Tory MP's ex-Commando son joins Brits heading to war in Ukraine

Tory MP’s ex-Commando son and Scottish football hooligan join Brits heading to war in Ukraine as MoD launches desperate hunt to find four squaddies including a Coldstream Guard who went AWOL to fight

  • Ben Grant, 30, who served in the Royal Marines, is among group of seven ex-servicemen who’ve gone to fight
  • Also fighting in Ukraine is grandfather Robert Grady, 61, a former member of Hibernian FC’s hooligan firm 
  • Comes as four British soldiers are feared to have gone AWOL to join foreign volunteers battling Putin’s forces
  • Click here to read MailOnline’s liveblog with the latest updates on the Ukraine crisis 

Tory MP Helen Grant’s former Marine son and a Scottish football hooligan have joined Brits heading to the war in Ukraine. 

Ben Grant, 30, who served in the elite corps for more than five years as a commando, was among a group of seven ex-servicemen to arrive in the besieged country on the weekend.

The father of three, a veteran of Afghanistan, said his decision to leave to fight was made without the knowledge of his mother, who represents Maidstone and is Boris Johnson’s special envoy on girls’ education.

‘I haven’t been sent, nothing to do with the Government, nothing to do with my mother,’ he told the Guardian. 

‘Just want to make that clear, completely off my own back, I decided to do this. I didn’t even tell my mum, but it is what it is.’

Mr Grant quit the Royal Marines after admitting to assaulting two men in a nightclub after they shouted racial slurs – with a judge sparing him from immediate punishment due to him being provoked. 

Also fighting in Ukraine is grandfather Robert Grady, 61, a former member of Hibernian FC’s hooligan firm Capital City Service during the early 1980s. 

The father of one – who received a year-long football banning order in 2014 after a brawl before the Scottish Challenge Cup – featured in a recent propaganda video wielding an assault rifle alongside two fellow fighters. 

‘I’ve travelled to Ukraine to help Ukraine fight the Russians,’ he said. ‘I’ll do anything I can in my power to save Ukraine from Putin, everybody in the world please help Ukraine.’ 

In another message posted from the frontline, he wrote: ‘I intend to kill as many as I can.’   

Ben Grant, 30, who served in the elite corps for more than five years as a commando, was among a group of seven ex-servicemen to arrive in Ukraine on the weekend (where he is pictured)

Also fighting in Ukraine is grandfather Robert Grady, 61, a former member of Hibernian FC’s hooligan firm Capital City Service during the early 1980s

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Calling upon that human spirit, we are supporting a huge push to raise money for refugees from Ukraine. 

For, surely, no one can fail to be moved by the heartbreaking images and stories of families – mostly women, children, the infirm and elderly – fleeing from Russia’s invading armed forces.

As this tally of misery increases over the coming days and months, these innocent victims of a tyrant will require accommodation, schools and medical support.

Donations to the Mail Force Ukraine Appeal will be used to help charities and aid organisations providing such essential services. 

In the name of charity and compassion, we urge all our readers to give swiftly and generously.

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It comes as defence chiefs scrambled to track down four serving soldiers – including a teenage Coldstream Guardsman – who are feared to have gone AWOL to join the struggle against Putin’s forces. 

The 19-year-old, whose identity cannot be revealed for security reasons, reportedly dropped his ceremonial duties at Windsor Barracks and signed up for Ukraine’s International Legion of foreign volunteer fighters. 

The shock development has sparked panic at the MoD, with a race to intercept the teenager in case Russia tries to claim that Britain has entered the war if active army soldiers are found fighting on the frontlines.

The soldier reportedly wrote to his parents before booking a one-way ticket to Poland over the weekend with an intention to then cross the border into Ukraine. He has since posted a photo of his boots on Snapchat, according to The Sun. 

He is feared to be among four British soldiers who have fled the country for the warzone, sparking panic in the British Army that Russia could use it as a chance to escalate the conflict. 

Today, Cabinet minister Grant Shapps warned that British soldiers breaking the law and heading to Ukraine to fight were creating a ‘dangerous situation’.

The Transport Secretary told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: ‘You cannot go and fight if you’re in the British Army, you cannot just get up and go and fight.

‘Of course that’s inappropriate behaviour and you would expect the army to have some very, very strict rules in place, as they do.’

Asked what Russia might do if a British soldier was captured or killed, Mr Shapps said: ‘There’s a big difference between Britain sending its army in and some people who are breaking with our law and going to do it.

‘But, clearly, this is a dangerous situation. And clearly, we want to make sure that the assistance we’re providing is done in an official way – like the anti-tank missiles that we provided prior to and during this conflict, and like the 22,000 Ukrainians that we’ve trained.’   

Around 150 British Army veterans who fought in Afghanistan have already signed up to support Ukraine’s troops after Foreign Secretary Liz Truss declared she would ‘absolutely support’ those who wished to sign up to fight as part of the Ukrainian armed forces.  

The Government quickly distanced itself from her support with Downing Street strongly advising against travel to Ukraine. 

Serving members of the British Armed Forces have been banned from accepting the Ukrainian army’s invitations to fight.  


It comes as defence chiefs scrambled to track down four serving soldiers – including a teenage Coldstream Guardsman – who are feared to have gone AWOL to join the struggle against Putin’s forces. The Guardsman’s identity is being withheld for security reasons 

Pictured, members of Ukraine’s international legion. Volunteers from the US, UK, Sweden, Lithuania and Mexico have joined

Pictured, volunteers from Portugal and Brazil in Ukraine army fatigues in the days following Putin’s invasion

When Putin launched his brutal war to ‘demilitarise’ and ‘de-Nazify’ Ukraine, he warned foreign powers tempted to intervene that they would ‘face consequences greater than any you have faced in history’. Days later, the Russian despot put the Kremlin’s nuclear deterrent forces on ‘alert’, in a dramatic escalation of international tensions that sparked fear across the West.

And in a chilling threat at the weekend, Moscow vowed to punish London for its support for Kyiv, ominously warning: ‘Russia will not forget Britain’s desire to co-operate with ultra-nationalist forces in Ukraine and the supply of British weapons to the Kiev regime’.

Ex-Army chiefs slammed the AWOL soldiers as ‘totally irresponsible’, and warned they could be jailed if they return to Britain. 

Until now, only former military personnel from the UK are thought to have signed up for Ukraine’s volunteer army, and serving members of Britain’s armed forces have been banned from joining the war effort.

More than 20,000 people from 52 countries have already volunteered to repel the Russian invaders in Ukraine, where they will serve in a newly created international legion, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said over the weekend.  

Four active members of the British Army are believed to have abandoned their posts and shipped off the Ukraine to fight the Russian invaders, including one teenager who is a serving member of the Queen’s Guard (stock pic)

Russia has committed all of the forces it massed on the Ukrainian border before the invasion, and has made only limited territorial gains – capturing just one major city, Kherson. Others, including Sumy and Kyiv, are slowly being surrounded but in some places the Ukrainians have managed to thwart Russian attacks or successfully counter-attack

Kyiv claims these are the losses that its forces have inflicted on Russia in the first 12 days of fighting. While Moscow has acknowledged casualties, none of these figures have been verified 

This handout video grab taken and released by the Russian Presidential Press Service on March 8, 2022 shows Russian President Vladimir Putin giving a speech for the International Women’s Day, in Moscow

A source told The Sun that the squaddie had left his post, written a note to his parents explaining his decision, and hopped on a plane due east.

The friend of the teenager claimed that the rogue soldier was ‘bored’ and had ‘had enough of the ceremonial stuff’. 

Ben Grant said his decision to leave to fight was made without the knowledge of his mother, who represents Maidstone and is Boris Johnson’s special envoy on girls’ education

The source told the paper that the teenager had ranted that soldiers don’t join the Army ‘to stand in bear skin hats and march about’. 

Retired Army chief General Lord Richard Dannatt warned that it could be disastrous if active, serving British Army personnel were to be captured by Russian forces.

A post on the British Army’s internal messaging service read: ‘There has been some recent media coverage relating to foreigners being welcomed into Ukraine to help fight against Russia.

‘To be clear, as members of the British Army, you are not authorised to travel to Ukraine to support the ongoing conflict against Russia in any form, whether you are on leave or not. Please remain professional and focused on your duty and your team.’

The British Army cannot legally prevent retired personnel from travelling to eastern Europe, but full-time and reserve troops have received a stern warning not to take part in the conflict.

Ukraine’s defiant president Volodymyr Zelensky put out a plea in the days following the invasion, appealing for members of the international armed forces community to fly to Eastern Europe and join the war effort.

Around 20,000 volunteers from around the globe have already signed up to fight, with roughly 16,000 already on the ground in Ukraine, including a small contingent of Brits. 

DO YOU KNOW ANY OF THE AWOL SOLDIERS?

Do YOU know any of the British soldiers who are AWOL and fighting in Ukraine? Email [email protected] 

Many of them say their families ‘are worried but supportive’ of their decision. One of them, Ben Grant, who served in Iraq, flew home from the Middle Eastern country to the UK to see his wife and kids and then went straight from there to join the fight in Ukraine.

He said: ‘I hadn’t seen them for a while and basically said I’m going to Ukraine. Big shock. I feel a bit sorry to them to be fair. I know they were pretty upset but people need me here.’

Jax, from northern England, said the ‘sickening’ attacks and Zelensky’s call to people to join Ukraine in the fight motivated him to join up.

British ‘Lads’ Army’ volunteers eager to take on Putin’s forces could be prosecuted under UK terror laws if they go out to fight in Ukraine, Boris Johnson has hinted. 

Shortly after the war in Ukraine broke out, groups of men gathered outside the Ukrainian embassy in west London to answer comic-turned-wartime leader Zelensky’s call to arms for foreign fighters to join his country’s defence against Russia.

Foreign fighters must sign up for duration of war in Ukraine… and some are having second thoughts after being handed a CONTRACT at border 

Foreign fighters who join the Ukrainian army will not be able to go home until the war ends.

Officials have warned members of the International Legion of Territorial Defence of Ukraine that they will be free to leave only when the state of martial law is ended.

Now would-be recruits are having second thoughts at the Polish border after being handed contracts that effectively make them conscripts, the Daily Mail can reveal.

Kyiv says more than 20,000 foreigners from 52 countries have pledged to help fight back against the Russian invaders. 

But volunteers have spoken of being put off by the tough contractual terms, poor vetting procedures and logistical problems. 

John, a UK veteran who fought in Afghanistan for ten years, said he backed out after learning of the conditions, including being told to surrender his passport. 

But lawyers have warned that Britons who fight in Ukraine could be prosecuted under UK terror laws – much like those who took arms for Kurdish militia forces against ISIS in Syria. 

The Prime Minister waded into the debate, warning members of the so-called ‘Lads Army’ that they could be breaking British law by going over to Ukraine to fight.

Giving a speech in Estonia, Johnson said: ‘I can understand why people feel as they do but we have laws in our country about international conflicts and how they should be conducted.’

A military source said that 150 of former paratroopers were on their way to Poland. Shane, 34, a former sniper with the Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment, said Truss’ comments were ‘the green light’.

Several thousand people have volunteered to join the force, apparently including a group of SAS veterans eager to defend Ukraine.

According to The Mirror, the retired UK special forces soldiers volunteered for missions deep inside Ukraine to back up the country’s defence. The veterans, aged between 40 and 60, met to discuss signing up for the dangerous mission, backing up Ukrainians in combat.

Key to their operation is among them there are highly-trained snipers and experts in the use of anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles.

It comes amid claims that Kremlin officials are ‘privately denouncing’ Putin’s ‘clusterf**k’ invasion as US officials warned that the isolated Russian despot could lash out in anger at Ukraine’s fierce resistance by using small nuclear weapons on some of its cities.

Russian journalist Farida Rustamova, who was well-connected in government circles before fleeing the country as the Kremlin launched a sweeping crackdown on dissent, has claimed that officials in Moscow never believed that Putin would go to war.

They are now allegedly making ‘apocalyptic’ forecasts about the weeks and months ahead as fighting grinds on and punitive sanctions bite. 

Ukrainian artillery targeting Russian military trucks in Kozarovychi in the Kyiv Oblast

A view from a damaged civil settlement after shelling in the pro-Russian separatists-controlled Donetsk, March 8, 2022

A view from a damaged civil settlement after shelling in the pro-Russian separatists-controlled Donetsk, March 8, 2022

Members of the Ukrainian military arrive to reinforce a forward position on the eastern frontline near Kalynivka village

A children’s playground is seen in front of an apartment building hit by shelling in Kharkiv, Ukraine, March 8, 2022

The fire at the warehouse after a Russian Kalibr missile debris was shot down over Kalynivka village, near Brovary, the eastern frontline of Kyiv region, Ukraine, March 8, 2022

Ukrainians crowd under a destroyed bridge as they try to flee crossing the Irpin river in the outskirts of Kyiv

People carry a wounded woman during the evacuation by civilians of the city of Irpin, northwest of Kyiv

People queue to receive hot food in an improvised bomb shelter in Mariupol, March 7, 2022

Russia has today offered to reopen ‘humanitarian corridors’ for civilians to flee besieged cities which has been dismissed as little more than a PR stunt by Kyiv because routes, most of which lead to Russia, have been attacked

‘We will shoot you like rabid dogs for every child killed’: Six machine-gun-wielding Ukrainian women take up arms and pledge to wreak vengeance among Russian forces in defiant video 

Ukrainian women have sent a chilling Women’s Day message in which they say they will avenge every child killed in Russia’s invasion of their country.

Posting a video on TikTok, the six women holding machine guns and assault rifles and dressed in combat fatigues against the backdrop of a Ukrainian flag say they will ‘destroy the enemy on every inch of Ukrainian land.’

The video begins with a woman whose face is covered by a battle scarf saying: ‘We are women of Ukraine.

‘We have blessed our men to protect our land. We have already taken our children to safety, we join the men and the Ukrainian army.’

‘We are women of Ukraine’: Ukrainian women have sent a chilling Women’s Day message in which they say they will avenge every child killed in Russia’s invasion of their country

People carry a wounded woman during the evacuation of civilians from the Ukrainian city of Irpin, northwest of Kyiv, on Tuesday 

The video, which has English subtitles, continues with the women saying that they have already had experiences of war, that they will no longer stay passive and will ‘protect their country from the enemy.’

The women who decided to stay and fight rather than leave added: ‘We will destroy the enemy on every inch of Ukrainian land. In every city, village, forest and field. For every child, woman, old man, damaged houses and streets – we will shoot you like rabid dogs.’

The video ends with the message: ‘Glory to Ukraine – death to enemies.’

Zelensky echoes Churchill’s famous WWII speech in moving address to MPs as he describes Ukraine’s resolve to defeat Putin’s troops 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky today channeled Winston Churchill as he delivered a historic address to the House of Commons.

Mr Zelensky was given a standing ovation by MPs both before and after his speech in which he compared Ukraine’s fight against Russia to Britain’s World War Two struggle against Nazi Germany.

Drawing on Churchill’s iconic rallying remarks, he said Ukrainians will fight against Moscow’s forces on land, sea and in the air.

Mr Zelensky said: ‘We will not give up and we will not lose. We will fight to the end, at sea, in the air, we will continue fighting for our land, whatever the cost.’

He said Ukraine is fighting a ‘war that we didn’t start and we didn’t want’ as he told MPs ‘we do not want to lose what we have, what is ours’.

Comparing Ukraine to the UK in World War Two, Mr Zelensky said Ukrainians are fighting to save their country ‘just the same way as you once didn’t want to lose your country when Nazis started to fight your country and you had to fight for Britain’.

He also said more than 50 children have now been killed in the invasion, telling the Commons: ‘These are the children that could have lived, but these people have taken them away from us.’

Boris Johnson responded to the address by telling MPs that ‘Britain and our allies are determined to press on with supplying our Ukrainian friends with the weapons they need to defend their homeland as they deserve’.

The Prime Minister said the UK will also ‘press on with tightening the economic vice around Vladimir Putin and we will stop importing Russian oil’.

He added: ‘We will employ every method that we can – diplomatic, humanitarian and economic – until Vladimir Putin has failed in this disastrous venture and Ukraine is free once more.’

When asked how Russian politicians were reacting to the crisis, one source told Rustamova: ‘They’re carefully enunciating the word clusterf**k. No one is rejoicing. Many understand that this is a mistake, but in the course of doing their duty they come up with explanations in order to somehow come to terms with it.’

Kyiv estimates that 12,000 Russians have now died fighting and while that number cannot be verified, casualties are almost certainly higher than Putin bargained for when he gave the order to attack 13 days ago. Captured soldiers have complained of a lack of food, fuel, and overall battle plan – with conditions set to get worse in the coming days.

A pronounced cold snap will see temperatures drop to -10C overnight in the middle of the week around Kyiv and Kharkiv – down to -20C when wind chill is taken into account – with many Russian soldiers stuck outdoors in a 40-mile column of stalled vehicles near the Ukrainian capital.

US intelligence chiefs on Tuesday branded Putin an ‘angry’, isolated leader grappling for global clout, frustrated about how his Ukraine invasion has not gone to plan, and lobbing provocative nuclear threats at the West. Some have even privately expressed concern that, in a worst-case scenario, he might order deployment of mini-nukes on a city.

CIA Director William Burns told US lawmakers that Putin is now likely to ‘double down and try to grind down the Ukrainian military with no regard for civilian casualties’. At a congressional hearing on global threats, he said the despot has been ‘stewing in a combustible combination of grievance and ambition for many years’ and regarded the invasion of Ukraine a matter of ‘deep personal conviction’ for Putin.

‘I think Putin is angry and frustrated right now. He’s likely to double down and try to grind down the Ukrainian military with no regard for civilian casualties,’ Burns said.

The Russian strongman has encountered a tidal wave of opprobrium for the deadly invasion, leaving him isolated like never before. The US intelligence community warned of the potential for Putin to lash out, especially noting an elevated nuclear threat.

Lieutenant General Scott Berrier, director of the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency, said Russia under Putin has been working overtime to modernize its weaponry, particularly smaller-yield nuclear weapons.

Putin has ‘invested in tactical nuclear weapons,’ Berrier said. ‘I believe that he thinks that gives him an asymmetric advantage.’

Putin took the shock step last month of putting Russia’s nuclear forces on high alert. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said ‘Putin’s nuclear saber-rattling’ has put the West on notice.

‘We assess Putin feels aggrieved the West does not give him proper deference, and perceives this as a war he cannot afford to lose,’ Haines told the panel. ‘But what he might be willing to accept as a victory may change over time.’

Putin’s invasion has produced ‘a shock to the geopolitical order with implications for the future that we are only beginning to understand, but are sure to be consequential’, it was heard.

The CIA’s Burns also warned that with Putin under immense pressure, the ‘system’ the Russian president created of a circle of close advisors is getting ‘narrower and narrower’ – and that in such a system, ‘it’s not proven career enhancing for people to question or challenge his judgment’. 

It comes after a US military think tank dramatically warned on Monday night that Russian forces could launch their assault on Kyiv as early as tonight.

The Institute for the Study of War said the Russian military has been bringing reinforcements and supplies to its front lines, as well as carrying out air and artillery strikes on key Ukrainian military targets to weaken their position and to intimidate the city’s defenders ahead of a large assault.

Three civilians died near Kyiv on Tuesday after stepping on a landmine, a six-year-old girl died from dehydration in Mariupol after water was cut off, and hundreds of people were pictured evacuating from the city of Irpin in bitter conditions whilst snow fell.

People help an elderly woman to walk in a street with an apartment building hit by shelling in the background in Mariupol, Ukraine, Monday, March 7, 2022

Ukrainians cross an improvised path under a destroyed bridge while fleeing Irpin, in the outskirts of Kyiv, March 8, 2022

People displaced from their homes carry what belongings they can as they flee from the city of Irpin, near Kyiv

A woman carries her dog during the evacuation by civilians of the city of Irpin, northwest of Kyiv

Civilians continue to flee from Irpin due to ongoing Russian attacks as snow falls

A woman prays as she watches her relatives cross a destroyed bridge on their way out of Irpin, to the west of Kyiv

Irpin has been the scene of some intense clashes as Russian forces try to take it on their mission to surround and besiege Kyiv, with one commander reporting hand-to-hand fighting as Putin’s men battle street-to-street.

Vitaliy Shichko, resident of nearby Bucha, said Russian forces have been attacking the town since last week – initially throwing in men ‘they weren’t afraid of losing’ but increasingly moving in better armed and equipped troops to capture and hold ground.

Others said that Russians had cleared residents out of their homes so they could set up sniper positions, with some alleging that civilians had been fired at as they tried to flee. Ukrainian artillery is now being brought to bare on Russian forces as they set up the next phase of their attack, commanders said.

Ukraine’s commanders have claimed that Putin’s invasion has ‘slowed significantly’ in recent days, with American intelligence saying he has now committed all of the forces he built up along the border to the fight.

Kyiv’s military, giving an overview of combat as the war entered its 13th day, said defensive operations continue in the north, east and south of Ukraine, with all major cities other than Kherson in Ukrainian hands. Russian troops are ‘demoralised and increasingly tend to looting and violations of international humanitarian law’, commanders added.

It has also emerged that another Russian commander – Major General Vitaly Gerasimov, first deputy commander of Russia’s 41st army – was killed in Kharkiv on Monday, just the latest in an increasingly long line of senior military figures to lose their lives in Ukraine.

It is now a ‘criminal offence’ for Russian aircraft to enter UK airspace and any jets violating the ban can be SEIZED, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announces 

UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has declared that it will now be a criminal offence for any Russian aircraft to infringe on UK airspace.

‘I have made it a criminal offence for ANY Russian aircraft to enter UK airspace and now HMG (Her Majesty’s Government) can detain these jets,’ Shapps said in a tweet posted this evening.

‘We will suffocate Putin’s cronies’ ability to continue living as normal while thousands of innocent people die,’ he added.

The tweet was accompanied by an image of a Department for Transport (DfT) document signed by Shapps, which detailed the scope of the new legislation and explained it was designed to bolster sanctions placed on Russia in other sectors.

‘UK air traffic control and UK airports are not to provide access to any aircraft which they have reason to believe is a Russian aircraft, being: 1. an aircraft registered in Russia, 2. an aircraft owned, operated or chartered by an individual designated in respect of the aviation sanctions under the legislation, 3. an aircraft owned, operated or chartered by persons connected with Russia,’ the document read.

Grant Shapps has declared that it will now be a criminal offence for any Russian aircraft to infringe on UK airspace

The tweet was accompanied by an image of a Department for Transport (DfT) document signed by Shapps, which detailed the scope of the new legislation. ‘From today, the legislation is aligned with other sectors within the sanctions regime with criminal offences attached for breaching them,’ the document read

The document posted by Shapps took aim at Russia’s ‘unprovoked attack’ against Ukraine and declared the new measure would reinforce sanctions designed to target Russia’s elite.

‘Russia’s assault on Ukraine is an unprovoked, premeditated attack against a sovereign democratic state. The UK government has shown there would be massive consequences and a severe cost for any Russian military incursion into Ukraine, and, in coordination with our international allies and partners, we are developing an unprecedented package of further sanctions,’ it read.

‘The aviation sector is fundamental to connectivity and international trade and we must play our part in restricting Russia’s economic interests and holding the Russian government to account.

‘In these circumstances the Department for Transport does not consider it appropriate for Russian aircraft to continue to enter UK airspace or land at UK airports.

‘With effect from 25th February there has already been legislation in place to prohibit Russian aircraft from UK airspace. UK air traffic control and UK airports are not to provide access to any aircraft which they have reason to believe is a Russian aircraft.

‘From 1700 today, air traffic control now have powers to issue directions to a pilot or operator of a Russian aircraft not to enter UK airspace, or to leave it by a certain route.

‘Airport operators can direct those persons to take off, or not take off, from one of their airports, or not land there.’

Shapps also said in the document that he will grant the Civil Aviation Authority the power to refuse to register any aircraft on the UK register if its owner, charterer or operator is targeted by sanctions.

Russia announces new ceasefire and ‘humanitarian corridors’ for fleeing civilians in FIVE cities from Wednesday morning – but will Putin’s troops stop firing?

Russia claims it will observe a ceasefire on Wednesday to provide ‘humanitarian corridors’ for Ukrainian civilians in Kyiv and four other cities trying to escape Vladimir Putin’s bombs.

Kremlin forces will stop firing from 10am Moscow time (7am London time) on Wednesday and provide corridors from Kyiv, Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv and Mariupol, Mikhail Mizintsev, head of the Russian National Defence Control Centre, told Russia’s Tass news agency.

The senior official claimed that information about the proposed corridors would be sent to Ukraine’s deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk.  

However, efforts to relieve the besieged port of Mariupol have been thrown into jeopardy by reports of renewed Russian shelling. Vereshchuk said earlier on Tuesday that authorities had once again not been able to evacuate civilians due to Kremlin attacks. 

A woman with her dog waits for an evacuation bus as civilians continue to flee from Irpin, March 8, 2022

A woman carries a dog to cross a destroyed bridge as she evacuates the city of Irpin, northwest of Kyiv

A man and his dogs are helped across a river on the outskirts of Irpin, near Kyiv, as civilians evacuations continue

Moscow’s forces have laid siege to Ukrainian cities and cut off food, water, heat and medicine in a growing humanitarian disaster, but for days, attempts to create corridors to safely evacuate civilians have stumbled amid continuing fighting and objections to the proposed routes.  

Mizintsev earlier said Ukrainian authorities had endorsed only one civilian evacuation route from areas affected by fighting out of 10 that were proposed, including five towards territory controlled by Kyiv.

Europe’s worst refugee crisis since the Second World War grew even more severe, with UN officials reporting that 2million people have now fled Ukraine. 

It comes as Ukraine accused Russia of carrying out new airstrikes on residential areas in eastern and central parts of the embattled country. 

Kyiv claimed that that two people, including a seven-year-old child, were killed in the town of Chuhuiv just east of Kharkivlate Tuesday. And in the city of Malyn in the Zhytomyr region west of the capital at least five people, including two children, were killed in a Russian air strike.

The Russian artillery has pounded the outskirts of Kyiv, forcing civilians to hide in shelters while water, food and power supplies have been cut, said Yaroslav Moskalenko, an official who coordinates humanitarian efforts in the Kyiv region.

Pressure mounts on KFC to shutter its 1,000 Russian restaurants as McDonald’s Coca-Cola, Starbucks and Pepsi ALL halt business there indefinitely over Ukraine invasion 

KFC faces mounting pressure to shutter its 1,000 Russian restaurants after McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Starbucks all halted business there indefinitely because of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

The chain is the only significant US-owned fast food chain still operating in Russia, after its rivals announced plans to suspend business there indefinitely.

KFC is owned by Yum! Brands, a Louisville, Kentucky-headquartered operation which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, and whose CEO David Gibbs has been with the company since 1989. Yum! also operates 50 Pizza Hut locations across Russia.

Pepsi, one of the first Western products that was allowed in the former Soviet Union, will no longer be sold in Russia, said PepsiCo, which will continue the sale of essential items such as baby formula.

KFC has one of the largest footprints in Russia with more than 1,000 locations. Pictured: A KFC location in the Evroreisky (European) shopping mall in Moscow on Monday

Coca-Cola, operates 10 bottling plants in Russia through a licensed partner, said in a statement that it is suspending all business there. Pictured: Plant in Samara, Russia

Starbucks’ logo seen at the first Starbucks opened in Russia, at the Pushkino retail park outside Moscow. The chain is closing all locations in Russia indefinitely

Atlanta-based Coca-Cola, which has a huge presence in Russia through a licensed partner that operates 10 bottling plants there, said in a statement that it is suspending all business there.

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson also confirmed in a note to global staff that the iconic coffee chain would be closing its 130 locations in Russia and halting all sales, but continuing to pay its 2,000 employees there. All the shuttered cafes are run by licensed owner-operators, rather than by the Seattle-based coffee giant itself.

Meanwhile, McDonald’s also said it will close its 850 locations in Russia, but continue paying its 62,000 employees there ‘who have poured their heart and soul into our McDonald’s brand.’ None of the brands who have pulled out have given any indication as to when they may resume business.

The moves leave KFC, owned by Kentucky-based Yum Brands, as the final major US quick-service restaurant chain still operating in Russia.

‘We will fight them in the sea, air, forests, fields and streets… we will not surrender’: Zelensky echoes Churchill’s famous WWII speech in moving address to Commons and gets a standing ovation as he vows to defeat Putin’s invasion 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky channelled Winston Churchill’s wartime defiance as he delivered a historic address to the House of Commons from his war-ravaged country, vowing ‘we will not give up’.

Mr Zelensky was given a standing ovation by MPs both before and after his speech in which he compared Ukraine’s fight against Russia to Britain’s Second World War struggle against Nazi Germany.

Drawing on Churchill’s iconic ‘we shall fight them on the beaches’ wartime address in June 1940, he said Ukrainians will fight against Moscow’s forces on land, sea and in the air.

Mr Zelensky said: ‘We will not give up and we will not lose. We will fight to the end, at sea, in the air, we will continue fighting for our land, whatever the cost. We will fight in the forests, in the fields, on the shores, in the streets.’

He said Ukraine was fighting a ‘war that we didn’t start and we didn’t want’ as he told MPs ‘we do not want to lose what we have, what is ours’.

Comparing Ukraine to the UK standing alone more than 80 years ago, Mr Zelensky said Ukrainians are fighting to save their country ‘just the same way as you once didn’t want to lose your country when Nazis started to fight your country and you had to fight for Britain’.

Volodymyr Zelensky channelled Winston Churchill as he delivered a historic address to the House of Commons.

Mr Zelensky was given a standing ovation by MPs both before and after his speech in which he compared Ukraine’s fight against Russia to Britain’s World War Two struggle against Nazi Germany

He also said more than 50 children have now been killed in the Russian invasion, telling the Commons: ‘These are the children that could have lived, but these people have taken them away from us.’

Boris Johnson responded to the address by telling MPs that ‘Britain and our allies are determined to press on with supplying our Ukrainian friends with the weapons they need to defend their homeland as they deserve’.

The Prime Minister said the UK will also ‘press on with tightening the economic vice around Vladimir Putin and we will stop importing Russian oil’.

He added: ‘We will employ every method that we can – diplomatic, humanitarian and economic – until Vladimir Putin has failed in this disastrous venture and Ukraine is free once more.’

The address by Mr Zelensky came as the UK Government faced mounting criticism over its visa scheme for Ukrainian refugees.

Ministers have been slammed by critics over the slow pace of processing applications amid wider calls for Britain to put in place a more generous scheme to help people fleeing the Russian invasion.

The Government is now scrambling to improve the situation, with Defence Secretary Ben Wallace having offered military support to the Home Office to help deal with the backlog of people trying to get into the UK.

Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has announced a new visa processing centre is being set up in Lille in northern France following reports that refugees arriving in Calais were being told they must go to Paris or Brussels to apply.

US pours cold water on Poland’s ‘untenable’ offer to hand over all their MIG-29 fighter jets: Pentagon says planes at America’s disposal ‘raises serious concerns for the entire NATO alliance’ in the face-off with Putin and there is ‘no substantive rationale’ 

The Pentagon has poured cold water on Poland’s offer to hand all its MiG-29 fighter jets to the US, apparently as part of an arrangement to deliver the warplanes to Ukraine’s armed forces where they are desperately needed to fight off invading Russian forces.

The idea has been floating around for more than a week after Ukraine pleaded for more aircraft but the plan has been dogged by questions about how to deliver the planes to Ukrainian territory without dragging NATO into the conflict.

But Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said on Tuesday night the deal was unworkable and would cause serious concerns for the ‘entire NATO alliance’.

In a statement he said: ‘We are now in contact with the Polish government following the statement issued today. As we have said, the decision about whether to transfer Polish-owned planes to Ukraine is ultimately one for the Polish government.

The Pentagon has poured cold water on Poland’s offer to hand all its MiG-29 fighter jets to the US, apparently as part of an arrangement to deliver the warplanes to Ukraine ‘s armed forces where they are desperately needed to fight off invading Russian forces 

Poland said it was ready to deploy ‘immediately and free of charge’ all its MiG-29 jets to the Ramstein Air Base and place them at the ‘disposal of the Government of the United States of America’

‘We will continue consulting with our Allies and partners about our ongoing security assistance to Ukraine, because, in fact, Poland’s proposal shows just some of the complexities this issue presents.

The prospect of fighter jets ‘at the disposal of the Government of the United States of America’ departing from a U.S./NATO base in Germany to fly into airspace that is contested with Russia over Ukraine raises serious concerns for the entire NATO alliance’, he added.

‘It is simply not clear to us that there is a substantive rationale for it. We will continue to consult with Poland and our other NATO allies about this issue and the difficult logistical challenges it presents, but we do not believe Poland’s proposal is a tenable one.’

Tuesday’s announcement was seen as a Polish effort to force the US and NATO to go further in backing the Ukrainian fight amid mounting concerns over whether it would be seen as an escalation by Vladimir Putin.

There were suggestions NATO electronics would need to be removed if adopted by the Ukrainian Air Force. Russia could have responded if Ukrainian pilots flew them in from a foreign airfield. If American or Polish pilots dropped them in, it could be interpreted as NATO forces operating inside Ukraine.

President Joe Biden announced a ban on imports of Russian oil and gas on Tuesday, but Washington now faces tough decisions about what to do with Poland’s offer of MiG fighters for Ukraine

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