MPs await Zelensky’s speech as Johnson meets EU leaders

MPs will hear from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky today as Boris Johnson continues his diplomatic offensive to encourage Western leaders to punish Russia for the invasion.

Mr Zelensky will address the House of Commons at 5 p.m. via video link after Speaker Lindsay Hoyle approved a request for a ‘historic speech’ from the leader who, according to reports, is at risk of assassination by pro-groups. Russians in Kiev.

He delivered a speech to the European Parliament last week and delivered a virtual message to the US Senate on Saturday, with the beleaguered leader set to renew the messages of those speeches to MPs, including pushing for the West to set up a zone of no-fly over Ukraine. and for more weapons to be delivered.

Mr Johnson will host the Visegrad Four leaders of central European nations – the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia – to discuss the dispute today.

The prime minister, who speaks regularly with Mr Zelensky, has always ruled out the UK monitoring Ukrainian skies, arguing it would be tantamount to shooting down Russian planes.

Meanwhile, late Monday night, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) said Russia was continuing to target civilian evacuation corridors in Ukraine.

The latest intelligence update released by the Ministry of Defense said: “Russia continues to directly target evacuation corridors, resulting in the deaths of several civilians as it attempted to evacuate Irpin.”

“Due to heavy fighting in the city, it would have been without heat, water or electricity for days.”

Also on Monday evening, Mr Johnson spoke with US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, with the four leaders pledging to “continue to press Russia to isolate Putin diplomatically and economically”.

A Number 10 spokeswoman said: ‘The Prime Minister has stressed that our goal must be to ensure Putin’s failure in this act of aggression against Ukraine.’

The Minister of Foreign Affairs met with the Ukrainian Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Vadym Prystaiko, the same evening.

Liz Truss later tweeted that the UK was working to “cripple” Russia’s war effort and rally the international community.

“The UK will do everything in its power to support the people of Ukraine. Putin must fail,” she added.

The diplomatic efforts on the international stage come as the British government faced domestic pressure to speed up its efforts to ensure the safety of fleeing Ukrainians, with Labor criticizing the process as “painfully slow”.

The Home Office confirmed on Friday that 8,900 applications from refugees wishing to come to the UK through the Ukraine Family Scheme had been lodged since Friday, but only 300 visas had been issued.

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper tweeted: ‘This is incredibly low and painfully slow. Only 250 since yesterday.

“At this rate, it would be weeks before many families would reunite. Urgent action is needed.

Separately, Michael Gove said Russian President Vladimir Putin could inflict worse pain on the people of Ukraine than he has already done.

The Housing Secretary, speaking to LBC’s Tonight With Andrew Marr programme, sought to play down the threat of nuclear war but said Mr Putin had “a number of other options, all gruesome, to its disposal before it approaches the use of… nuclear weapons”.

His comments come after Ukrainian lawyers told the International Court of Justice that Moscow had resorted to “tactics reminiscent of medieval siege warfare” as Kiev called for Western intervention to prevent further bloodshed.

Russian invasion of Ukraine (PA Graphics)

A further £175million in aid for Ukraine was announced on Monday, with Health Secretary Sajid Javid posting on social media that following a fifth air shipment of medicine, “around 485 000 items of essential medical supplies’ had been delivered to help the war- inflicted country.

Meanwhile, new laws designed to tackle hidden ‘dirty money’ in the UK have cleared the House of Commons – although ministers have been pressured to go further in seizing oligarchs’ assets.

The Economic Crimes (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill received an unopposed third reading after being rushed through in response to Russia’s invasion.

Aimed at uncovering state-linked Russian money, the legislation is expected to establish a new register of foreign entities requiring foreign owners of property in the UK to declare their true identity.