Monday briefing: US urges China to stay out of war |
Headlines: Ukraine sees signs of hope in talks
Hello everybody. I’m Martin Farrer and these are the best stories this morning.
Diplomatic efforts to end the war in Ukraine are intensifying, with talks between the Kyiv government and Russia due to resume today. The talks come after a deadly Russian missile attack on a Ukrainian military base near the Polish border heightened fears of an escalation in the conflict and shelling resumed in Kiev this morning. Although the Biden administration has again rejected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s calls for a NATO-imposed no-fly zone, its negotiators believe there is hope that Russia “starts to talk constructively “. In another diplomatic move today, the United States and China will meet as Beijing could supply arms to Putin’s war machine. Jake Sullivan, the US national security adviser, will meet his Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi, in the Italian capital amid reports that Russia has asked China for weapons to bolster its faltering invasion of Ukraine.
The human cost of the war was highlighted yesterday as Ukraine announced that at least 1,300 of its soldiers had been killed so far. The horrors of the conflict were described by Ukrainians who managed to flee west, blaming the Russians for shooting people in the streets as they advanced through towns and villages. Tributes were paid to American journalist Brent Renaud, killed in Ukraine, apparently by Russian fire. The Kremlin has reportedly urged Russian media to use clips of US Fox News host Tucker Carlson in their broadcasts as he criticized the US response to the war.
The United States faces a standoff with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates over their refusal to pump more oil and lower prices to ease pressure on Western economies. Brent is down 3% at $109.37 this morning. A Russian default on its debts after Western sanctions is not “unlikely” but would not trigger a global financial crisis, the head of the International Monetary Fund has said. You can follow all the developments of the day in Ukraine on our live blog and keep up to date with what we know so far.
Refugee Delays – British families trying to help their Ukrainian relatives get to safety in the UK have expressed frustration over continued bureaucratic delays, despite government promises to cut red tape on the family reunification scheme. A woman stuck in Budapest with her elderly parents said it was a ‘humiliating process’. Another refugee problem is brewing as Belarus pushes asylum seekers from the Middle East into Ukraine, according to residents of Belarusian camps. Refugees have found themselves trapped in Belarus after they were promised passage to the EU to cross the border last year.
Covid Alert- Ministers have been accused of ‘turning off the headlights at the first sign of dawn’ after abandoning national Covid monitoring programs, with scientists saying it will almost certainly end up costing more money in the long run. It comes as a growing number of new infections in several countries has led an expert to spark speculation that Europe could be at the start of a sixth wave of Covid infections, partly driven by the ‘stealth’ variant ” BA.2 Omicron. The Chinese government has responded to a sharp rise in coronavirus infections by shutting down Shenzhen, a huge city of 17.5 million people. It has been two years since the coronavirus hit the United States, killing nearly a million people. But given the cost, is the country ready for a new pandemic?
Every dog in his day – The Power of the Dog, Jane Campion’s Western starring Benedict Cumberbatch as a rancher in 1920s Montana, won Best Picture and Best Director at the Baftas in London. Will Smith won Best Actor for King Richard and Best Actress went to Joanna Scanlan for After Love. The Guardian documentary The Black Cop, about a former Metropolitan Police officer who explores his memories of homophobia, racial profiling and racial harassment, won the Bafta for best short film. Climate protesters tried to disrupt the proceedings, but Rebel Wilson ruffled enough feathers with a series of obscene jokes and Shirley Bassey, 85, opened the show singing Diamonds Are Forever to mark 60 years of Bond films. And you can check out the red carpet frills and fluff here.
Inflationary crisis – The UK’s poorest households could see their cost of living soar by up to 10% by autumn if the Russian invasion of Ukraine leads to protracted conflict, the think tank has warned. the Resolution Foundation. Rising food and energy prices could push inflation above 8% in the fall, it warns, hitting poorer families disproportionately. Tenants could see a big rise in rent and bills, with research showing typical costs are set to rise by £1,000 this year.
Light point – The UK’s first solar farm owned by a health board and linked directly to a hospital has exceeded expectations by providing all the electricity needed to run the site on certain days. Bosses had hoped the South West Wales farm would supply Morriston Hospital in Swansea with a fifth of its energy, but it provided enough energy over a 50-hour period to meet 100 per cent of demands for the hospital.
Today Podcast in the spotlight
If confirmed by the US Senate, Ketanji Brown Jackson will be the first black woman to serve on the nation’s highest court. New York University law professor Melissa Murray explains the significance of Jackson’s nomination.
Lunchtime read: “I’ll Never Grow Up” – Lisa McGee
Lisa McGee wowed the world with her sitcom Derry Girls, but now she’s tackling poverty in a stand-up series for the BBC called Skint. She tells Zoe Williams about the childhood that inspired her, the breaks that brought her to television – and the barriers that keep so many from doing so.
Thomas Tuchel has said he won’t give up until the end of the season after Chelsea put their uncertain situation aside and beat Newcastle United with a brilliant goal from Kai Havertz. Andriy Yarmolenko broke down in tears after putting West Ham on the way to a 2-1 victory over Aston Villa. Chelsea were able to do the right thing in their pursuit of Arsenal in the WSL, thanks to a 92nd-minute goal from talismanic Sam Kerr. Eddie Jones believes England can exploit the pressure against Grand Slam-chasing France at the weekend, insisting his side have already found the winning formula against the Blues. Jones wondered why Ireland weren’t given a yellow card due to England dominating the scrum in his side’s 32-15 loss, but believes the valiant defeat – during which they played 78 minutes with 14 men – could be the fulfillment of their 2023 World Cup campaign.
Emma Raducanu’s time at Indian Wells came to an end yesterday as she was beaten 6-7(3), 6-4, 7-5 by Petra Martic of Croatia in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open. And Joe Root’s continuation as England Test captain may be partly down to a lack of alternatives, but interim head coach Paul Collingwood has spoken of a ‘real unity’ in progress of training under the Yorkshireman. England women are in action in the World Cup and South Africa are chasing 236 wins. You can follow the action here.
BrewDog boss James Watt has hired private investigators to obtain information about people he believes were involved in a smear campaign against him. According to multiple sources, investigators approached people to gather evidence about those he believed had slandered him. Brewer says investigators have been hired to find the source of false allegations regarding Watt and that as a result of those investigations, his lawyers are “pursuing a private criminal prosecution for fraud and malicious communications.” In markets, stocks in China and Hong Kong are down sharply on Covid concerns, but FTSE100 futures are up 0.24%. The pound is down at $1.301 and €1.193.
The Russian missile attack on Yavoriv and the implied threat to NATO is the main topic of most newspapers. “Russia escalates war in Ukraine with attack near NATO border,” says the Guardianand the FT a “Russian strike on base in western Ukraine sends warning signal to NATO”. “The war reaches the border of NATO” says the Timesand the Telegraph goes for “US Warns Putin as He Wages War in the West”. the I leads with “Putin’s strikes bring war to NATO’s doorstep”, while the shimmer has a picture of the Russian leader and the caption “The west in its sights…”. the Sun a “Putin blitz on the NATO border”. the Mail says “Putin’s deadly warning to the west” and the Express goes hand in hand with “Putin’s missile strike brings war to the NATO border”. There is an interesting angle in the Scottishwhich reports “Farmers warn Ukraine crisis and inflation could lead to food shortages”.
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