Risk of a “new cold war” and a “new iron curtain”, according to the secretary of defense
There is a risk of a “new cold war” and that “a new iron curtain will fall on Europe”, warned the Secretary of Defense. Ben Wallace said Russian President Vladimir Putin was “playing with fire” by attacking the Zaporizhzhia nuclear site in Ukraine – a move deemed unprecedented by Western officials.
Officials said the site was now likely under Russian control, but Ukrainian personnel were still on the ground providing security.
Speaking at a press conference in Copenhagen, Mr Wallace said the move was “incredibly dangerous”.
“It’s not just dangerous for Ukraine and Russia, it’s dangerous for Europe, and it’s playing with fire that really goes beyond anything to do with logic or necessity,” did he declare.
The attack was being discussed at an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Friday, which Prime Minister Boris Johnson convened in the early hours of the morning following a conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. It comes as the isolation of Russia and its people from the rest of the world continues, with the BBC announcing that it will ‘temporarily suspend’ the work of all its journalists and support staff in the country after authorities passed legislation that Chief Executive Tim Davie said appeared to “criminalize the independent journalism process”.
The Russian Duma passed laws that meant anyone spreading “false” information – according to the Kremlin – about the military could be jailed for up to 15 years. Reports suggest that the Russian media regulator has blocked independent news sources such as the BBC, and the broadcaster has distributed information on how to access its services on the dark web.
Mr Davie said: ‘This legislation appears to criminalize the process of independent journalism.’ He added: “Our BBC News service in Russian will continue to operate from outside Russia.”
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called on the media to “spread the truth about Russia’s crimes against Ukraine”. Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police’s war crimes team is gathering evidence relating to alleged war crimes in Ukraine to support the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation, the force said.
Earlier, Mr Wallace warned that common values in the West were being “threatened” by Mr Putin and his invasion of Ukraine. Speaking in Denmark, where he was visiting allies of Britain’s Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF), the defense secretary said the Russian leader was “bombing, ordering murder, invading a sovereign country for simply having the nerve to choose a different future for himself”.
He added: “Now is the time for us to pull together in common values and determination, both in soft power and hard power.”
Western officials said Friday that Ukraine continued to hold the majority of the country’s major cities, but in the past 24 hours there had been a high level of air and artillery attacks, including those targeting civilians. civilian sites. They believe that the resistance of the Ukrainians had a psychological impact on the Russian troops and that the lack of progress of the Kremlin forces had forced the senior commanders to take the front of the battle, leading to the death of some.
It comes as the Home Secretary met Ukrainian refugees who are due to apply to join family members in the UK under an extended scheme. Priti Patel met families, women and children at the Polish border in Medyka as she confirmed that immediate and extended family members of British nationals and people settled in the UK can stay in the country for three years.
The program applies to immediate family as well as parents, grandparents, adult children and foster children, and application centers have been expanded to handle 6,000 appointments per week.
Ms Patel said: “It is heartbreaking to have met families, women and children driven from their homeland due to the monstrous Russian invasion. Our Ukrainian extended family program is now fully open and seeing the first people who will apply was wonderful.
“While we want people to be able to return home when this evil invasion ends, giving thousands of people a route to the UK is the right thing to do.”
Meanwhile, Mr Johnson continued to speak to foreign leaders about the crisis.
The Prime Minister has agreed with Turkish President Recep Erdogan that there must be “full international condemnation of Russia’s barbaric actions”, a Downing Street spokesman said.
He also spoke with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on Friday.
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