Wednesday evening UK news briefing: Boris Johnson at odds with Army chief

Your evening briefing from The Telegraph
Your evening briefing from The Telegraph

Evening briefing: Today's essential headlines

Scottish independence | Nicola Sturgeon's renewed push for Scottish independence descended into confusion after her deputy suggested the First Minister could demand breakaway talks with Boris Johnson even if the SNP wins less than half the popular vote at the next general election. Read his comments while James Crisp sets out why Ms Sturgeon's nightmare vision for Scotland joining the EU makes the Northern Ireland Protocol look like child's play. Philip Johnston cries let the First Minister have her referendum and send the SNP packing for good.

The big story: Boris Johnson at odds with Army chief

The danger posed by Vladimir Putin was highlighted once again when Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky shared a video on social media of the moment a Russian missile hit a shopping centre in the central town of Kremenchuk this week.

In this comprehensive piecing together of the attack, Nataliya Vasilyeva details the horrors and what it shows about Russian weapons.

Yet it is against this backdrop that Boris Johnson has slapped down the head of the Army after he called for a rethink of a cut to troop numbers.

General Sir Patrick Sanders, the Chief of the General Staff, said it would be "perverse" to cut troops by almost 10,000 at a time Russia had boots on the ground in Eastern Europe.

At a summit in Madrid, Mr Johnson has called on Nato countries to increase their defence spending to at least two per cent of GDP, the alliance's current target - and hopes to push for the target itself to be increased.

Yet this graph shows how the size of the British Army has shrunk post-war.

Nato allies are meeting in Madrid this week to discuss how to respond to Russia - Reuters
Nato allies are meeting in Madrid this week to discuss how to respond to Russia - Reuters

The debate comes as Nato leaders have invited Sweden and Finland to join the military alliance, its secretary-general said today, as he unveiled the most significant overhaul of defence strategy since the Cold War.

Jens Stoltenberg said the military alliance would have some 300,000 troops on high alert to protect against Russia. Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Nato leaders agreed to declare Moscow the "largest and most immediate threat" to the alliance.

Sir Kim Darroch and John Ashton warn Nato has to be ready for a Russian nuclear strike and they outline three outcomes that the summit in Madrid needs to achieve.

Cutting off energy

Putin's decision to slash gas supplies to Europe will push the region's economy into recession later this year, Morgan Stanley has warned.

To add to this, Britain will cut off gas supplies to Europe under an emergency plan that threatens to splinter the West's response to the escalating crisis.

Shutting down the so-called interconnector pipelines to the Netherlands and Belgium would be among the early measures under the plan.

In a decisive move, the German government has taken control of three liquefied natural gas ships from Russian energy giant Gazprom "for an indefinite period of time" but Jeremy Warner outlines why the dismal truth is that Putin is winning the economic war.

'Toxic masculinity'

You would think world leaders would be sombre after a G7 summit and a Nato gathering.

Yet many openly mocked Putin for a series of staged photographs where he could be seen engaging in outdoor pursuits.

Boris Johnson has said Putin is an example of "toxic masculinity" and would not have invaded Ukraine if he was a woman.

Speaking at the G7 summit in Germany on Tuesday, Mr Johnson condemned the Russian president for a "crazy macho war" and suggested it had happened because of his gender.

Earlier today, the Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, said Putin is a "lunatic" with "small man syndrome" and a "macho" view of the world.

You can watch the moment leaders joked about Putin's pictures here.

Comment and analysis

Around the world: Singer R Kelly faces life in jail

R&B singer R Kelly faces life behind bars for masterminding an elaborate scheme to entice and sexually exploit young aspiring singers and underage children. The former 1990s superstar was branded a "predator" who used his fame and fortune to "prey on the young, the vulnerable, and the voiceless for his own sexual gratification" following his conviction. He was convicted on multiple counts of racketeering, with the charges relating to bribery and forced labour, by a jury in September last year. His sentencing is taking place in New York today.

Wednesday big-read

Bryony Gordon: 'My friend Deborah James'

Dame Deborah James - Paul Grover for the Telegraph
Dame Deborah James - Paul Grover for the Telegraph

After the death of Dame Deborah James, aged 40, Bryony Gordon remembers her friend who made things happen and how she is glad she got to see how loved she was before she died

Read her tribute

Sport briefing: Emma Raducanu out of Wimbledon

US Open champion Emma Raducanu has been dumped out of Wimbledon in the second round after losing in straight sets against France's Caroline Garcia. Here is how the match happened. Earlier, SW19's defending champion Novak Djokovic saw off Thanasi Kokkinakis on Centre Court, where Andy Murray will be in action soon against big-serving American John Isner. Simon Briggs faced the best serve in tennis history - and outlines how Murray can beat it. Elsewhere, Andrew Gale has sensationally refused to attend the disciplinary hearing into the Yorkshire racism scandal after finally breaking his silence to deny "each and every" accusation made against him and denounce the England & Wales Cricket Board's "witch hunt" into the case.

Editor's choice

  1. Leasehold | 'I'll lose a third of my home's value if I sell – I'll never vote Conservative again'

  2. Lack of bookings | I'm a Superhost in Cornwall – why does no one want to rent my Airbnb?

  3. Exotic lifestyles | The 1920s bohemians who put the sex into Sussex

Business briefing: Tesla sacks another 200 staff

Tesla has cut almost 200 staff working on its Autopilot technology as Elon Musk seeks to radically reduce the electric car maker's costs. The company has shut down an office in California dedicated to training the artificial intelligence software used by Tesla cars to partially drive themselves. Mr Musk has said Tesla needs to cut around 10pc of its salaried staff, around 3,500 people, saying he fears an impending recession. The company's shares have fallen by more than 40pc this year. In Britain, almost six million workers have given up on saving into their pensions as falling real wages bite. However, dividends from investment trusts have hit a new record high of £5.5bn this year, thanks to a surge in payouts from privately owned companies not listed on stock markets.

Tonight starts now

Mario Strikers: Battle League Football, review | Just think how Manchester City might have been easier to catch this season if centre-backs could start throwing giant turtle shells at Kevin de Bruyne. Football has always been a terrific fit for Mario's sporting career. He is Italian, after all, plus the freneticism and chaos of the speed-boosting mushrooms, banana skins and bob-ombs birthed from Mario Kart have a fierce and hilarious impact on the pitch. If you fancy a night in, the latest Switch version of Mario Strikers – Battle League Football, which arrives 15 years after the last one, is fabulously fun cartoon footie.

Three things for you

And finally... for this evening's downtime

Crochet and dog jumpers? | Tom Daley's self-assembly knits and vest tops could kick-start a new era of celebrity labels that leave the hard work for the consumer. Guy Kelly tells a good yarn.

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