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Boris Johnson latest news: War could last years but may be beginning of end for Russian president, Liz truss says

Boris Johnson speaks Russian in address to its citizens amid Ukraine’s invasion

Foreign secretary Liz Truss has warned that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine could last for number of years, but hinted it could mark the “beginning of the end” for President Putin.

Speaking on Sky News this morning, she applauded the bravery of Ukrainian forces as they continue to resit the Russian military at a level “unexpected” by Moscow.

She said: “We know Russia has strong forces but the Ukrainians are brave…they are determined to protect and fight”

“This could be the beginning of the end for Putin,” she said.

Meanwhile, the foreign office is drawing up a “hit list” of Russian oligarchs it will hit with sanctions every few weeks, Ms Truss has said.

In an interview withThe Sunday Times, the foreign secretary said the government would “make it deeply painful” for the hundreds of oligarchs living in the UK “that support the Putin regime.”

“Nothing is off the table in terms of who or what we are targeting. We are very clear about that – we are very prepared to do what it takes.”

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Ukraine war: Snake Island soldiers who told Russian warship ‘go f**k yourself’ might still be alive

A group of Ukrainian soldiers thought to have died while defending a small island in the Black Sea after telling a Russian warship “go f**k yourself” might still be alive, officials have said.

An earlier statement by Ukraine suggested they were then killed by air and sea strikes – which Russia denied, saying the troops surrendered. Ukraine’s interior ministry said the audio recording was authentic, adding that the presumed-dead soldiers would be given military honours.

However, on Saturday the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine (SBGSU) said: “We [have a] strong belief that all Ukrainian defenders of Zmiinyi (Snake) Island may be alive.

“Preliminary information that border guards may be dead came before the defenders lost contact.

“We sincerely hope that the boys will return home as soon as possible. Glory to Ukrainian defenders!”

My colleague Matt Mathers has more:

Emily Atkinson27 February 2022 10:57

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Sadiq Khan calls on government to provide safe routes for Ukrainians seeking sanctuary in UK

London’s mayor has condemned the UK government for not waiving visa restrictions for Ukrainians fleeing the Russian conflict.

Tweeting today, Sadiq Khan said: “Let’s be absolutely clear: Ukrainian civilians looking for refuge should not be filling out complicated visa applications when they are fleeing a war zone.

“London has a long history of giving asylum to those in need.

“The government must urgently provide safe routes for sanctuary.”

Emily Atkinson27 February 2022 10:50

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Watch: Liz Truss says there will be ‘economic cost’ from the sanctions placed on Russia

Liz Truss says there will be ‘economic cost’ from the sanctions placed on Russia

Emily Atkinson27 February 2022 10:29

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Liz Truss says UK ‘urgently’ considering what more can be done to facilitate Ukrainian refugees

The government is “urgently” looking at what more it can do to enable refugees fleeing the conflict in Ukraine to come to the UK, Liz Truss has said.

It follows ferocious criticism over the Home Office’s failure so far to relax the visa requirements for Ukrainian nationals.

Ms Truss told the BBC’s Sunday Morning programme: “It is a desperate situation.

“Of course, Britain has always welcomed refugees fleeing from war and we are urgently looking at what more we can do to facilitate that.”

Ms Truss said the UK and other Western allies would continue to impose fresh sanctions on Moscow.

“We need to stop Putin’s ambitions in Ukraine. There are dire consequences if we don’t for freedom and democracy across Europe,” she said.

“We will continue to tighten the ratchet on Vladimir Putin, to tighten the ratchet on the economy.”

Emily Atkinson27 February 2022 10:23

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Putin ‘not achieving what he wanted’, says Vadym Prystaiko

President Putin is “not achieving what he wanted”, Ukraine’s ambassador to the UK has said.

Asked if he is concerned that the severity of Putin’s tactics will ramp up, Mr Prystaiko told BBC’s Sunday Morning programme: “Obviously we do, because he’s not achieving what he wanted.”

He said it took “too long” for many nations to respond with sanctions, adding that what Germany is now offering “might not be enough” or “too late”.

Emily Atkinson27 February 2022 10:14

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Non-neighbouring nations will be asked to help financially with evacuation efforts from Ukraine

Neighbouring nations to Ukraine have “opened up their hearts and homes” to receive as many Ukrainians as possible, its ambassador to the UK Vadym Prystaiko has said.

“That’s easier for immediate evacuation,” he told BBC’s Sunday Morning programme.

He said nations further away will be asked to financially help smaller nations in their efforts.

Emily Atkinson27 February 2022 10:11

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Liz Truss ‘absolutely’ supports individual Brits going to fight in Ukraine

Foreign secretary Liz Truss has said she would “absolutely” support individual Brits going to fight Russian forces in Ukraine.

It comes after the Ukrainian leader, Volodymyr Zelensky, called on the country’s international “friends” to help them fight in the conflict.

“Every friend of Ukraine who wants to join Ukraine in defending the country please come over, we will give you weapons,” he said.

Asked whether she would support the call, Ms Truss told the BBC’s Sunday Morning programme: “I do support that. Of course that is something that people can make their own decisions about.

“The people of Ukraine are fighting for freedom and democracy — not just for Ukraine, but for the whole of Europe because that is what president Putin is challenging”.

Our political correspondent Ashley Cowburn reports:

Emily Atkinson27 February 2022 10:08

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Ukraine to hold out for ‘as long as needed’, says its UK ambassador

Ukraine’s ambassador to the UK Vadym Prystaiko said he believes his country will hold out out for “as long as needed”.

He told BBC’s Sunday Morning programme with Sophie Raworth: “We’re holding. It’s been just four days. I believe that we’ll hold as long as needed.”

He said “we have friends, we have support”, adding that he believes Russia has “miscalculated”.

Mr Prystaiko said: “They came with 150,000 troops. It’s totally not enough.”

He said Russia believed Ukraine would be an “easy target”, adding that that is not the case.

“The whole nation is against them,” he said.

Emily Atkinson27 February 2022 10:01

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UK should impose sanctions on more Russian banks – Lammy

Shadow foreign secretary David Lammy has said more major Russian banks should be included within the UK’s sanctions on the country.

Speaking to Sky News, he said: “There should be more banks listed. We can’t understand why it’s still the case that there are major Russian banks that are not subject to sanctions.

“We’ve raised issues about the sectors including insurance to be included. It should not be possible for Vladimir Putin to effectively de-risk his war escapade in Ukraine.

“We’re concerned about family members of some of those oligarchs. There are names on the US list that are not on the UK list.

“Why aren’t we banning the export of luxury goods? Those are the issues that were raising this morning and that we will scrutinise with the Government when they bring forward their further plans for sanctions in Parliament tomorrow.”

Emily Atkinson27 February 2022 09:50

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Visa restrictions on Ukrainians ‘totally unacceptable, says David Lammy

The Home Office’s visa restrictions for those seeking sanctuary in the UK from Ukraine are “totally unacceptable”, shadow foreign secretary David Lammy has said.

Speaking to Sky News on Sunday, he said it is “bureaucratic” with a “lot of red tape”.

Mr Lammy went on: “It’s insisting that people demonstrate salaries, that they have family ties in this country.

“People are fleeing with their children in their arms. Why would you ask people how rich they are to enter our country? Of course, there are some people who may not have family ties, but want to come into this country.

“No, we should have a scheme and a process similar to the scheme that we had after the Balkans. That’s as generous as the schemes that we’ve had in the past, when we allowed people to flee Idi Amin from Uganda, when we allowed people to flee Cyprus, when we allowed the Vietnamese boat people to enter our country.

“That’s the sort of generosity that the British people expect. Frankly, suggesting that people should use this scheme that effectively fruit pickers come to this country on is totally, totally unacceptable.”

Emily Atkinson27 February 2022 09:41

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