Russia restricts movement of British diplomats over Ukraine support – live news

Crimean Bridge badly damaged after ‘multiple blasts’ in early hours

Russia is imposing restrictions on British diplomats, demanding they give five days’ notice before travelling further than 75 miles in retaliation against “hostile actions”.

Moscow summoned senior diplomat Tom Dodd to its foreign ministry to tell him of the move on Thursday.

He was also given a dressing down for Britain’s support of what the Kremlin deems Ukraine’s “terrorist actions” and for allegedly obstructing Russian diplomacy in the UK.

British diplomats, apart from the ambassador and three other top officials, will have to give at least five days’ notice of travel outside the 75-mile “free movement zone”.

The move came after MI6 chief Sir Richard Moore urged Russians angry at president Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine to spy for Britain.

He told them “our door is always open” and “we will work to bring the bloodshed to an end”

Elsewhere, China’s consulate building in Odesa has been damaged in a Russian missile and drone attack, a Ukrainian official said.

Regional governor Oleh Kiper posted a photograph showing the building with broken windows.


Tinkoff investigating impact of US and Canadian sanctions

Tinkoff has said it is investigating the impact of US and Canadian sanctions, imposed on Thursday.

The statement comes after Britain removed sanctions on serial entrepreneur Oleg Tinkov on Thursday, days after an appeal by British billionaire Richard Branson and nine months after Tinkov, critical of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, renounced his Russian citizenship.

Britain sanctioned Tinkov, the founder of digital bank Tinkoff, a month after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, naming him as “a prominent Russian businessman” who had been involved in an area of strategic significance to the Russian government.

The United States targeted 18 individuals and dozens of organisations, including Tinkoff Bank, in its latest Russia-related sanctions on Thursday.


William Mata20 July 2023 18:30


Russia steps up assault on Ukraine’s ports and threatens attack on ships

Russia has stepped up its assault on Ukraine’s ports with a third night of air strikes and a threat it is now treating all ships heading for those ports as potential military targets.

Saying that Moscow was deliberately turning the Black Sea into a “danger zone”, Kyiv responded in kind by saying that from Friday they would treat ships heading for Russian ports – or Russian-occupied ports in Ukraine – would be treated the same way, as if they are carrying weapons or other military cargo.

William Mata / Chris Stevenson20 July 2023 18:00


Labour call for Wagner group to be ‘terror’ organisation

Senior Labour figures, including shadow foreign secretary David Lammy and shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper, have called on the Government to proscribe the Wagner group as a terror organisation for its role in the Ukraine conflict.

Wagner forces played a major part, albeit with reports of heavy casualties during fierce fighting, in capturing the salt mining city of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region for Moscow earlier this year.

Ministers have so far refused to proscribe the organisation, pointing instead to the extensive sanctions applied by Britain on the group’s leadership.

Shadow foreign secretary David Lammy

(PA Wire)


Downing Street says it is ‘too early’ to say what impact Black Sea grain deal with have on UK

Downing Street said it was “too early” to say what impact the Russia decision to end the Black Sea grain deal would have on the UK and inflation rates.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “Russia pulling out of the grain deal is going to affect vulnerable countries the most.”

He added that the UK was “speaking to other partners to seek to find a way forward for this”.

Rishi Sunak leaves 10 Downing Street

(PA Wire)

William Mata20 July 2023 17:00


Confirmation that three died in attack on southern cities

Three people have been confirmed to have died in an attack on Thursday night in southern Ukrainian port cities which damaged a Chinese consular building.

Regional governor Oleh Kiper posted a photograph showing at least one broken window at the Chinese consulate in the Black Sea city of Odesa, but there was no sign of any other damage.

Beijing, a Russian ally, did not immediately comment on the incident, one day after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said 60,000 tons of agricultural products destined for China had been destroyed in an attack on another Ukrainian port city.

William Mata / Reuters20 July 2023 16:47


Belarus defence ministry release video said to show joint Wagner drills – video

The Belarus defence ministry has released a video said to show joint Wagner drills.

Belarus defence ministry release video said to show joint Wagner drills

William Mata20 July 2023 16:23


Ryanair eyes Ukraine tourism after Russia’s war ends

Ryanair’s boss has pledged to “charge back into Ukraine” once commercial flying reopens and promised investment worth $3 billion in the war-torn country.

Michael O’Leary visited Kyiv on Thursday and said that he soon hoped to reconnect Ukraine’s Kyiv, Lviv and Odesa airports with more than 20 European Union capital cities within eight weeks of the reopening of air space with around 600 weekly flights.

“The fastest way to rebuild and restore the Ukrainian economy will be with low fare air travel,” the chief executive said.

“Ryanair intends to invest heavily in Ukraine and lead this aviation recovery by investing up to $3 billion and basing up to 30 Boeing MAX aircraft at Ukraine’s three main airports in Kyiv, Lviv and Odesa.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain20 July 2023 16:00


UK sanctions ‘despicable’ Wagner leaders linked to African killings and torture

UK sanctions have been announced against “despicable” individuals linked to massacre, rape and torture carried out by the Wagner Group across Africa.

Foreign Office minister Andrew Mitchell said the Russian mercenary unit, as well as assisting the Kremlin with its invasion of Ukraine, was “acting with impunity” in countries such as Mali, Central African Republic (CAR) and Sudan.

Mr Mitchell on Thursday announced 13 sanctions in a package aimed at individuals and businesses.

Officials said Wagner has operated in Mali, CAR and Sudan for several years where it is “aggressively pursuing Russian foreign policy interests” and providing military support to counter-terrorism operations which have seen hundreds of civilians killed.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain20 July 2023 15:32


UK removes sanctions on businessman Tinkov after Branson plea

Britain removed sanctions on serial entrepreneur Oleg Tinkov on Thursday, days after an appeal by British billionaire Richard Branson and around nine months after Tinkov, critical of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, had renounced his Russian citizenship.

The United Kingdom sanctioned Tinkov, the founder of digital bank Tinkoff, a month after Russia invaded Ukraine last February, naming him as “a prominent Russian businessman” who had been involved in an area of strategic significance to the Russian government.

Tinkov contested that designation, routinely criticising Russia‘s actions in Ukraine, offloading his stake in Tinkoff Bank and ultimately renouncing his Russian citizenship last October, saying he did not want to be associated with “fascism” or people who collaborate with “killers”.

“I decided to renounce my Russian citizenship after Russia invasion of independent Ukraine,” he wrote on Instagram in November. “I am against this war, and the killing of peaceful people.”

The UK Treasury on Thursday said: “The following entry has been removed from the consolidated list and is no longer subject to an asset freeze or trust services sanctions.”

Former Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Virgin-founder Branson are among the high-profile figures to have come out in support of Tinkov.

The Times on Monday quoted Branson as writing: “I feel strongly that Mr Tinkov has been wrongly included on the list of sanctioned Russians.

“Whilst he was a wealthy Russian businessman he has never been an oligarch. I have always known him as a self-made dynamic entrepreneur. That is why I have liked and supported him and continue to do so.”

The British Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office did not immediately comment on further questions about the decision to remove sanctions and whether Branson’s plea had played a role.

Law firm Corker Binning, which represented Tinkov, said it welcomed the FCDO’s decision.

Tinkov’s lawyers said his opposition to the invasion had led Russia‘s government to force him into selling his 35% stake in Tinkoff-owner TCS Group to Russian billionaire Vladimir Potanin.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain20 July 2023 15:18


Russia restricts movements of British diplomats in response to ‘hostile actions’

Russia said on Thursday it was imposing restrictions on British diplomats, requiring them to give five days’ notice of any plans to travel beyond a 120-km (75-mile) radius, due to what it called London’s “hostile actions”.

Britain’s chargé d’affaires in Russia was summoned to the foreign ministry in Moscow to be scolded for what Moscow said was support for the “terrorist actions” of Ukraine and for obstruction of Russian diplomacy in Britain.

“The British side was also informed of the decision to introduce a notification procedure for the movement of employees of British diplomatic missions on the territory of our country as a response to London’s hostile actions,” the ministry said.

Britain is one of the loudest cheerleaders for concerted international opposition to what Moscow calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine, and one of the leading Western suppliers of weaponry to help Ukraine defend itself.

British diplomats, with the exception of the ambassador and three other senior diplomats, will be required to send notification of any plans to travel beyond the 120-km (75-mile) “free movement zone” at least five working days ahead.

“Such a document should contain information about the timing, purpose, type of trip, planned business contacts, accompanying persons, type of transport, places of visit and accommodation, as well as the route of the trip,” the ministry said.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain20 July 2023 14:35


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