Home » The Papers: ‘Roman empire falls’ and ‘hotline to host refugees’

The Papers: ‘Roman empire falls’ and ‘hotline to host refugees’

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The Papers: ‘Roman empire falls’ and ‘hotline to host refugees’

By BBC News


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As the Russian assault on Ukraine continues, the lead story in many papers is the UK government’s decision to sanction Chelsea FC’s billionaire owner Roman Abramovich over his links to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The i’s front page edits a photo of the steel magnate into the colours of the Ukrainian flag, reporting that he has been accused of “destabilising” Ukraine by the government – as he may have provided material to build Russian tanks.

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The Times reports that the UK has become the first country to sanction Mr Abramovich, with Foreign Secretary Liz Truss accusing him of having “blood on his hands”. The oligarch has been formally barred from travelling to the UK, as well as having his many assets frozen and being barred from conducing business with British individuals and companies, the paper says.

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The sanctions also leads the Metro, which also headlines on the accusation he is responsible for deaths in Ukraine. The paper reports he was one of seven oligarchs hit by UK asset freezes and travel bans as the “screws were tightened” on those with links to the Kremlin, with their front page featuring an old image of Abramovich meeting with Mr Putin.

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The Sun’s take on the story is to focus on the implications for the Premier League club Mr Abramovich owns. The paper highlights fears Chelsea could go bust, with sponsors pulling out and a ban on player transactions and ticket sales, under the headline “Skintski”.

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The Mirror also focuses on Ms Truss’ accusation, describing Mr Abramovich and the Russian president as “blood brothers” in its headline. The paper says the oligarch “cashed in” on his association for decades and that his steel given to the Russian military “may have helped build tanks killing Ukrainian kids”.

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The Telegraph reports that the public will be asked to host tens of thousands of Ukrainian refugees with family links in the UK, under government plans to be laid out this weekend. The paper says there are plans to set up a hotline and webpage for people to volunteer to host, following criticism of the “chaotic” rollout of the Home Office’s scheme for refugees

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Half of the Ukrainian economy has been shut down and infrastructure worth $100bn (£76bn) has been destroyed by the Russian invasion, reports the Financial Times. The paper says the country also is facing a mounting human cost of the war, as the violence in the southern city of Mariupol escalated on Thursday, with food shortages and mass graves and being filled in the besieged city.

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The “medieval conditions” faced by the people of Mariupol is the focus of the Guardian’s front page. The paper says the “reletnless shelling”of the southern port city has left a “trail of utter devastation”, with residents “focused solely on survival” after being left without power or water by the Russian attacks.

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The Daily Mail’s lead story focuses on the two million more refugees expected to flee Ukraine in the coming days. With the rapid increase set to take the total number to over four million, the papers says it represents Europe’s biggest refugee crisis since the World War Two and calls on Home Secretary Priti Patel to “get her act together” to help them.

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“Putin takes revenge on the West”, headlines the Daily Express, reporting that the Russian president has threated to “send global food prices soaring” and impose export bans of his own in retaliation for Western sanctions.

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Returning to the sanctioning of Mr Abramovich, the Daily Star jokes that the price of petrol has risen so much a full tank might soon be worth as much as Chelsea and that the “cost of living crisis” is now affecting oligarchs too.

Most papers are leading with the UK’s latest sanctions on Russian oligarchs – especially those facing Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.

The Daily Express calls it “The fall of Roman’s Empire” – a fall the Daily Star describes as “inevitable.” The Daily Mirror pictures Mr Abramovich and Russian President Vladimir Putin against a backdrop showing a victim of the war, with the headline “Blood Brothers.”

The Daily Mail welcomes the crackdown, saying “Abramovich’s dirty billions” have been “frozen at last” and the Guardian questions why nothing has happened before now. The i suggests the billionaire could move to China, while the Financial Times reports wealthy Russians are flocking to the United Arab Emirates to avoid Western sanctions.

There is concern about the future of Chelsea as a football club, with the Sun warning it faces going bust – which the Mail thinks is a real possibility unless a sale takes place within months.

A senior source at Chelsea tells the Times that if the club cannot operate normally, it will quickly begin to lose money and rack up debts.

The Mail echoes the UN’s claims that Europe is facing its biggest refugee crisis since the end of World War Two, with two million more people expected to flee Ukraine in the coming days. The Daily Telegraph says ministers will announce a hotline and webpage where the public, charities and businesses will be invited to offer refugees somewhere to stay.

The Times suggests the scheme has been delayed because of disagreements over the details, including which benefits the refugees could claim and how safeguarding checks will be carried out.

The Telegraph reports that Russian state television has broadcast calls for Mr Putin to stop the war. Pundits likened the conflict to Afghanistan – while a serving army officer is said to have explained on a channel run by the country’s Ministry of Defence that Russian soldiers were dying in Ukraine.

In its leader column, the Times examines the threat of Russia using chemical weapons. The editorial says there can be “little doubt” that President Putin could adopt them. The paper says their deployment would raise the stakes for the West and intensify calls for a no-fly zone – calls the Times suggests should not be heeded.

The Express says that experts around the world are monitoring cases of a new Covid variant called Deltacron – a suspected combination of both Delta and Omicron variants.

According to the Times, cases of Covid 19 are now rising in every age group and region of England. But the Mail stresses that figures suggest that the virus is proving less deadly than flu.

The i reports that GPs and hospitals have been told to “crack on” with giving a fourth Covid vaccine to the over 75s and the vulnerable at the end of this month.

Meanwhile, the Telegraph notes that Britain’s pandemic death rate is considered to better than previously thought – roughly in the middle compared with other countries.

And many of the papers report on the second child of the Tesla chief executive Elon Musk with the singer Grimes – a baby that the Mail says was a secret.

The game was given away, explains the i, when the girl began crying unexpectedly during an interview. The Express says her name is Exa Dark Siderael, but is nicknamed Y, coming after her brother, X.

original source: The Papers: ‘Roman empire falls’ and ‘hotline to host refugees’

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