Putin tells Macron he ‘wants to seize whole of Ukraine’

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Your evening briefing from The Telegraph

Your evening briefing from The Telegraph

Vladimir Putin has told Emmanuel Macron he wants to “seize the whole of Ukraine” during a call between the two presidents.

“The expectation of the president is that the worst is to come, given what President Putin told him,” a senior aide to the French leader told reporters on condition of anonymity.

Russian airstrikes on two schools in the Ukrainian city of Chernihiv have killed nine people and left four others injured, local authorities have said.

Roland Oliphant analyses how the relentless bombardments of residential districts shows the Russian president lifting tactics straight out of the Syria playbook.

Russian amphibious assault ships in the Black Sea were poised for a possible attack near Odesa this morning in a move which could open up a corridor to Kyiv from the south.

Yet the 40 mile-long Russian army convoy threatening Kyiv could be stuck in the mud. Experts explain why here.

Kherson’s local government has been accused of giving up too easily after it became the first major Ukrainian city to fall to the Russian army a week into Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Yet voice recordings of frontline soldiers obtained by a British intelligence company suggest that Russian troops are “operating in complete disarray”, their morale sapped and “crying in combat”.

Some soldiers have accused Putin of using them as “meat shields” and lying to them about their mission, in videos posted online by the Ukrainian Security Service. In other developments:

EU army

Emmanuel Macron has said the European Union must move towards the creation of an EU army after Putin’s invasion.

The French president said EU leaders would meet to discuss plans to pool military resources on March 10 at a summit in Versailles.

In Britain, a foreign minister said he is not ruling out cancelling the British citizenship of Putin allies living in the UK.

Tory frontbencher Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon told the House of Lords that the Government is “looking at the full picture”.

The NHS has been ordered by the Health Secretary to stop using energy supplied by the Russian-owned firm Gazprom.

German authorities have reportedly seized a $600m (£448m) yacht belonging to Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, while France has impounded a yacht belonging to Igor Sechin, the Rosneft chief, amid an escalating crackdown on oligarchs.

How to help

Amid the growing humanitarian crisis, it is easy to feel helpless as millions suffer in Ukraine.

However there are some of the practical ways Britons can help those caught up in the conflict.

Read for free this guide to where to take donations to help refugees and those on the front line.

As Jill Biden customises her dress with yellow blooms, read why everyone is planting sunflowers for Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Irish food producer Finnebrogue, owner of the Better Naked brand, has renamed its plant-based Chicken Kiev dish as Kyivs.

William Sitwell tells all on the dish’s history and explains why supermarkets should show solidarity.

Invasion of Ukraine: Comment and analysis

Thursday big-read

The forgotten story of Britain’s nuclear bunkers

Despite being decommissioned in 1992, the Kelvedon Hatch bunker remains as serviceable as ever

Despite being decommissioned in 1992, the Kelvedon Hatch bunker remains as serviceable as ever

As fears over Putin’s intentions grow, Guy Kelly and Sarah Newey examine how eyes are once again turning to the network of underground shelters built in the Cold War

Read the full story

Evening briefing: Today’s other essential headlines

Gavin Williamson knighted | Former education secretary Gavin Williamson has been given a knighthood, Downing Street said. Mr Williamson was widely criticised for the handling of his departmental responsibilities during the coronavirus pandemic, including online GCSE and A-level examinations chaos. Read on for details.

Around the world: Epstein ‘was factor in Gates divorce’

Bill Gates continued to meet with Jeffrey Epstein despite warnings that the financier was “evil and abhorrent,” Melinda French Gates has revealed, in her first interview since their divorce. Ms French Gates said that Bill’s relationship with the convicted paedophile was one of the contributing factors in their divorce, adding that she met Epstein once and had nightmares afterwards. Ms French Gates said she met with Epstein because she “wanted to see who this man was”. Read more.

Sport briefing: Chelsea an ‘opportunity like no other’

Marina Granovskaia, dubbed the most powerful woman in football, is facing a dilemma over her Chelsea future after Roman Abramovich put the club up for sale. The Telegraph understands that groups interested in buying Chelsea would be open to the prospect of Granovskaia staying on under their ownership if she could cut her professional ties with Abramovich, which date back 20 years. Tom Morgan analyses why the chance to buy Chelsea is an opportunity like no other – and the Saudis must be kicking themselves. Meanwhile, Edwin Moses, the great American hurdler, does not hide his dismay with the sporting authorities for pandering to Russia, outlining why “sport is better off without them”.

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Business briefing: Legal elite face scrutiny over Russia

In Harper Lee’s ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’, Atticus Finch describes the law as the great leveller of civilisation. To the most famous lawyer in literature, the court room is the “one human institution that makes a pauper the equal of a Rockefeller, the stupid man the equal of an Einstein, and the ignorant man the equal of any college president.” Yet according to MPs, academics and transparency campaigners, a growing trend of “lawfare” in Britain risks turning this principle on its head. Matt Oliver examines how London’s top lawyers ushered a flood of Russian cash into Britain. Meanwhile, Russian planes and rockets risk being grounded within days after its airlines and space programme were shut out of the crucial Lloyd’s of London insurance market.

Tonight starts now

Henry V, review | Game of Thrones star Kit Harington echoes Volodymyr Zelensky as real life upstages art in this Donmar Warehouse production. The world we’re in now brings a grim contemporaneity to Shakespeare’s war play; we’re thinking not just about beleaguered Ukrainians but what may yet be demanded of us. Dominic Cavendish reviews how Harrington is in his element as a playboy-turned-king.

Three things for you

And finally… for this evening’s downtime

Servant of the People, review | Before he grew into a global statesman and war leader, Volodymyr Zelensky was a comic actor, satirising what is now his job. As Channel 4 prepares to air the comedy that made him famous on Sunday, Chris Bennion reviews the programme that predicted Ukrainian president’s destiny.

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