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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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Putin has turned Russia into ‘an organisation rather more akin to a gangster group or a mafia outfit’, says Tory MP

Vladimir Putin has turned Russia into “an organisation rather more akin to a gangster group or a mafia outfit”, a senior Conservative has said.

Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he wants to see a tribunal modelled on the Nuremberg trials after the Second World War to hold the Russian leader and his associates to account.

He said this would be a “step further” than the investigation announced by the International Criminal Court (ICC), which he said would focus on war crimes.

“What we’re seeing in Ukraine today is not just the result of a crime but actually of an entire conspiracy,” he said.

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Boris Johnson U-turn to speed up sanctions on Russian elite

In case you missed it

Boris Johnson has backed down on plans to allow Russian oligarchs 18 months to register ownership of luxury properties in the UK, slashing the proposed “grace period” to six months.

And he announced plans to streamline the process of sanctioning individuals with links to Vladimir Putin, by removing the legal requirement for government lawyers to show that measures are “appropriate” before implementing them.

But the changes fall well short of demands from Labour, who had called for a maximum 28-day delay before registers must be updated to identify the true owner of a property rather than a shell company.

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PM thinks Putin will ‘double down’ on Ukraine invasion

Boris Johnson believes Vladimir Putin intends to “double down” on his invasion of Ukraine, as the Russian president envisages “no way out” but to “continue with the destruction”.

In an interview with foreign newspapers, the prime minister described the moment he was woken in the middle of the night to the news of Russian shelling of a nuclear power station in Ukraine, saying European security is “equally jeopardised” by such an attack.

“I was woken because poor Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky was extremely concerned about what was happening at the nuclear power plant Zaporizhzhia,” he said.

“He rang me to say something that I agreed with profoundly, which is: an attack on a nuclear power plant or an explosion at a nuclear power plant are clearly a matter of our common European health and safety.

“Our security is equally involved, equally jeopardised by such an attack. We remember what happened with Chernobyl, the radioactive clouds spread over the whole continent, and indeed, also to North America, as far as I can remember.

The prime minister added that Mr Putin had “misunderstood the character of the Ukrainians and of their resolve, and he underestimated President Zelensky as well, he’s been extraordinary.”

He said: “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.”

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