|Rail strikes / Anger as UK government refuses to join last-ditch talks|
|Millions face week of cancelled services and union leaders warn industrial action could spread|
|Exclusive / Russian emails appear to show ‘network’ holding $4.5bn assets linked to Putin|
|Black Sea / Ukrainian missiles hit gas platforms, says Crimean official|
|Reports of strikes come as Russia’s forces said to be gathering for final assault on Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk|
|Rail strikes / City centres quieter as people heed advice to avoid travel|
|RMT praises ‘fantastic’ turnout at picket lines but government plays down impact of action|
|About 80% of services were axed during the 24-hour strike by 40,000 members of the RMT union, leaving much of northern England, Wales and Scotland without any trains. Of the few trains that ran and stations that remained open, most were quiet as passengers heeded advice to avoid travel.
Network Rail has ratcheted up the pressure on the RMT by giving notice that it will start the formal process to push through reforms to working practices and cut 1,800 maintenance staff, incorporating compulsory redundancies if necessary. Hopes of a breakthrough this week remain slim, after the union rejected offers worth 3% from the industry on Monday.
Tim Shoveller, Network Rail’s chief negotiator, said: “The changes will mean dumping outdated working practices and introducing new technology, both of which will lead to a more effective and safer maintenance organisation.”
He said he hoped the majority of the 1,800 job losses would come “through voluntary severance and natural wastage” – although voluntary redundancies would require the union to accept the reforms.
Labour / Frontbenchers likely to be disciplined for joining rail pickets
Analysis / Keir Starmer’s stance on rail strikes raises questions over strategy
|Grant Shapps’s rail strike blame game joins fellow ministers’ absurdities in a vision of Tory Wonderland|
|Johnson and Shapps pretend they can’t end the rail strikes. That’s nonsense|
|Bill of rights / No 10 to set out sweeping plans to override power of Europe’s human rights court|
|Plan to replace Human Rights Act is effort to make government ‘untouchable’, say critics|
|Press freedom / Russia blocks Telegraph website over Ukraine reporting|
|Newspaper accused of ‘disseminating false information’ about Russia’s so-called special military operation|
|Kaliningrad / Russia threatens ‘serious consequences’ as Lithuania blocks rail goods|
|Rail strikes / Second day of action to go ahead after latest talks fail|
|RMT accuses government of ‘wrecking negotiations’ as operators and passengers prepare to face further disruption on Thursday|
Buy now, pay later / A third of UK users say they cannot manage payments
Afghanistan earthquake / Taliban appeal for more aid as death toll mounts
|Gas / Europe told to get ready now for Russia to turn off all exports to region|
|IEA chief warns that Russia may be trying to prevent countries filling storage facilities ahead of winter|
|Analysis / What happens if Russia turns off Europe’s gas?|
|Finland / We’re ready to repel any Russian attack, says armed forces chief|
|Maksim Levin / Ukrainian photographer and friend ‘executed in cold blood’ – report
Having gathered evidence on deaths of Maksim Levin and Oleksiy Chernyshov in March, Reporters Without Borders says evidence against Russia is ‘overwhelming’
Ukrainian photographer Maksim Levin was “executed in cold blood” alongside his friend Oleksiy Chernyshov by Russian forces north of Kyiv on 13 March, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said in a 16-page report on Wednesday.
Photographer Maksim Levin’s work in Ukraine – in pictures
Activists of Ukrainian opposition parties clash with riot police in Kyiv, Ukraine October 2013 Photograph: Maksim Levin/Reuters
A selection of powerful work by the Ukrainian photographer Maksim Levin who has been killed while covering the war, the sixth journalist killed since the Russian invasion began. He was reported missing near Kyiv on 13 March and had been covering the conflict in the region since 2013
|Rail strikes / Commuters stay home on day two of action as talks resume|
|Breaking news / Tories lose two key byelections on same night in Wakefield and Tiverton and Honiton|
|Labour takes Wakefield and Lib Dems snatch Tiverton and Honiton, piling pressure on Boris Johnson|
|January 6 hearings / Republicans who aided coup attempt sought blanket presidential pardons|
|Ukraine / Fighting entering ‘fearsome climax’ in key regions, says Kyiv|
|Russia getting closer to capturing Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk, last Luhansk cities under Kyiv’s control, say advisers|
|Live / Pressure mounts on Boris Johnson amid Tory backlash over byelection defeats|
|Prime minister says he will fight on as Tory grandees call for him to consider his position|
NHS / Staff should get at least a 4% pay rise say independent experts
Live / Russia-Ukraine war: major shakeup in Russian high command, says UK; missile strike near Lviv injures four
| ‘The Russians could come any time’ / Fear at Suwałki Gap on EU’s eastern border
Sixty-mile strip on edge of Poland and Lithuania is seen as vulnerable due to its position between Russian exclave of Kaliningrad and Belarus
|Sixty-mile strip on edge of Poland and Lithuania is seen as vulnerable due to its position between Russian exclave of Kaliningrad and Belarus|
There are just two roads and one railway line going from Poland to Lithuania through the gap, which is otherwise marshy and difficult terrain for a mechanised army.
Belarus’s dictatorial leader, Alexander Lukashenko, has shown in the war in Ukraine that he is willing to let Putin use his country as a launchpad for an invasion.
Kaliningrad is bristling with weapons, including hypersonic missiles. In recent days, Russian news wires have reported that service personnal from the Baltic Sea fleet of the Russian Federation, based in Kaliningrad, have been conducting a training exercise for missile and artillery units.
The provocative timing of the Russian exercises is no doubt deliberate. The Suwałki Gap has been the subject of intense interest at home and abroad in light of the row between Lithuania and the Kremlin.
Germany / Russia ‘turning wave of food crises into tsunami’ by blocking grain exports
This week in Ukraine / EU leaders welcome bid to join; Kyiv residents strive for a sliver of normality
|‘Completely delusional’ / Boris Johnson’s aspiration to serve for a third term criticised by senior Conservatives|
|Prime minister under fire after insisting he will not change his behaviour in office|
Live / Kyiv hit by missile strikes; G7 leaders gather in Germany
|At a glance / What we know on day 123 of the invasion|
|Focus of Russia’s campaign shifts to Lysychansk, as Putin says Russia will send missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads to Belarus|