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Joe Biden has warned that Russia is on the brink of invading Ukraine within “several days”, saying the US believes the Kremlin is engaged in “a false flag operation to have an excuse to go in”.
The US president spoke as Kyiv and Moscow blamed each other for clashes in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region — incidents the west fears will be used as a pretext for a co-ordinated Russian military campaign.
Russia reiterated its threat to take “measures of a military-technical nature” after it complained that the US had “twisted” draft proposals Moscow put forward to address its concerns about European security.
Speaking at the White House, Biden offered a bleak assessment of the situation, noting there was a “very high risk” of a Russian invasion. “Every indication we have is they’re prepared to go into Ukraine, attack Ukraine,” he said. “My sense is it will happen in the next several days.”
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Five more stories in the news
1. Trump must testify in New York investigation Former US president Donald Trump and two of his adult children will be required to testify under oath in a civil investigation by the New York attorney-general into their family business, a judge has ruled.
2. Meat traders wield centuries-old law to frustrate new museum plan Smithfield market workers refuse to be relocated 14 miles from the city centre to make way for the new £337mn Museum of London.
3. Pubgoers told to expect surge in UK beer prices British pubgoers have been put on notice that they face sharp increases in the price of a pint as mounting inflationary pressures in the brewing industry combine with rising staff and utility costs and the looming end of coronavirus tax relief.
4. UK to cap costs for agencies pursuing unexplained wealth orders The government is planning to limit the financial risk to law enforcement agencies from the use of unexplained wealth orders, as part of attempts to stem the tide of dirty money flowing through the City of London.
5. From spyware to landmine clearance: how Novalpina Capital fell apart The private equity firm behind Israeli spyware maker NSO Group held talks to buy a landmine clearance company that works for Saudi Arabia in Yemen — a divisive deal that contributed to the group’s unravelling.
Thanks to those who voted in yesterday’s poll. Fifty-eight per cent of respondents said they would vote against Apple chief Tim Cook’s $99mn pay and bonus package.
NHS leaders warn on early relaxation of virus rules in England, with ministers challenged to disclose scientific basis for “living with Covid” strategy.
Prudential fears Covid curbs will force next chief to work outside Hong Kong, while Omicron surge exposes tension at heart of city’s virus strategy.
The chief economist of the European Central Bank said eurozone inflation looks unlikely to drop below its 2 per cent target in the next two years.
Workers are returning to UK offices in their greatest numbers since the start of the pandemic.
The day ahead
Munich Security Conference The two-day meeting will be attended by several western allies as well as Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukrainian president.
Vladimir Putin holds talks with Alexander Lukashenko The Belarusian president is expected to visit Moscow to meet his Russian counterpart. Lukashenko said on Thursday that Belarus would host “nuclear weapons” if threatened by the west. (Euronews)
What else we’re reading
Why did we stop building beautiful neighbourhoods? Few beautiful communities have been built, anywhere in the world, in the past century, writes Tim Harford, arguing that governments lack the incentive, businesses usually lack the power and almost everyone seems to lack the skill.
Bonus season 2022 survey: will you invest, save or spend? This year is set to be a bumper one for bonuses, owing to the high profits generated in finance over the past 12 months. But those lucky enough to receive one are weighing the impact of higher taxes, rising inflation and interest rates as they plan to deploy their cash.
Is the age of ambition over? In the wake of the pandemic and 2021’s “great resignation”, Irish writer Patrick Freyne considers generational approaches to ambition and success.
The Premier League at 30 — an English success story? Thirty years ago this week, England’s first-division clubs resigned from the Football League to set up the Premier League. Their creation has become the most globally watched league in sporting history.
How medicine anxiety harms people Many of the aches and pains experienced by those who take medication to lower their cholesterol levels and protect against heart disease are caused not by the pills themselves but by fears about their effects.
Steven Soderbergh’s smart thriller Kimi, Netflix documentary Downfall: The Case Against Boeing and animated refugee story Flee are some of our six films to watch this week — reviewed by Danny Leigh and Leslie Felperin.
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