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Ukraine war: Boris Johnson eyes Vladimir Putin’s gold – as he compares Zelenskyy to Churchill for giving Ukraine its ‘roar’ | World News

NATO’s chief has pledged to send more weapons to Ukraine to bolster the alliance’s response to the Russian invasion – as he said it was ready to defend every inch of its territory with more troops on the ground and in the air.

Jens Stoltenberg said the 30-nation military alliance had also agreed to send equipment to Ukrainians that could help them defend themselves against Russian cyber, biological, chemical and nuclear attacks.

“There is also a risk that it (a chemical weapons attack) will have a direct effect on people living in NATO countries,” he said.

World leaders are becoming increasingly alarmed by the prospect that Russia may resort to more desperate measures and use outlawed weapons such as chemical agents which could spread across the border into a NATO member state – bringing the war to the alliance.

The NATO Secretary General said he “extraordinary” summit had taken place in the face of the “biggest threat to our security in a generation” and announced a boost in defence spending and the deployment of “four new battle groups” in Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia.

There are already around 40,000 troops spread from the Baltic to the Black Sea.

“We stand with the Ukrainian people” and “are determined to do all we can to support Ukraine, said Mr Stoltenberg, while calling on China to refrain from supporting Moscow’s war effort.

“China must not provide economic or military support for Russian invasion. Instead, Beijing should use its significant influence on Russia and promote an immediate peaceful resolution,” he said.

Ukraine war live updates: 1,000 individuals and businesses now sanctioned

Mr Zelenskyy told NATO leaders Russian forces would not stop at Ukraine – and next target alliance members in eastern Europe including Poland.

“NATO has yet to show what the alliance can do to save people,” the Ukrainian leader said in an impassioned pre-recorded video message to the summit – exactly a month on from the start of the Russian invasion.

“The alliance can still prevent the deaths of Ukrainians from Russian strikes, from Russian occupation by giving us all the weapons we need,” he added – listing fighter jets, tanks, and better air defence and anti-ship weaponry.

Other key developments:

UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss announces 65 new Russian sanctions to cut off vital industries fuelling Vladimir Putin’s war machine
Russia’s deputy UN ambassador tells Sky News – Moscow would use nuclear weapons if ‘provoked’
The UK has promised to send Ukraine 6,000 defensive missiles consisting of anti-tank and high explosive weapons
• At least 1,035 Ukrainians have died and a further 1,650 wounded in one month, according to the UN Human Rights Office
• More than 3.6 million Ukrainians have fled the war, half of them children, says UNICEF

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Russian ambassador denies war crimes

US President Biden meeting NATO, G7, and EU allies

Mr Zelenskyy has failed to get Western allies to create a no-fly zone over his country, but many countries have shown their support by imposing sanctions on Russia and donating weapons and aid to Ukraine.

A meeting of the G7 group of nations follows the NATO summit.

Then the European Council – the heads of state or government of the 27 EU member countries – will meet for talks, likely to focus on further sanctions against Moscow and ways of cutting reliance on Russian gas.

US President Joe Biden, who has pledged to avoid provoking “World War Three”, is attending all three summits.

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NATO: ‘Putin has made a huge mistake’

Boris Johnson eyes Vladimir Putin’s gold

Britain and its Western allies could “tighten the economic vice” on Moscow by targeting Vladimir Putin’s gold reserves, Boris Johnson said, as he met with Mr Biden and other NATO allies in Brussels.

Mr Johnson said President Putin had already crossed a “red line” with his “barbarism” and indiscriminate tactics against innocent civilians in Ukraine and that he should appear before the International Criminal Court.

“We need to do more,” he told LBC radio ahead of the summit. “And so we need to do more economically. Can we do more to stop him using his gold reserves for instance, in addition to his cash reserves?

“The more pressure we apply now, particularly on things like gold, that I believe the more we can shorten the war.”

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‘We’ve got to step up’, says PM

‘New sense of urgency,’ says NATO chief

Mr Stoltenberg said President Putin had made a “big mistake” and underestimated the “strength and bravery” of the Ukrainian people who with the significant support of its allies are “fighting back the invading Russian army”.

He said there is a “new sense of urgency” about Europe’s defence which is why the presence of NATO troops has been increased on the eastern flank.

NATO leaders are in Brussels for an emergency summit on the Ukraine war
Image:
NATO leaders in Brussels for an emergency summit on the Ukraine war

But he reiterated there would be no NATO troops on the ground in Ukraine or planes in the air which would increase the risk of a “fully fledged war between NATO and Russia”.

The Kremlin said most NATO member states had a “hysterical and inadequate” understanding of what is going on in Ukraine.

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Russian ship destroyed

Russian landing ship destroyed in Berdyansky, says Ukraine

Ukraine’s navy claims it has destroyed Russia’s large landing support ship Orsk, near the port city of Berdyansk.

A short Facebook statement about the ship was accompanied with photos and a video showing fire and thick plumes of smoke. Sky News has located and verified this video.

The Russian military has not commented on what happened to the ship.

Berdyansk is situated 45 miles (70km) southwest of Mariupol on the Sea of Azov. An estimated 100,000 people remain trapped in the besieged and devastated southern port city with no access to food, water, or heating.

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Drone captures Mariupol devastation

Is the tide turning for Ukraine?

There are signs Ukraine might be starting to turn the tide against the Russian troops, according to British military intelligence, with the UK’s Ministry of Defence suggesting Russian forces are depleted and “have almost certainly suffered thousands of casualties during their invasion of Ukraine”.

“Russia is likely now looking to mobilise its reservist and conscript manpower, as well as private military companies and foreign mercenaries, to replace these considerable losses,” the MoD said in its latest update. “It is unclear how these groups will integrate into the Russian ground forces in Ukraine and the impact this will have on combat effectiveness.”

Russia is moving fresh units close to the Ukrainian border, also calling up soldiers who have recently served in Syria.

US intelligence suggests Russian advances towards Kyiv city centre have stopped and Russian forces are now setting up defensive positions around 10 miles away.

Moscow is sending more military equipment to Belarus to boost its efforts to capture the capital, according to Ukraine’s defence ministry.

NATO estimates that 7,000 to 15,000 Russian troops have been killed so far in the war.

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Zelenskyy calls on world for support

Johnson compares Zelenskyy to Churchill

Earlier, Mr Johnson compared Mr Zelenskyy to Winston Churchill – who led Britain to victory during World War Two – for having given the Ukrainian people “their roar”.

Mr Johnson said the Ukrainian president “has been absolutely brilliant… a remarkable figure” in mobilising global support for his country.

“He knows, as Churchill said of himself, he may not have been the lion but he’s been privileged to give the roar. It’s the Ukrainian people who have been the lion, and he’s expressed their will and their sense of defiance,” he told LBC radio.

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President Putin’s forces – bogged down by supply problems and low morale among troops – have met an outgunned but determined resistance in the capital Kyiv and other cities.

Russia has taken just one major city, Kherson. But it has reduced others to rubble, killing civilians and forcing millions to flee for their lives.

Increasingly isolated from the rest of the world through financial sanctions, Moscow has accused Kyiv of stalling peace talks by making proposals unacceptable for Russia. Ukraine has said it is willing to negotiate but will not surrender or accept Russian ultimatums.

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