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Boris Johnson news – live: PM says Putin will ‘double down’ on invasion, as Brits told to leave Russia

Live updates from Westminster

Zelensky attacks Nato in nighttime address: 'People will die because of you'

Boris Johnson has said that Russian president Vladimir Putin will “double down” on his invasion of Ukraine and “continue with the destruction”.

The prime minister said Western nations needed to respond to Mr Putin’s aggression with an “intensified package” and thanked European neighbours for “delivering support for the Ukrainians and support for the Ukrainian right to self-defence.”

It comes as Russia announced a ceasefire in two cities in Ukraine to allow residents to evacuate.

In an interview with foreign newspapers, Mr Johnson added: “Putin also underestimated Western unity, and the governments of all the countries represented around this table have really worked together, very effectively, to produce a package of economic sanctions that has had a very considerable effect on Russia.”

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky made clear in a late-night address on Friday that he felt the West needed to do more to defend Ukraine, criticising Nato for its refusal to impose a no-fly zone.

Meanwhile, British nationals in Russia whose presence is “not essential” have been told to consider leaving the country, updated travel advice on the Foreign Office website said today.

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British nationals told to leave Russia

British nationals in Russia whose presence is “not essential” have been told to consider leaving the country.

Travel advice on the Foreign Office website on Saturday said it had been “updated to advise British nationals whose presence in Russia is not essential to consider leaving by remaining commercial routes”.

The department said it may not be possible to fly directly to the UK, or via EU countries, but that travelling via the Middle East or Turkey may be possible.

Previously, the advice had been that those outside Russia should not travel to the country.

The Foreign Office pointed towards “the increased volatility in the Russian economy” as one of the reasons Britons should not go to the country.

A post on the Foreign Office website said: “If your presence in Russia is not essential, we strongly advise that you consider leaving by remaining commercial routes.”

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British army vehicles seen in Estonia as UK bolsters Nato ally forces

British army vehicles seen in Estonia as UK bolsters Nato ally forces
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Ukraine ceasefire ‘welcome’ but only a ‘small step’, says Tory MP

The reported temporary ceasefire in Ukraine is welcome but it is only a “small step”, economic secretary to the Treasury John Glen has said.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Mr Glen said: “The events that are going on in Ukraine are appalling and this is obviously an illegal war that Putin is prosecuting.

“But this is welcome, anything that can assist the people of Ukraine the Government will support.

“But (the) big picture is that Putin’s aggression shows little signs of abating and the humanitarian crises that are unfolding are appalling and they are entirely his responsibility.

“The number of cities that are apparently under threat remain high and the level of the aggression and the nature of the shelling is becoming more and more desperate and indiscriminate as each day goes by.”

Get the latest on the Ukraine situation by following our live blog below:

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Putin’s ‘character’ demonstrated by Novichok attack, says Tory MP

The Novichok attack on Salisbury four years ago showed the character of Vladimir Putin, the city’s MP has said.

John Glen, who is also the economic secretary to the Treasury, said the invasion of Ukraine was of an “utterly different scale and the humanitarian crisis, the loss of civilian life, is of a completely different scale”.

He added: “But in terms of the character of the man, clearly that was demonstrated in what he did to my constituents, the destruction he brought to our way of life here in Salisbury.

“But where we are now in the Ukraine is just another manifestation of somebody who is beyond democratic accountability and is prosecuting an illegal war that is going to greatly damage both his people, the economy of Russia, but also the people of the Ukraine’s way of life.”

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Fears of ‘glaring loopholes’ in crackdown on Putin’s allies sending children to UK private schools

A pledge to stop Vladimir Putin’s allies sending children to UK private schools and universities will be undermined by “glaring loopholes” in legislation, MPs and campaigners fear.

The alarm is being raised over likely gaps in the rules that could allow sanctioned individuals to make payments through shell companies, or from places which are not imposing sanctions on Russia.

The fears come amid confusion over when the measure – promised by the government more than one week ago – is coming into force and how it will operate.

Our deputy political editor Rob Merrick reports.

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Putin is 'clearly irrational' and his actions are 'counter-productive' to Russia's interests, says Deputy PM Dominic Raab

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Putin is 'clearly irrational' and his actions are 'counter-productive' to Russia's interests, says Deputy PM Dominic Raab
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Unions call for emergency measures to support Ukraine

Unions are urging the government to take emergency financial measures to support the Ukrainian people.

In a letter to the chancellor Rishi Sunak, the TUC said he should a consider a 100% windfall tax on the profits of companies still invested in Russian state enterprises.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Trade unions condemn the illegal invasion of Ukraine. We know that working people in Ukraine, Russia and across Europe want peace. The UK Government must pursue all diplomatic efforts to achieve that goal.

“The Chancellor must use his spring statement to act, too. That means ensuring that sanctions are more effective, with funding to crack down on money laundering in the UK.

“And he should fund greater humanitarian assistance for Ukrainians, including safe passage for those fleeing the war.

“Working people in the UK will need protection from even steeper hikes in gas bills from the conflict.

“The Chancellor should introduce grants to help with energy prices, roll out an emergency programme of home insulation, and fund it with a windfall tax on excess energy profits.”

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Tory MP Desmond Swayne says new Brexit paperwork is 'monstrous'

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Tory MP Desmond Swayne says new Brexit paperwork is 'monstrous'
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‘Overall rate of Russian air and artillery strikes observed over the past 24 hours has been lower than in previous days’ - MoD

The “overall rate of Russian air and artillery strikes observed over the past 24 hours has been lower than in previous days”, according to an intelligence briefing from the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

In an update posted on Twitter on Saturday morning, the MoD said Ukraine continues to hold Kharkiv, Chernihiv and Mariupol and there have been reports of street fighting in Sumy.

“It is highly likely that all four cities are encircled by Russian forces,” the update said.

“Russian forces are probably advancing on the southern port city of Mykolaiv. There is a realistic possibility that some forces will attempt to circumvent the city to prioritise progression towards Odesa.”

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Russia says it has gone into ‘silent mode’ to allow humanitarian corridors in two Ukrainian cities

Russia has announced the start of a temporary ceasefire to allow residents of Ukraine’s Mariupol and Volnovakha cities to leave.

The country’s defence ministry said on Saturday that it went into “silent mode” and its units had stopped firing to allow humanitarian corridors to operate for residents of the two Ukrainian cities beginning 7am Saturday, reported state-run media.

“From 1000am Moscow time [0700 GMT], the Russian side declares a ceasefire and the opening of humanitarian corridors to allow civilians to leave Mariupol and Volnovakha,” the Russian ministry was quoted as saying by the country’s media.

Anuj Pant reports.

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