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The Telegraph Frontpage 2023 February 21

Zelensky and Biden
Sam Hall By Sam Hall
On his first trip to Kyiv since the war began, Joe Biden hit out at Vladimir Putin and pledged more military funding for Ukraine.

Joe Biden makes his first trip to Ukraine

About this time last year, Vladimir Putin would have been planning his own trip to Kyiv to celebrate the successes of his invasion of Ukraine. The Russian president launched his “special military operation” to topple the government of his neighbour over what he feared was a former Soviet country veering dangerously towards the West, Nato and the European Union. On the eve of the first anniversary of the conflict, the secretive pilgrimage made to Kyiv by Joe Biden sought to demonstrate that Russia has already lost the war and Ukraine is closer to its Western allies than ever before. “One year later, Kyiv stands,” Mr Biden, wearing a yellow and blue tie, said while standing alongside Volodymyr Zelensky at the presidential palace. Joe Barnes writes that when the US president stepped out in front of St Michael’s, the golden-domed cathedral in central Kyiv, wearing Top Gun-style Aviator sunglasses, he looked every part the wartime leader Putin dreamt of when he hatched plans for the invasion. However, the surprise visit holds much more significance than just a simple message of defeat to the Russian leader.

The US president arrived in Kyiv at 8am local time, meeting Mr Zelensky and his wife, Olena, at the presidential office at Mariinsky Palace. Colin Freeman, reporting from Kyiv, writes that Mr Biden laid flowers with Mr Zelensky at a war memorial and announced a half-billion dollar package of extra military funding for Ukraine, declaring America was “here to stay”. In joint remarks alongside Mr Zelensky, the US president said the new half-billion dollar military package would include more artillery, Javelin anti-tank missiles and Howitzers. “When Putin launched his invasion nearly one year ago, he thought Ukraine was weak and the West was divided,” Mr Biden said. “He thought he could outlast us. But he was dead wrong.” The visit went ahead despite concerns that the US president could be at risk in travelling to Kyiv, where Air Force One cannot travel because the airspace is closed. According to reports, US officials originally suggested that he meet Mr Zelensky either in the western city of Lviv, near the Polish border, or on the border itself. Mr Biden is said to have overridden the concerns, saying that he felt a visit to Ukraine was already long overdue, and that stopping short of Kyiv would not be seen as a sufficient gesture of support.

Russia warned ‘hours’ ahead

To avoid any chance of conflict, Washington warned Russia “hours” ahead of Mr Biden’s surprise visit. Jake Sullivan, a National Security Advisor, said: “We did notify the Russians that President Biden will be travelling to Kyiv. We did so some hours before his departure for deconfliction purposes.” Russian state media were quick to suggest the visit was evidence in support of the Kremlin’s claim that the battle in Ukraine is a proxy war between Nato and Moscow. However, Joe Barnes writes that the visit demonstrates how Putin is losing his fight to quash the spirit of Ukrainians with his long-range bombardments – here is a piece on five things Mr Biden’s visit to Kyiv shows ahead of the war’s first anniversary.

Zelensky censures Macron

Ukraine’s president had harsh words for a leader of another ally, however, after Emmanuel Macron said Russia should not be “crushed”. Mr Zelensky accused his French counterpart of “wasting” his time trying to end the war through diplomacy and not a military victory for Kyiv. It came after Mr Macron talked down the prospect of a “total defeat of Russia”, in comments that echoed his suggestion that Putin should not be humiliated over the invasion. “It would be a useless dialogue, Macron is wasting his time,” Mr Zelensky said in an interview with three Italian newspapers.

Joe Biden with Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv on Monday

Rishi Sunak’s two predecessors have united to pile pressure on the Prime Minister to send fighter jets to Ukraine. The calls follow Joe Biden’s surprise trip to Kyiv yesterday, pictured above, where he met Volodymyr Zelensky.

Send jets to Ukraine, Truss and Johnson tell Sunak

Two former prime ministers have united in a call for lethal weapons to be sent to Kyiv sooner. In her first Commons intervention since her resignation in October, Liz Truss said she “could not wait to see fighter jets over Ukraine”. Speaking in the same debate, Boris Johnson said it was time to “cut to the chase” and give Kyiv the planes it needs to defeat Vladimir Putin’s forces. Rishi Sunak has already ordered the Ministry of Defence to look into how planes could be provided and has pledged to train Ukrainian fighter jet pilots. But military figures have warned that sending the UK’s Typhoon jets would be complicated because training an existing pilot to use one of the jets would normally take three years. On Monday, however, Mr Sunak’s two predecessors spoke minutes apart in the Commons and suggested that such problems could be overcome.

The pair’s interventions came after Joe Biden, the US president, made a surprise visit to Ukraine as the first anniversary of the Russian invasion approaches. However, Mr Biden was accused by Ron DeSantis, the Republican Florida governor and a leading 2024 presidential candidate, of conducting a “blank cheque policy” on the conflict. Mr DeSantis said there is “no clear, strategic objective identified, and these things can escalate”, adding that the president was “very concerned about those borders halfway around the world” but has “not done anything to secure our own border here at home”. The US has been the largest financial backer of the Ukrainian war effort, and has committed about $30 billion (£24.9 billion) in security assistance since Russia’s invasion began on February 24 last year. Polls show that the American public is growing weary of the huge spending to aid Ukraine amid persistently high inflation at home.

Suella Braverman fires warning shot over Protocol

The Home Secretary has fired a warning shot at Rishi Sunak, praising a piece of Brexit legislation he may ditch as “one of the biggest tools” to end the Northern Irish impasse. Suella Braverman lauded the impact of the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill, which would give the UK powers to unilaterally change trading rules in the province, after Boris Johnson, the former prime minister, was reported to be concerned about plans to jettison it. She is the second Cabinet Minister to praise the Bill, after Penny Mordaunt, the House of Commons leader, similarly argued that it was key in persuading Brussels to give ground in talks. Mr Sunak has not pushed the law through the House of Lords while negotiations over Brexit rules in Northern Ireland have been progressing and, according to government insiders, could scrap the Bill once a deal is revealed.

Nicola Bulley ‘was the centre of our world’, say family

The family of Nicola Bulley have said they can let the missing mother of two “rest” after police identified her body. In a heartbreaking statement, they said: “Finally, Nikki, you are no longer a missing person. You have been found, we can let you rest now. We love you, always have and always will. We’ll take it from here.” Her body was discovered by two walkers on Sunday morning, less than a mile away from where she disappeared in the Lancashire village of St Michael’s on Wyre more than three weeks ago. Speaking at a press briefing at Lancashire Constabulary headquarters on Monday, Assistant Chief Constable Peter Lawson confirmed that Ms Bulley had been identified. Will Bolton and Susie Coen have a piece on three reasons why it may have taken so long to find Ms Bulley.

Also in the news this morning

SNP | A transgender rapist at the centre of a row that helped to end Nicola Sturgeon’s political career “is a man”, the frontrunner to become Scotland’s next First Minister has said. Kate Forbes, who on Monday formally entered the race for the SNP leadership, vowed to ditch her party’s controversial gender reforms.

Around the world: Turkey hit by two new earthquakes

A new 6.4 magnitude earthquake on Monday killed six people and injured more than 200 in parts of Turkey that were laid waste two weeks ago by a massive quake that killed tens of thousands. Officials said more buildings collapsed, trapping occupants, and people were injured in both Turkey and Syria. Monday’s earthquake was centred in the town of Defne, in Turkey’s Hatay province, one of the worst-hit regions by the magnitude 7.8 quake on February 6. The quake was felt as far away as Egypt, and was followed by a second, magnitude 5.8 tremor.
A woman is assisted after a new earthquake in Turkey on Monday

A woman is assisted after a new earthquake in Turkey on Monday Credit: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Comment and analysis

Editor’s choice

Fashion | Burberry’s new designer just pulled off a collection unlike any other we’ve seen
Food | Stop messing around with pancakes – there’s only one acceptable way to make them
Zelensky and Biden at the Heavenly Hundred memorial in Kyiv
Ukraine | How Joe Biden swept into Kyiv on a train from Poland amid a cloak of secrecy

Business news: Study backs the four-day week

Switching to a four-day week makes companies more money while also boosting staff happiness and reducing burnout, a major study has suggested. The landmark research project run in part by the University of Cambridge has found that, on average, businesses adopting a four-day working pattern increased their revenues by more than a third. Joe Pinkstone and James Warrington report that it comes amid a fierce debate about how to solve Britain’s long-running productivity crisis.

Here is a selection of articles we think you’ll be interested in today.
Calais refugee charities ‘just as bad as people smugglers’, says Lee Anderson
Nicola Sturgeon loyalist who backs her transgender views lined up as continuity candidate
Boris Johnson and Liz Truss heap pressure on Rishi Sunak to send fighter jets to Ukraine
Rishi Sunak urged to put Britain on war footing as Russia rebuilds forces
Rishi Sunak quotes BFG as he criticises Roald Dahl rewrite

Rishi Sunak has condemned the rewriting of Roald Dahl’s books for children, saying publishers should not “gobblefunk around with words”.

Deploying language from The BFG, one of Dahl’s most beloved stories, the Prime Minister said works of literature should be preserved in their original form and not “airbrushed” for modern sensibilities.

Frontrunner to succeed Nicola Sturgeon says trans rapist in prison row is a man
Nicola Bulley blame game as search expert insists body location ‘not in our remit’
Man who found Nicola Bulley’s body claims ‘psychic gift’ led to discovery
Dan Walker ‘glad to be alive’ after bike crash with car
Three reasons why it may have taken so long to find Nicola Bulley

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A joint effort of several authors who do find that nobody can keep standing at the side and that “Everyone" must care about what is going on in today’s world. We are a bunch of people who do not mind that somebody has a totally different idea but is willing to share the ideas with others and to be Active and willing to let others understand how "today’s decisions will influence the future”. Therefore we would love to see many others to "Act today".

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