Boris Johnson: Give Ukraine long-range weapons to end war

A team of firefighters scramble over the debris of a destroyed building as a fire blazes behind them - REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko
A team of firefighters scramble over the debris of a destroyed building as a fire blazes behind them - REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko

Boris Johnson has said Ukraine must be given better weaponry including long-range missile systems in order to end the war as quickly as possible.

Equipment should include drones, anti-aircraft missiles, planes, armoured cars and tanks, and long-range systems such as ATACMS, he said.

"The world can’t continue to watch as the Ukrainians are terrorised with missiles and drones," he wrote in the Wall Street Journal.

"The Ukrainians have the valour necessary to succeed. They have shown it. They just need the equipment."

He added that Ukraine should not be expected to give up land in exchange for a peace deal, although he suggested that the de facto boundaries prior to the February 24th invasion - when Russia already controlled some parts of Ukrainian territory - could be the starting point for discussions.

The Ukrainian government's position is that it aims to reclaim all its territory.

05:23 PM

Today's Ukraine live blog is now closed

That's all for today. The top stories were:

  • Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg warned there was a "real possibility" of direct conflict between Nato and Russia

  • President Volodymyr Zelensky said the eastern city of Bakhmut had been reduced to "burnt ruins" by Russian shelling

  • Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian human rights activists received the Nobel Peace Prize

  • The UK Ministry of Defence backed reports that Russia and Iran are strengthening their military ties at an "unprecedented" level

  • Banksy announced he would be selling 50 screen prints to raise money for Ukraine

  • Kyiv continued to push plans to establish a war crimes tribunal

05:13 PM

Comment: 'The West has more reason to fear a rational Vladimir Putin'

"This year the world has seen many different Putins. We’ve heard Putin the liar back in January glibly assuring world leaders that he had no intention of invading Ukraine. We’ve seen Putin the bully publicly haranguing his most senior security council members on national TV. And we’re well used to hearing Putin the fantasist, insisting that the Ukrainian leadership are Nazis and that Russia is engaged in a war of national survival against Western aggression.

But this week a new and possibly even more dangerous Putin has emerged: Putin the pragmatist. Instead of falsely promising his people that the invasion was a 'limited military operation' that would quickly be over, Putin admitted in a televised speech that Russia was in it 'for the long haul'. That should make us in the West very nervous."

Read the full view from Owen Matthews.

04:54 PM

US 'gives tacit approval' to Ukrainian strikes inside Russia

The US has tacitly approved Ukrainian plans for drone strikes on targets deeper inside Russia, according to a report from The Times.

Washington is reportedly now less concerned that long-range strikes within Russia could lead to a direct confrontation with Nato, which could also alter judgements about arms shipments to Ukraine.

Ukraine is believed to have struck targets within Russia before but has been careful to use its own drones rather than anything supplied by allies.

04:31 PM

Ukrainian currency to be withdrawn from Kherson in January, Russian-installed official says

The Russian-installed administration of Ukraine's Kherson region said on Saturday that it had begun changing locally circulated Ukrainian hryvnia currency into Russian roubles, with hryvnia circulation in Moscow-controlled areas of the region to end on January 1st.

In a video published on Telegram by the region's Moscow-appointed administration, Andrei Peretonkin, head of the Russian central bank's local branch, said: "For the sake of the convenience of residents and to allow for a smoother integration of the region into the Russian economic space, this week banks in Kherson region began currency exchange operations."

Previously, the Russian-installed administration had said that both the rouble and hryvnia would be accepted in Kherson region.

Russian forces took control of most of Kherson region in the early days of Moscow's military campaign in Ukraine, and declared it annexed to Russia in September after a referendum condemned by Ukraine and Western countries.

Less than two months later, Russian forces withdrew from Kherson city under pressure from a Ukrainian counteroffensive, while continuing to hold most of the region's territory.

03:38 PM

In pictures: Destruction in Bakhmut

President Zelensky said on Friday night that the city of Bakhmut had been reduced to "burnt ruins" after suffering months of assaults.

Russia has been pushing to capture the city - even though analysts say it holds little strategic value to Putin's war effort - and it is currently the focus of some of the most intense fighting.

Stretchers are stacked up against the wall of a hospital whose windows have been blown out and are now boarded up with wood - AP Photo/LIBKOS
Stretchers are stacked up against the wall of a hospital whose windows have been blown out and are now boarded up with wood - AP Photo/LIBKOS
Smoke fills the air as local residents stand outside their destroyed apartment building - REUTERS/Yevhen Titov
Smoke fills the air as local residents stand outside their destroyed apartment building - REUTERS/Yevhen Titov
Two soldiers sit in a dark bunker - REUTERS/Yevhen Titov
Two soldiers sit in a dark bunker - REUTERS/Yevhen Titov

03:19 PM

Kremlin 'ordered' Russian Nobel laureate to down award

The Russian human rights activist who was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize today alongside Belarusian and Ukrainian peers was ordered to turn it down.

Jan Rachinsky, who heads Memorial, Russia's oldest human rights organisation, told the BBC that Kremlin authorities told him to reject it because the co-winners were "inappropriate".

"Naturally, we took no notice of this advice," he said.

02:32 PM

Step up military supplies for Ukraine to end the war faster, says Boris Johnson

Ukraine should not be pushed into a peace deal and must be given better weaponry in order to end the war as quickly as possible, according to former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

"It’s in everyone’s interest, including Russia’s, that the curtain come down as soon as possible on Mr Putin’s misadventure. Not in 2025, not in 2024, but in 2023," he wrote in the Wall Street Journal on Friday.

"The world can’t continue to watch as the Ukrainians are terrorised with missiles and drones... The Ukrainians have the valour necessary to succeed. They have shown it. They just need the equipment," he added.

Equipment should include drones, antiaircraft missiles, planes, armoured cars and tanks, and long-range systems such as ATACMS, he wrote.

Although Mr Johnson said that Ukraine could not "conceivably accept" a "land-for-peace deal", he suggested that the starting point for discussions would be the de facto boundaries prior to the February 24th invasion - when Russia already controlled some parts of Ukraine.

The Ukrainian government's position is that it wants to retake all of its territory.

02:20 PM

Romania defuses mine drifting near its Black Sea shore

Romania's navy carried out a controlled explosion of a naval mine that had drifted close to the country's Black Sea shore, the defence ministry said - the fourth it has defused since March.

Mines began floating in the Black Sea after Russia invaded Ukraine, and Romanian, Bulgarian and Turkish military diving teams have been defusing those drifting in their waters.

The ministry said the navy was alerted on Saturday to a mine drifting 2.5 nautical miles (4.6 km) north of the Romanian Black Sea port of Constanta.

The Black Sea is crucial for shipment of grain, oil and oil products. Its waters are shared by Bulgaria, Romania, Georgia and Turkey, as well as Ukraine and Russia.

02:09 PM

Russian drone attacks target power network in Ukraine's Odesa

Ukraine's southern port city of Odesa has lost power after Russia used drones to hit energy facilities overnight, local officials said on Saturday, with much of the surrounding region also affected.

"Due to the scale of the damage all users in Odesa except critical infrastructure have been disconnected from electricity," Odesa mayor Gennadiy Trukhanov wrote on Facebook.

A statement posted by the city administration on the Telegram app said that Russian strikes hit key transmission lines and equipment in Odesa region in the early hours of Saturday.

Governor Maksym Marchenko said Russia used "kamikaze" drones, which fly into their target rather than firing munitions, and that two had been shot down over the Black Sea.

"As a result of the strike there is no electricity in almost all the districts and communities of our region," Marchenko wrote on Telegram.

Since October, Moscow has repeatedly targeted Ukraine's energy infrastructure to create brutal conditions for civilians over winter. Kyiv acknowledged on Friday that every single thermal and hydro-electric power plant in the country had been damaged.

02:01 PM

Third Nobel laureate says Ukraine must not lay down arms

Ukraine cannot attain peace by "laying down arms", Ukrainian Nobel Peace laureate Oleksandra Matviichuk said as she accepted the award on Saturday.

Ms Matviichuk is head of Ukraine's Center for Civil Liberties, which is one of three peace prize winners this year, alongside activists from Belarus and Russia.

"The people of Ukraine want peace more than anyone else in the world. But peace cannot be reached by a country under attack laying down its arms," she said. "This would not be peace, but occupation."

Oleksandra Matviichuk - Sergei GAPON / AFP
Oleksandra Matviichuk - Sergei GAPON / AFP

01:17 PM

Second Nobel laureate blasts Putin's 'insane and criminal' war

The Russian Nobel Peace Prize laureate who heads the banned human rights organisation Memorial slammed President Vladimir Putin's "insane and criminal" war in Ukraine as he accepted his award in Oslo on Saturday.

Under Putin, "resistance to Russia is called 'fascism'", and has become "the ideological justification for the insane and criminal war of aggression against Ukraine", Jan Rachinsky said in his Nobel acceptance speech.

He is one of three human rights activists to win the prize this year.

A close-up shot of Jan Rachinsky who looks directly into the camera - SERGEI GAPON/AFP
A close-up shot of Jan Rachinsky who looks directly into the camera - SERGEI GAPON/AFP

01:04 PM

Russia wants to turn Ukraine into 'dependent' like Belarus, says Nobel laureate

Russia wants to turn Ukraine into a "dependent dictatorship" like Belarus, the wife of jailed Belarusian Nobel Peace Prize laureate Ales Byalyatski said on Saturday, quoting the words of her husband.

Natalia Pinchuk received the award on behalf of her husband and said he dedicated it to "millions of Belarusian citizens who stood up and took action in the streets and online to defend their civil rights".

Pinchuk has met her husband once since he was named a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, in prison, behind a glass wall.

"I know exactly what kind of Ukraine would suit Russia and Putin - a dependent dictatorship. The same as today's Belarus, where the voice of the oppressed people is ignored and disregarded," Pinchuk said, quoting her husband.

Byalyatski, 60, was detained in July last year amid a crackdown on opponents of the country's president, Alexander Lukashenko.

Belarus and Russia are formally part of a "union state" and are closely allied economically and militarily. Lukashenko's dependence on Moscow deepened after Russia helped him quash the protests that followed the disputed 2020 election.

Russia used Belarus as a staging post for its failed advance on Kyiv in February but Belarus has said it will not enter the war in Ukraine.

Natalia Pinchuk - SERGEI GAPON/AFP
Natalia Pinchuk - SERGEI GAPON/AFP

12:43 PM

In pictures: Nobel Peace Prize ceremony

Human rights activists and organisations from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus received the Nobel Peace Prize during a ceremony in Oslo today.

Guests rise from their seats as the Norwegian royal family arrives for the ceremony - SERGEI GAPON/AFP
Guests rise from their seats as the Norwegian royal family arrives for the ceremony - SERGEI GAPON/AFP
People representing the three winners pose for a photo with the King and Queen of Norway - Lise Aaserud/NTB Scanpix
People representing the three winners pose for a photo with the King and Queen of Norway - Lise Aaserud/NTB Scanpix
The representatives of the winning organisations display their awards - AP Photo/ Markus Schreiber
The representatives of the winning organisations display their awards - AP Photo/ Markus Schreiber
The three recipients walk down an aisle as the audience rises to their feet - SERGEI GAPON/AFP
The three recipients walk down an aisle as the audience rises to their feet - SERGEI GAPON/AFP

12:25 PM

Bakhmut reduced to 'burnt ruins'

Russia has turned the city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine into "burnt ruins", Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address on Friday.

"The occupiers actually destroyed Bakhmut," he said, as he warned that the situation on the frontline "remains very difficult".

In Bakhmut and other key areas of Donbas ""there is already no place left to live in... that has not been damaged by shells and fire," he said.

The city has been subjected to intense shelling and bloody frontal attacks since the summer - confounding analysts who say it has little strategic value to the Russians.

Read Justin Yau and Ben Farmer's report from inside the destruction.

12:23 PM

US-Russia 'spy for a spy' deal failed this summer - CBS News

The US and Russia engaged in negotiations over the summer to release US marine Paul Whelan, CBS News is reporting, but the deal failed after Moscow demanded the release of a spy held by Germany in return.

Mr Whelan was detained in Russia in late 2018, accused of spying for the US, and is now the highest-profile American imprisoned in Russia after the release of Brittney Griner.

Russia said it would swap Whelan for Vadim Krasikov, a Russian assassin currently detained in Germany, according to CBS, which cited a US official as its source. Moscow said it wanted "a spy for a spy."

But the deal failed when Berlin rejected the possibility of releasing Krasikov.

After Ms Griner's release on Thursday, President Joe Biden said he was "not giving up" on bringing Mr Whelan home and that he would continue to negotiate.

11:53 AM

Nato chief warns of 'real possibility' of full-blown war between Nato and Russia

Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has warned that the Ukraine war could spill over into a full-scale conflict between Nato and Russia.

In an interview with Norwegian broadcaster NRK, Mr Stoltenberg said there was “no doubt” that a full-blown war against Nato was a “real possibility."

“I understand everyone who is tired of supporting Ukraine. I understand everyone who thinks that food prices and the electricity bills are far too high,” he said. “But we have to pay a much higher price if our freedom and peace are threatened through Putin winning in Ukraine.”

11:30 AM

Bulgaria sends first military aid to Ukraine

Ukraine thanked Bulgaria on Saturday for joining the list of countries delivering military support to Ukraine.

The Bulgarian parliament on Friday agreed to send its first military aid to Ukraine since the Russian invasion, approving a list of arms drawn up by the interim government.

It had been one of the few EU countries not to send aid after the Russia-friendly Socialist party, a coalition partner in the previous government, blocked a proposal in May.

The list of arms is classified, but government officials have said Sofia would mainly send light weaponry and ammunition.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

11:23 AM

Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian rights activists to receive Nobel Peace Prize

A trio representing the three nations at the centre of the war in Ukraine will receive the Nobel Peace Prize today.

Jailed Belarusian human rights advocate Ales Bialiatski, who will be represented at the ceremony by his wife Natalia; Russian human rights organisation Memorial; and Ukraine's Center for Civil Liberties will receive their awards at a formal ceremony in Oslo.

The CCL has documented war crimes committed by Russian troops in Ukraine for the past eight years; Memorial is Russia’s oldest human rights group but was shut down last year; while Bialiatski, founder of Belarus’ best-known human rights groups Viasna, has been in jail since last summer.

Read more: Nobel Peace Prize winners 2022

10:54 AM

Russia and Iran 'transforming their defence relationship'

Russia and Iran are strengthening their military ties at an "unprecedented" level, according to the UK Ministry of Defence.

In is morning intelligence update on Saturday, the ministry supported reports from yesterday that the countries were developing “a full-fledged defence partnership".

"Iran has become one of Russia's top military backers since Russia invaded Ukraine," the MoD wrote. "Iran’s support to the Russian military is likely to grow in the coming months: Russia is attempting to obtain more weapons, including hundreds of ballistic missiles.

"In return Russia is highly likely offering Iran an unprecedented level of military and technical support that is transforming their defence relationship."

It noted that "Russia has highly likely expended a large proportion of its stock of its own SS-26 Iskander short range ballistic missiles, which carry a 500kg warhead up to 500km. If Russia succeeds in bringing a large number of Iranian ballistic missiles into service, it will likely use them to continue and expand its campaign of strikes against Ukraine’s critical national infrastructure."

Read more: Russia to send Iran top fighter jets in return for kamikaze drones

10:40 AM

Banksy sells prints to raise £250,000 for Ukraine

British graffiti artist Banksy is selling 50 original screen prints for £5000 each to support Ukraine.

The anonymous artist, who recently visited Ukraine, said he had created 50 screen prints of an image that shows a mouse clinging to the side of a box marked "fragile" in his signature stencil style.

"All proceeds [are] going to our friends in Ukraine," he wrote on Instagram.

Banksy artworks can sell for tens of millions of dollars but the screen prints will be sold for just £5000 each, raising a total of £250,000 for humanitarian efforts in Ukraine. Hopeful owners have until Friday to register for the draw.

The sale will support the Legacy of War Foundation, which Banksy says he witnessed at work in Ukraine. "I saw a Legacy of War team sweep in and provide medical attention, heaters, fresh water and a friendly face to some very desperate people in a bombed out building," he said in a statement. "They also lent me one of their ambulances to work from, which turned out to be extremely useful when an angry babushka found me painting on her building and called the police. I feel the least I should do is raise enough money to replace the number plates on the ambulance I hotted up."

The foundation said it would use the money to buy new ambulances and support vehicles for the evacuation of vulnerable civilians from Donbas.

The Banksy screen print depicts the side of a cardboard box marked "Fragile" with a white mouse clinging to the side - Banksy
The Banksy screen print depicts the side of a cardboard box marked "Fragile" with a white mouse clinging to the side - Banksy

10:20 AM

Kyiv 'hopes to announce details' of war crimes tribunal soon

Kyiv is continuing its push to establish a justice mechanism for Russian war crimes.

In his address on Friday night, President Zelensky said meetings had been held in Kyiv and Europe in recent weeks "during which we work out solutions for the sake of justice, for the sake of holding Russia accountable, and for the sake of finding formats for the release of our people who are held captive by the occupiers."

"We feel support from both states and international organizations," he said, and "hope to be able to announce specific details in the near future."

He also pointed to his wife Olena's recent visit to London where she addressed parliament.

"On behalf of our country, Olena proposed that the United Kingdom shows leadership in the issue of justice - in the creation of a special tribunal to try the crime of Russian aggression," he said.

09:52 AM

Zelensky and Sunak discuss military situation

President Zelensky said he had "an important conversation" with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak yesterday, in which they "coordinated" their priorities for the G7 and "discussed the situation on the front line and winter prospects on the battlefield."

"I also thanked Mr. Prime Minister and the entire United Kingdom for the constant support of our state," he said.