobs such as fruit and veg picking – was a route for Ukrainian people to flee war.

Labour shadow minister Stephen Kinnock criticised Mr Foster’s now-deleted tweet as “the modern-day equivalent of let them eat cake” and asked for him to “unconditionally apologise”.

But Mr Foster did not directly respond to the request for an apology.

Joe Middleton28 February 2022 15:56

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Priti Patel refuses to waive visa rules for Ukrainian refugees on ‘security advice’

Priti Patel has refused to copy the EU by waiving visa rules for fleeing Ukrainian refugees, insisting it would undermine “the strongest security advice”.

A fellow cabinet minister had hinted a rethink was on the way – after strict limits even on bringing in the family members of Ukrainians already in the UK were attacked as “shameful”.

But the home secretary ruled out waiving visas, telling MPs: “The approach we are taking is based on the strongest security advice.”

Joe Middleton28 February 2022 15:47

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Additional 100,000 Ukrainians will be able to come to Britain, says Patel

Priti Patel this afternoon said that 100,000 Ukrainians fleeing their country due to war will be able to come to the UK.

However the home secretary said she will not agree to waive visas for Ukrainians due to security checks.

She told MPs: “Through this extension alone I can confirm that an additional 100,000 Ukrainians will be able to seek sanctuary in the UK, with access to work and public services.

“We are enabling Ukrainian nationals already in the UK, giving them the ability to switch free of charge into a points-based immigration route or through the family visa route.

“We are extending visas for (Ukraine) temporary workers in some sectors and they can now stay until at least December 2022.”

The home secretary also told MPs: “Putin’s war on Ukraine is monstrous and unjustified.”

Joe Middleton28 February 2022 15:43

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Failure to accept Ukrainians would be ‘embarrassing’, says Sturgeon

Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon has said the failure to visa requirements for Ukrainians seeking refuge could be “embarrassing” to the UK government.

The UK government says those with immediate family in Britain would be able to seek refuge.

Brothers and sisters, the parents of people over 18, and adult children are among those not included in the “concessions” announced by the government on Sunday night.

The SNP leader said the current position was “woefully inadequate” and called on Boris Johnson allow anyone fleeing the Russian invasion to come to the UK.

Sturgeon said the UK should “follow the example” of the EU and have a situation and effectively allow entry to the UK with no visa requirements “and the paperwork can be sorted later on”.

Joe Middleton28 February 2022 15:30

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PM praises bravery of Ukrainian troops in phone call with President Zelensky

Boris Johnson has today spoken to Ukrainian President Zelensky and commended the bravery of Ukrainian troops.

Mr Johnson updated Mr Zelensky on the military support being sent by the UK in the conflict against Russia.

A Downing Street spokesperson:“The Prime Minister spoke to Ukrainian President Zelenskyy this afternoon. “The President updated the Prime Minister on the Ukrainian resistance to the ongoing Russian invasion. The Prime Minister commended his bravery and that of the Ukrainian people. “The leaders categorically condemned the barbaric airstrikes being carried out by Russia against innocent civilians, including children. “The Prime Minister updated President Zelenskyy on UK military support being sent to Ukraine, and committed to sending more in the coming hours and days.”

Joe Middleton28 February 2022 15:22

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