Sat. Apr 20th, 2024
Ukrainian flag in blue and yellow, wrapped over sky and grain

Good morning: an update for you today. If you want to know what I think of Johnson’s dealings yesterday, just skip straight to the end, but I do recommend you read in full. There will be no political updates over the weekend.


The citizens of Mariupol remain in a state that no human being should have to endure. Mariupol on its own is a war crime of the greatest magnitude. The US reports that about 60% of Russia’s precision guided missiles are not actually capable of being targeted accurately. Ukrainians appear to be retaking territory: of course they are, because one of the most important rules of warfare is that you should secure your rear as you move into hostile territory, and the Russian troops do not have the supply lines to do that.

In detail, the Guardian reports that:

Ukraine’s emergency services are reporting an oil depot in the village of Kalinovka in north-west Ukraine was hit by Russian shelling and caught fire overnight.

Russia and Ukraine exchanged prisoners in the first swap of soldiers since Moscow ordered troops into Ukraine one month ago, Ukraine’s vice prime minister, Iryna Vereshchuk, said writing the first “full-fledged exchange of prisoners of war took place” where 10 “captured occupiers” were exchanged for 10 Ukrainian servicemen. In a recent update published to her official Telegram channel just before midnight local time, Vereshchuk said the humanitarian hostages taken in Mangush have been released.

Ukraine accused Moscow of forcibly taking hundreds of thousands of civilians from shattered Ukrainian cities to Russia, where some may be used as “hostages” to pressure Kyiv to give up. Lyudmyla Denisova, Ukraine’s ombudsperson, said 402,000 people, including 84,000 children, have been taken against their will. The United Nations told the BBC that Ukrainians are being arbitrarily detained and subjected to enforced disappearances in Russian-controlled areas.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy shared his appearance at the EU summit where he thanked European Council members for putting sanctions on Russia but said it was “a little late”, in a video message posted to his official Facebook account.

Russian ex-president Dmitry Medvedev said it is “foolish” to believe that western sanctions against Russian businesses could have any effect on the Moscow government. The sanctions will only consolidate the Russian society and not cause popular discontent with the authorities, Medvedev told Russia’s RIA news agency in an interview.

US president, Joe Biden, will travel to a town near the Polish-Ukrainian border on Friday, in an attempt to signal western resolve. He is expected to meet with experts on the humanitarian response and US troops stationed in Poland. On Saturday, he is to meet Polish counterpart, Andrzej Duda, to discuss “the humanitarian and human rights crisis” resulting from the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The UK’s ministry of defence said Ukrainian forces have reoccupied towns and defensive positions up to 35 km east of Kyiv. In an earlier report, the ministry said Ukraine is striking “high value targets” that is forcing Russian forces to divert resources to defend their supply lines. It cited the attacks on a landing ship and ammunition storage depots at Berdyansk as examples of valuable targets. “It is likely that the Ukrainians will continue to target logistical assets in Russian-held areas. This will force the Russian military to prioritise the defence of their supply chain” and reduce ability to carry out offensive operations.

Ukrainian forces have been bolstered by the destruction of the major Russian landing ship as it brought in supplies to its troops. Dramatic pictures showed billowing fire and black smoke as the ship, docked in Berdyansk on the Azov Sea, was hit by Ukrainian ballistic missiles.

The Ukrainian defence ministry said its troops had pushed back Russian forces from some areas around the capital, Kyiv. Russian troops did not have enough resources to push ahead with their offensive in Ukraine, Oleksander Motuzyanyk, Ukraine’s defence ministry spokesperson said.

These accounts appear to be corroborated by a senior Pentagon official who said Russia is running out of precision-guided munitions and it is more likely to rely on so-called dumb bombs and artillery. Under secretary of defence for policy, Colin Kahl, said Russia is suffering failure rates as high as 60% for some of its precision-guided missiles while its forces have taken heavy casualties and are low on supplies.”

United Nations General Assembly

The United Nations General Assembly met yesterday to consider a resolution condemning Russia for its aggression and crimes against Ukraine. Almost three-quarters of the U.N. General Assembly demanded aid access and civilian protection in Ukraine on Thursday, and criticized Russia for creating a “dire” humanitarian situation after Moscow invaded its neighbour one month ago.

It is the second time the 193-member General Assembly has overwhelmingly isolated Russia over what Moscow calls a “special military operation” that is says aims to destroy Ukraine’s military infrastructure. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has blasted Russia’s “absurd war.” Thousands of people have been killed in Ukraine, millions made refugees, and cities pulverized in the past month. read more

The resolution adopted on Thursday, which was drafted by Ukraine and allies, received 140 votes in favour and five votes against – Russia, Syria, North Korean, Eritrea and Belarus – while 38 countries abstained.

Why would countries abstain?

Countries which abstained tend to fall into several blocks. There are the other powerhouses of the BRICS group – Brazil, (Russia, obviously) India, China and South Africa. By and large these countries will always take an anti-Western, anti-US and anti-EU stance. On this occasion, India, China and South Africa all abstained: Brazil voted with the majority.

Then there’s the African block. Algeria, Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Central African Republic, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Sudan, Togo, Uganda, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. These are countries that by and large would prefer not to offend Russia, or are heavily identified with, or indebted to, China’s investment in their infrastructure through the Belt and Road initiative.

A third group of countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan (absent from the vote on this occasion) Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan ( also absent from the vote) and Uzbekistan are all close to Russia, share a border with Russia, or in the case of Mongolia, are sandwiched between Russia and China. None of them can afford to offend Russia: their geography dictates their politics.

Many other abstainers prove to be linked with, or indebted to, China. Brunei is now heavily indebted to Chinese investment. Lao PDR and Vietnam have a history of back and forth fluctuating relationships with China, and are balancing their diplomacy with their desire not to see China increase its hold over the south China seas. Sri-Lanka is recently tilting pro-China as investment from China increases.

Three countries in Central or South America which abstained could also have done so after Chinese pressure or to curry favour. Bolivia has received massive Chinese investment into military, transport, infrastructure, raw materials and education: China sees it as a useful raw material source. Nicaragua has recently announced its “ideological affinity” with China and is receiving investment. El Salvador, desperately poor, has been promised $500 million dollars worth of development money from China.

Of the remaining three abstainers, Cuba is a communist identified country which has always had strong links with China. Iran is at odds with the US and US-identified actions, and in any case, in March 2021, Iran and China signed a 25-year cooperation agreement that will strengthen the relations between the two countries and that will include “political, strategic and economic” components. (China was extremely busy in spring 2021: it’s amazing how many of its trade and co-operation agreements date from that period while we were all looking elsewhere.) And Pakistan, worried about its running sore of a battle with India, has recently been assured by China of “firm support for defending sovereignty.”

(There have been concerns for some time that China is attempting to build a pro-China block in the UN general assembly: the invasion of Ukraine has certainly flushed out whose allegiance lies with whom. Something to watch.)

What about the other meetings, NATO, G7 and EU?

Part of the NATO statement:

Russia needs to show it is serious about negotiations by immediately implementing a ceasefire. We call on Russia to engage constructively in credible negotiations with Ukraine to achieve concrete results, starting with a sustainable ceasefire and moving towards a complete withdrawal of its troops from Ukrainian territory.  Russia’s continuing aggression while discussions are taking place is deplorable.  We support Ukraine’s efforts to achieve peace, and those undertaken diplomatically by Allies to weigh in on Russia to end the war and relieve human suffering. 

We stand in full solidarity with President Zelenskyy, the government of Ukraine, and with the brave Ukrainian citizens who are defending their homeland.  We honour all those killed, injured, and displaced by Russia’s aggression, as well as their families. We reaffirm our unwavering support for the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders extending to its territorial waters.

Ukraine has a fundamental right to self-defence under the United Nations Charter.   Since 2014, we have provided extensive support to Ukraine’s ability to exercise that right.  We have trained Ukraine’s armed forces, strengthening their military capabilities and capacities and enhancing their resilience.  NATO Allies have stepped up their support and will continue to provide further political and practical support to Ukraine as it continues to defend itself.  NATO Allies will also continue to provide assistance in such areas as cybersecurity and protection against threats of a chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear nature.  NATO Allies also provide extensive humanitarian support and are hosting millions of refugees.  Foreign Ministers will discuss further our support to Ukraine when they meet in April.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg participated in meeting of G7 leaders to discuss Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the global response to President Putin’s brutal and unjustified war. Organised by Germany, and hosted at NATO headquarters in Brussels, the meeting came on the back of the NATO Summit which took place earlier on Thursday.

The Secretary General stressed that at Thursday’s extraordinary NATO Summit, Allies condemned Russia’s unjustified invasion and reiterated their full support for Ukraine. NATO Allies are stepping up support to Ukraine, including with cybersecurity assistance and equipment to help Ukraine protect against chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats. Pointing to the strong display of unity expressed at the NATO Summit, the Secretary General underlined that Allies will continue to impose unprecedented costs on Russia.  Mr Stoltenberg also underlined that NATO will further reinforce its presence in the eastern part of the Alliance including with four new battlegroups to be set up in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia.

G7 leaders reaffirmed their strong unity and commitment to continue working together to address the gravest threat to Euro-Atlantic security in decades. They also addressed Beijing’s role in the crisis, and Mr Stoltenberg reiterated that NATO called on China to refrain from supporting Russia’s war effort, use its significant influence on Russia and promote an immediate, peaceful resolution.

Here is the G7 leaders statement in full:

G7 Leaders’ Statement – Brussels, 24 March 2022

We, the Leaders of the G7, met today in Brussels at the invitation of the German G7 Presidency, to further strengthen our cooperation in light of Russia’s unjustifiable, unprovoked and illegal aggression and President Putin’s war of choice against independent and sovereign Ukraine. We will stand with the government and people of Ukraine.

We are united in our resolve to restore peace and stability and uphold international law. Following the United Nations General Assembly resolution on 2 March 2022, we will continue to stand with the overwhelming majority of the international community, in condemning Russia’s military aggression and the suffering and loss of life it continues to cause.

We remain appalled by and condemn the devastating attacks on the Ukrainian population and civilian infrastructure, including hospitals and schools. We welcome the investigations of international mechanisms, including by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. We will work together to support the gathering of evidence of war crimes. The siege of Mariupol and other Ukrainian cities, and the denial of humanitarian access by Russian military forces are unacceptable. Russian forces must immediately provide for safe pathways to other parts of Ukraine, as well as humanitarian aid to be delivered to Mariupol and other besieged cities.

The Russian leadership is obligated to immediately comply with the order of the International Court of Justice to suspend the military operations that it commenced on 24 February 2022 in the territory of Ukraine, without any further delay. We also urge Russia to withdraw its military forces and equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine.

We further call upon the Belarusian authorities to avoid further escalation and to refrain from using their military forces against Ukraine. Moreover, we urge all countries not to give military or other assistance to Russia to help continue its aggression in Ukraine. We will be vigilant regarding any such assistance.

We will spare no efforts to hold President Putin and the architects and supporters of this aggression, including the Lukashenko regime in Belarus, accountable for their actions. To this end, we will continue to work together, along with our allies and partners around the world.

We underline our resolve to impose severe consequences on Russia, including by fully implementing the economic and financial measures we already imposed. We will continue to cooperate closely, including by engaging other governments on adopting similar restrictive measures to those already imposed by G7 members and on refraining from evasion, circumvention and backfilling that seek to undercut or mitigate the effects of our sanctions. We task the relevant Ministers in a focused initiative to monitor the full implementation of sanctions and to coordinate responses related to evasive measures, including regarding gold transactions by the Central Bank of Russia. We stand ready to apply additional measures as required, continuing to act in unity as we do so. We commend those partners who have aligned with us in these efforts.

Russia’s attack has already risked the safety and security of nuclear sites in Ukraine. Russian military activities are creating extreme risks for the population and the environment, with the potential for catastrophic result. Russia must comply with its international obligations and refrain from any activity that imperils nuclear sites, allowing unhindered control by the Ukrainian authorities, as well as full access by and cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

We warn against any threat of the use of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons or related materials. We recall Russia’s obligations under the international treaties to which it is a signatory, and which protect us all. In this regard, we categorically denounce Russia’s malicious and completely unfounded disinformation campaign against Ukraine, a state in full compliance with international non-proliferation agreements. We express concern about other countries and actors that have amplified Russia’s disinformation campaign.

We are resolved in our support to the Ukrainian people in their heroic resistance to Russia’s unjustifiable and illegal aggression. We will step up our support to Ukraine and neighbouring countries. We thank all those who are already providing humanitarian aid to Ukraine and ask others to join. We will furthermore collaborate in our efforts to bolster democratic resilience and defend human rights in Ukraine and neighbouring countries.

We will continue efforts to support Ukraine in defending its networks against cyber incidents. In preparation for any Russian malicious cyber response to the actions we have taken, we are taking steps to increase the resilience of the infrastructure in our respective nations by strengthening our coordinated cyber defences and improving our shared awareness of cyber threats. We will also work to hold accountable those actors that engage in destructive, disruptive, or destabilising activities in cyberspace.

We further commend neighbouring states for their solidarity and humanity in welcoming Ukrainian refugees and third country nationals from Ukraine. We highlight the need to further increase international assistance to countries neighbouring Ukraine, and, as a concrete contribution to this end, underline our commitment to receiving, protecting, and supporting refugees and displaced persons as a consequence of the conflict. We thus all stand ready to welcome them on our territories. We will take further steps to broaden our support to Ukraine and neighbouring countries.

We are concerned by the escalating and reinforced repression against the Russian people and the increasingly hostile rhetoric of the Russian leadership, including against ordinary citizens. We deplore the Russian leadership’s attempt to deprive Russian citizens of access to unbiased information through censorship, and denounce its malicious disinformation campaigns, which we will not leave unaddressed. We express our support to those Russian and Belarusian citizens standing up against the unjustified war of aggression against their close neighbour Ukraine. The world sees them.

The people of Russia must know that we hold no grievances against them. It is President Putin, his government and supporters, including the Lukashenko regime in Belarus, who are imposing this war and its consequences on Russians and it is their decision that besmirches the history of the Russian people.

We are taking further steps to reduce our reliance on Russian energy, and will work together to this end. At the same time, we will ensure secure alternative and sustainable supplies, and act in solidarity and close coordination in the case of possible supply disruptions. We commit to actively support countries willing to phase out their dependency on Russian gas, oil and coal imports. We call on oil and gas producing countries to act in a responsible manner and to increase deliveries to international markets, noting that OPEC has a key role to play. We will work with them and all partners to ensure stable and sustainable global energy supplies. This crisis reinforces our determination to meet the goals of the Paris agreement and of the Glasgow climate pact and limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5°C, by accelerating reduction of our reliance on fossil fuels and our transition to clean energy.

We stand in solidarity with our partners who have to bear the rising price of President Putin’s unilateral choice to wage war in Europe. His decision is putting the global economic recovery at risk, undermines the resilience of global value chains and will have severe impacts on the most fragile countries. We call on the international community to take action by fully recognising Russia’s responsibility and protecting the most vulnerable countries, with the support of international and regional institutions.

More immediately, President Putin’s war places global food security under increased pressure. We recall that the implementation of our sanctions against Russia takes into account the need to avoid impact on global agricultural trade. We remain determined to monitor the situation closely and do what is necessary to prevent and respond to the evolving global food security crisis. We will make coherent use of all instruments and funding mechanisms to address food security, and build resilience in the agriculture sector in line with climate and environment goals. We will address potential agricultural production and trade disruptions, in particular in vulnerable countries. We commit to provide a sustainable food supply in Ukraine and support continued Ukrainian production efforts.

We will work with and step up our collective contribution to relevant international institutions including the World Food Programme (WFP), in parallel with Multilateral Development Banks and International Financial Institutions, to provide support to countries with acute food insecurity. We call for an extraordinary session of the Council of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to address the consequences on world food security and agriculture arising from the Russian aggression against Ukraine. We call on all participants of the Agriculture Markets Information System (AMIS) to continue to share information and explore options to keep prices under control, including making stocks available, in particular to the WFP. We will avoid export bans and other trade-restrictive measures, maintain open and transparent markets, and call on others to do likewise, consistent with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, including WTO notification requirements.

International organisations and multilateral fora should no longer conduct their activities with Russia in a business as usual manner. We will work closely with our partners to act as appropriate, based on shared interests, as well as rules and regulations of respective institutions.”

And from the EU:

European Council conclusions on the Russian military aggression against Ukraine, 24 March 2022

The European Council held an exchange of views with the President of the United States on transatlantic cooperation in the context of the Russian military aggression against Ukraine.


1. Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine grossly violates international law and is causing massive loss of life and injury to civilians. Russia is directing attacks against the civilian population and is targeting civilian objects, including hospitals, medical facilities, schools and shelters. These war crimes must stop immediately. Those responsible, and their accomplices, will be held to account in accordance with international law. The siege of Mariupol and other Ukrainian cities, and the denial of humanitarian access by Russian military forces are unacceptable. Russian forces must immediately provide for safe pathways to other parts of Ukraine, as well as humanitarian aid to be delivered to Mariupol and other besieged cities.

2. The European Council urges Russia to urgently guarantee safe passage to civilians entrapped in all other war zones to a destination of their choice, to immediately release all hostages, to provide uninterrupted humanitarian access and to establish humanitarian corridors. It also urges Russia to fully respect its obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law, and abide by the recent order by the International Court of Justice.

3. The European Council demands that Russia immediately stop its military aggression in the territory of Ukraine, immediately and unconditionally withdraw all forces and military equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine, and fully respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence within its internationally recognised borders.

4. The European Union stands by Ukraine and its people and the European Council reaffirms the Versailles Declaration, acknowledging the European aspirations and the European choice of Ukraine, as stated in the Association Agreement. The European Council reiterates its invitation to the Commission to submit its opinion in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Treaties. The European Union will continue to provide coordinated political, financial, material and humanitarian support. The European Union has so far adopted significant sanctions that are having a massive impact on Russia and Belarus, and remains ready to close loopholes and target actual and possible circumvention as well as to move quickly with further coordinated robust sanctions on Russia and Belarus to effectively thwart Russian abilities to continue the aggression. The European Council calls on all countries to align with those sanctions. Any attempts to circumvent sanctions or to aid Russia by other means must be stopped.

5. The Russian military aggression against Ukraine has forced millions of people to flee their homes. Many of them have found shelter and safety in the European Union, facilitated by the temporary protection mechanism. Particular attention should be paid to the needs of the most vulnerable and measures to prevent and detect human trafficking. The European Council pays tribute to all the citizens, organisations and governments across Europe who have shown solidarity with those fleeing this atrocious war.

6. This crisis represents a significant challenge for the infrastructure and public services of hosting States, notably at the borders with Ukraine. The European Council recognises all the efforts already made to welcome refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine, and calls on all Member States to intensify their efforts in a continued spirit of unity and solidarity, and invites the Commission to take any necessary initiatives to facilitate such efforts. It also calls for work to be urgently completed on the recent Commission proposals to support Member States so as to ensure that EU funding for refugees and their hosts can be mobilised rapidly and invites the Commission to work on additional proposals to reinforce EU support in this regard. It calls on the Member States, with the support of the Commission, to develop contingency plans to address medium- and long-term needs as well.

7. The European Union is committed to ensuring continuous and uninterrupted electricity and gas flows to Ukraine. The recent synchronisation of Ukrainian and Moldovan electricity grids with the EU’s grids is a remarkable achievement. It shows that our futures are now interconnected. The safety of Ukrainian nuclear facilities must be ensured, including with the support of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

8. Bearing in mind the destruction and enormous losses brought upon Ukraine by Russia’s military aggression, the European Union is committed to provide support to the Ukrainian Government for its immediate needs and, once the Russian onslaught has ceased, for the reconstruction of a democratic Ukraine. To that end, the European Council agrees to develop a Ukraine Solidarity Trust Fund and invites its international partners to participate, and calls for preparations to start without delay. It calls on the Commission to continue to provide technical assistance in order to help Ukraine implement necessary reforms.

9. The European Council calls for an international conference to be organised in due time to raise funding under the Ukraine Solidarity Trust Fund.

10. The European Council also reaffirms its commitment to stand by the Republic of Moldova and its people.

And where was the UK in this. At the NATO and G7 meetings, obviously. What has the UK government put out since yesterday.? Want to take a look? There has been an absolute flurry of press releases! Here you go!

Prime Minister Boris Johnson met Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan this afternoon, ahead of the G7 summit at NATO. They discussed the need for urgent de-escalation and unfettered humanitarian access in Ukraine, and the Prime Minister thanked the Japanese leader for his strong support to Ukraine and Europe. Both leaders agreed that on the importance of reducing reliance on Russian hydrocarbons and improving global energy security, and the Prime Minister welcomed Japan’s support in that regard. The Prime Minister condemned recent North Korean missile launches and they agreed to further strengthen UK-Japan bilateral cooperation, particularly in defence. They also welcomed progress in talks on the UK joining the CPTPP trade bloc.”

AKA “At least I managed to have a chat with the Japanese leader.”


“The Prime Minister met President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey at the NATO summit in Brussels today. They shared their deep concerns at the increasingly brutal conflict unfolding in Ukraine, and the Prime Minister welcomed Turkey’s strong diplomatic leadership and humanitarian response. They discussed ways to increase military and economic support to Ukraine’s government as it seeks to defend itself. The leaders also discussed bolstering regional security in the face of new threats, including in the Black Sea. The Prime Minister noted the opportunities for greater trade and investment between the UK and Turkey, including in renewable and nuclear energy, and looked forward boosting cooperation between our countries.”

AKA “Thank goodness Erdogan was talking to me, but then we do have a very similar attitude to human rights.”


“The Prime Minister met the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, on the sidelines of the G7 meeting in Brussels today. He welcomed President von der Leyen’s leadership on the response to crisis in Ukraine and the EU’s close cooperation with the UK, including on sanctions, energy security and the humanitarian response. They shared their horror at the devastation being inflicted on Ukraine by Russia, and agreed on the need to step up military, financial and economic support to the Ukrainian government.

The leaders committed to strengthen the economic sanctions on Putin’s regime and continue working together to diversify energy sources and move away from reliance on Russian hydrocarbons.

The Prime Minister and President Von der Leyen also discussed wider bilateral cooperation, including the ongoing issues with the Northern Ireland Protocol. The Prime Minister reiterated the importance of working together to find durable solutions that address the challenges with the Protocol.”

AKA “I’m really peeved that I wasn’t allowed into the EY meeting like Biden was: I’d better keep hammering it home that Brexit is not dead yet. “On the sidelines”: how dare they?”

and the speech . . .

PM statement at NATO press conference: 24 March 2022. From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street and The Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP. Published:24 March 2022

Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave a statement at the NATO Summit in Brussels. Delivered on 24 March 2022 (Transcript of the speech, exactly as it was delivered)

“It is scarcely believable as we stand here today that just a month ago, the Ukrainian people were living ordinary, peaceful lives. Now, they are locked in an extraordinary battle for survival against an unprovoked onslaught from their neighbours. Ukrainians have taken up the fight and taught the world the meaning of bravery. Against the odds, they have snarled up Russia’s invading army, inflicting defeat after defeat. The heroism of Ukraine has changed the geopolitics of Europe. Vladimir Putin has badly miscalculated in Ukraine, and I believe he knows it. But now that Putin’s Plan A has foundered, he is already escalating by intensifying his attacks on civilians. Maternity wards, schools and homes and have been bombed without any regard for civilian life. Families are being starved out in freezing basement shelters, and targeted as they flee.

The United Kingdom – and our allies in NATO and the G7 here today – are clear: we will not stand by while Putin vents his fury on Ukraine. I have rarely seen our nations more united in recent years than we are now. Putin’s failure in Ukraine is vital for the peace and prosperity of all of us, and his barbaric invasion has galvanised the international community into collective action.

We will work with likeminded allies to ramp up lethal aid to Ukraine at scale, providing kit to President Zelenskyy in the quantity and with the quality and quantity that he needs to defend his country from its bullying neighbour.

Today, I have announced we in the UK will send an additional 6,000 missiles and provide £25 million in unrestricted funding for Ukraine’s armed forces, more than doubling the lethal aid we have provided to date. We are bolstering our support for the NATO countries on the frontline, sending a new deployment of UK troops to Bulgaria on top of the doubling our troops both in Poland and in Estonia.

This is just the beginning. We must support a free and democratic Ukraine in the long term. This is a fellow European democracy fighting a war of national defence. NATO and G7 leaders were also united today in our determination to continue turning the screws on the Kremlin’s war machine, including by weaning ourselves off Russian oil and gas and reshaping global energy security.

The UK has already hit over 1,000 Russian individuals and entities in our toughest-ever sanctions, and the Foreign Secretary has announced 65 new sanctions against Russian banks, weapons manufacturers and oligarchs just this morning.

I also discussed the humanitarian response with our allies and partners today, as we continue to see huge numbers of Ukrainians flee their homes. And the message that President Putin can take from today’s extraordinary meeting of NATO and the G7 is this: Ukraine is not alone. We stand with the people of Kyiv, of Mairupol, (yes, he couldn’t spell it: neither could his Press Office, clearly: it’s Mariupol) of Lviv and Donetsk. And as President Zelenskyy has said himself – the people of Ukraine will prevail and Putin must fail and he will fail.”

Notice the number of times he uses the personal pronoun? For Johnson, this is all about him, yet footage of the meetings yesterday show him shambling aimlessly and untidily around, being side-eyed by people who were clearly wondering why he was even there. As a statesman, he simply didn’t measure up, and it showed, Biden and Macron ignored him – walked straight past him at one point, and he followed them like a lost puppy (although he’s not nearly as charming as a puppy).

And after yesterday’s budget – not that I grudge Ukraine the help it so desperately needs as it defends the West – and us, do not forget – against an aggressor who, if he succeeds there, will turn on us next – a budget that offered no help to people in the Uk who are suffering from hunger and cold now, and who will suffer worse in the year to come, £25 million to Ukraine in lethal aid is an absolute obscenity.

If he can find that money for them – and I want to stress again that I DO NOT grudge it: they are fighting our war – then he can find it for us.

He just won’t, because it suits him for us to be cold, hungry, anguished and depressed, while he swans around in his little fantasy land where he’s Churchill, the great leader. (And his sycophantic cabinet are all the same.)

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