Wednesday morning UK news briefing: Today’s top headlines from The Telegraph

Wednesday morning UK news briefing: Today’s top headlines from The Telegraph

World News

As the children of Vladimir Putin, their lives are shrouded in secrecy. Now, Brussels plans to hit the Russian president’s two daughters with sanctions as it responds to accusations of war crimes. 

Katerina Tikhonova and Mariya Vorontsova are on a draft list of targets including politicians, propagandists, oligarchs and their family members. 

As Europe Editor James Crisp reports, the hit list – which is subject to change and will involve asset freezes and travel bans – will be put before ambassadors from the European Union today for approval. 

The EU is expected today to approve a fifth round of sanctions against Moscow, including a ban on Russian coal imports – the first such measure against Kremlin-controlled energy. 

It comes after Ukrainian president Volodymr Zelensky insisted that the United Nations should be dissolved if it cannot rein in Russia.

Meanwhile, defence and security editor Dominic Nicholls explains how a “tag-team” of US drones may soon be deployed for the first time to help Ukraine destroy Russian artillery. 

And the Czech Republic has sent tanks to Ukraine, becoming the first Nato country to provide the heavy armour that Kyiv has long requested.

The Russian invaders might have been forced out from the Kyiv region, but the destruction they wreaked is appalling – the death toll still unclear and a humanitarian crisis of unimaginable proportions looms large. 

Amid the rubble and the mass graves, defence correspondent Danielle Sheridan discovers how the “liberated” have to rebuild their shattered lives in her dispatch from the town of Borodyanka (pictured above), where the death toll could be worse than in Bucha. 

With defence experts suggesting it could be weeks before Russia is ready to fight again, follow the latest in our live blog

In other developments:

Treasury blocks cash for energy efficiency scheme

Plans to spend hundreds of millions of pounds to reduce energy bills by making homes more efficient have been blocked by the Treasury. The Telegraph can disclose that Downing Street and the Business Secretary’s team were pushing for an expansion of the Energy Company Obligation scheme to be included in tomorrow’s energy security strategy. But Chancellor Rishi Sunak is understood to have rejected the calls as he stands firm on spending agreements set out last autumn for the next three years – leaving some Whitehall figures livid. It came as the Prime Minister defended the decision to hike National Insurance for millions of workers from today. See the new rates you will have to pay.

PS: Amid the worst cost of living crisis in a generation, we are asking readers to share their old-fashioned tips for saving cash. Submit yours.

Mystery of Darwin’s notebooks returned after 20 years

When Charles Darwin first sketched the Tree of Life in a small notebook in 1837, he took the first step towards solving one of humanity’s greatest mysteries. Now, almost 200 years later, librarians at Cambridge University are faced with another seemingly unsolvable question. How did two of his extremely valuable notebooks, which are believed to have been stolen 20 years ago, reappear in perfect condition in a pink gift bag outside the head librarian’s office? Will Bolton searches for the truth.

Daily dose of Matt

In his latest cartoon, Matt imagines the unusual way Channel 4’s sale might be organised – and view Blower‘s latest political cartoon.

Also in the news: Today’s other headlines

French election | Emmanuel Macron has been accused of dodging debate days ahead of France’s presidential election, snubbing a high-profile TV appearance just as a new opinion poll showed Marine Le Pen in her strongest position yet. Reporting from Paris, Katy Lee writes that Mr Macron’s relative absence from the campaign trail has contributed to a slide in his ratings – and the prospect of a nail-bitingly close finish.

Around the world: Covid patients fight for food

China’s zero-Covid strategy brought chaos to Shanghai, with patients fighting for food and water at makeshift quarantine centres as lockdown was extended for the city of 26 million residents. Video on social media (below) showed people scrapping for supplies after they were transferred to a temporary quarantine facility in an abandoned school in a south-eastern suburb. Jenny Pan writes that the extension of restrictions amid surging cases presents a major test for the country’s approach to the virus.

Comment and analysis

Editor’s choice

  1. Rothko paintings | Can you tell which canvas is worth £11m more than the other?
  2. Nine lives of Anna Wintour | How US Vogue editor always comes out on top
  3. Fashion | Why June Brown was the most stylish woman on British television

Sport briefing: Can Tiger Woods really win?

After all the hype and speculation, it took Tiger Woods just 12 words to finally tell the golfing world what it desperately wanted to hear. “As of right now, I feel like I am going to play,” he told a packed interview room at Augusta National ahead of the 86th Masters – before adding that he thinks he can win, something chief sports writer Oliver Brown says is improbable to the point of outrageous. But, less than 14 months after a horrific car crash, can he really do it? James Corrigan gets the expert views of players and coaches on whether a Woods victory is possible.

Business briefing: Quest to snap up Channel 4

ITV is poised to launch a takeover bid for Channel 4 as it attempts to forge a British super-broadcaster capable of competing with Netflix. The commercial station is understood to have told ministers that it would be interested in making an offer for its publicly owned rival, which is to be privatised by 2024 with an estimated price of £1 billion. Who are the other potential bidders? Ben Woods considers the contenders.

Tonight’s dinner

Tepsi kebab | This dish by Sabrina Ghayour is faithful, economical and ridiculously easy. Also, try our Cookbook newsletter.

Travel: France’s best-kept secret

The corner of the Basque Atlantic coast has charming beaches, sunset terraces, delicious coastal cuisine – and an omelette competition. France destination expert Anthony Peregrine has our guide to the seaside town you have probably never considered paying a visit.

And finally… for this morning’s downtime

‘The vision of a mighty highway to the north has always grabbed me’ | As the Great North Road, now known as the A1, marks its centenary, Paul Kirkwood meets one of the route’s superfans.

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