Image caption, Several of Wednesday’s front pages focus on the continuing conflict in Ukraine. The Times reports Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, has suspended its participation in the New Start treaty – the last treaty signed with the US with the purpose of limiting the number and deployment of long-range nuclear missiles, warheads and launch platforms by both nations. Mr Putin used his state of the nation address in Moscow to accuse the West of starting the war in Ukraine as a provocation against Russia, the paper says.
Image caption, The Daily Mail turns its attention to comments instead made by US President Joe Biden during his visit to Poland. Mr Biden said Russia’s invasion was an existential threat to freedom and democracy everywhere, the Mail reports. “President Putin’s craven lust for land and power will fail and the Ukrainian people’s love for their country will prevail,” Mr Biden told a crowd of thousands in the Polish capital Warsaw, one day after his first trip to Ukraine as president.
Image caption, The Mirror’s front page takes a look from the frontline, ahead of the one-year anniversary of the conflict. “We are courageous, and we are right,” student Nastasia tells the Mirror in Kyiv.
Image caption, Away from Ukraine, many papers carry stories on some of the food shortages facing supermarkets across the UK. Asda and Morrisons have introduced rationing on some fresh fruit and vegetables, including tomatoes and peppers. Shortages are being blamed on adverse weather and transport difficulties in Spain and north Africa, where a significant proportion of food at this time of year hails from. The Express reports that rationing of some goods could last for weeks.
Image caption, The Star reports that farmers are also warning of a shortage of potatoes and lettuce. ‘Thin end of the veg’ is its front page headline.
Image caption, The Financial Times reports that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is exploring a 5% pay rise offer for public sector workers to end an escalating wave of strikes after the Treasury was given an unexpected £30bn windfall. The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) called off next week’s 48-hour strike in England to restart “intensive” negotiations with Health Secretary Steve Barclay, the paper reports.
Image caption, Also focusing on public sector pay disputes is the Daily Telegraph. The paper is reporting that ministers believe public sector workers should receive a pay rise of 3.5% – an offer condemned by some unions as “pitiful”.
Image caption, More on the suspension of the nurses’ strike from the Guardian, which describes the negotiations between the government and unions as unexpected. Both sides have made it clear that the first detailed pay negotiations since nurses began striking in December offer a real prospect that the growing campaign of industrial action by the RCN, and the disruption it is bringing for NHS services, could soon be at an end, the paper says.
Image caption, The i newspaper reports that sources close to the prime minister have dismissed resignation threats from some junior ministers over his Brexit deal. Downing Street believes they will not follow through on those threats, the paper says.
Image caption, The Sun reports that the family of a mum who went missing and took her own life is claiming she was failed by Lancashire Police – the same force in charge of the Nicola Bulley investigation.
Image caption, And the Metro reports on the misconduct hearing of eight former and serving Met Police officers over offensive remarks shared in a WhatsApp group. Three former officers have admitted gross misconduct after being part of the group which shared sexist, racist and homophobic messages. The Metro reports that one of the officers, Sgt Luke Thomas, repeatedly mocked Harvey Price, the disabled son of Katie Price.
Tuesday’s speeches by President Biden and Vladimir Putin feature prominently in the papers. “Putin signals the return of Cold War nuclear tests”, is the Times’ headline on the Russian president’s state of the nation address. Described by the paper as a “fiery” two hours, Mr Putin used the speech to abandon Russia’s arms control treaty with the US.
The Daily Mail opts for President Biden’s words: “your lust for land and power will fail”. The Financial Times says the speeches “sharpened the contrast” between the two leaders “whose legacies might be defined on the battlefields of Ukraine”.
The i newspaper reports the prime minister has “faced down threats of dissent” over his plans to strike a new deal with the EU to govern post-Brexit trade in Northern Ireland. “Resign if you want to”, is the message from Rishi Sunak to ministers thinking of quitting. There are rising hopes that a deal could be announced as soon as Thursday. One minister has told the paper talk of resignations was just “veiled threats” from those wanting to keep the PM on his toes.
The Daily Telegraph reports on submissions to independent pay review bodies, which suggest public sector workers should receive 3.5% wage rises next year. The Treasury is understood to believe that exceeding that figure would require deeper spending cuts, while exceeding 5% would fuel inflation.
But according to the Financial Times, the prime minister is exploring offering 5%, because borrowing is likely to be £30bn lower than expected. A Treasury memo seen by the FT also indicates that offering 5% would come with “low risk” of setting a benchmark for protracted high private sector wage growth.
Lancashire Police is under more scrutiny after its handling of the Nicola Bulley missing person case. The Sun reports on the plight of 23-year-old Kiena Dawes, who killed herself last year after suffering alleged domestic abuse. Her brother says she lost hope when her alleged attacker kept getting “constantly bailed”. Having found her suicide note, the family accuse the force of not prioritising her case. Lancashire Police say it would be inappropriate to comment while criminal proceedings remain ongoing.
“We’re fresh out”, declares the Daily Mirror as it covers the rationing of fruit and veg at some supermarkets. The shortages are because of bad weather and transport difficulties in Spain and Morocco. One grocery expert has told the Daily Express that the disruption “is expected to last a few weeks”.
Soaring energy costs are also hitting producers. According to the Daily Telegraph, British growers believe there has been a lack of foresight from supermarkets who have been overly reliant on overseas suppliers. The Daily Star is equally unimpressed, calling the crisis the “thin end of the veg”.
And finally, “Sorry Kate, that’s a flipping disaster!” is the Mail’s assessment of the Princess of Wales’ attempt to make a pancake at a nursing home. The paper says what she created looked more like scrambled eggs.
The Telegraph is also unenthusiastic: “Princess’s pancake performance falls flat”. There’s sympathy for her efforts in the Express. The home’s head chef is quoted as saying Kate was being too hard on herself and the reason why it went wrong was because the batter was too thick.