Dmitry Kiselyov, a Putin mouthpiece on Russian state TV, said that a possible course of action could be a Poseidon underwater drone triggering a 'radioactive tidal wave' against the UK. ‘Then Britain would be plunged into the depths of the ocean by an underwater nuclear strike. This tidal wave would also carry high doses of radiation surging over Britain turning whatever is left of them into radioactive desert, unusable for anything.’ He also warned the UK of a Sarmat 2 weapon, which Russia said earlier this month it planned to deploy by autumn. These intercontinental ballistic missiles carry ten or more nuclear warheads and could reach Europe and the US, experts have warned. Boris Johnson recently said he did not expect further Russian military failures to push Putin into using tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine, and Russia had room to manoeuvre and end the conflict. See also Europe article ‘Russia talking about a nuclear apocalypse’.
CARE for Scotland has urged Nicola Sturgeon to oppose assisted suicide to protect people with disabilities, after she signalled she might support plans to legalise the practice. In a recent interview Ms Sturgeon said she is ‘more open’ to a law change and has no ‘concluded view’ on a member's bill from Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur. Ms Sturgeon expressed opposition to assisted suicide in 2015 when it was last considered in Scotland. CARE said, ‘The First Minister's assessment of assisted suicide's dangers was correct in 2015 and ‘remains so today. It is confirmed by Canada’s tragic experience, where vulnerable citizens are coerced into opting for assisted death after being unable to access care and support. Canada experiences the ‘slippery slope’ of such laws. If Scotland agrees to assisted suicide for terminally ill, a campaign will begin in earnest to widen eligibility for the physically and mentally disabled.’ For more on Canada’s experience, see
Energy giant Shell has reported its highest-ever quarterly profits (£7.3bn) as oil and gas prices surge around the world. But Shell said pulling out of Russian oil and gas due to Ukraine’s conflict had cost them £3.1bn. BP also reported a sharp rise in profit, and Norway's Equinor, which supplies a quarter of the UK's gas, also posted record earnings this quarter. Oil prices were already rising before the Ukraine war as economies started to recover from the Covid pandemic. The public is now asking what these companies will do with all their extra profits. The Government has so far ruled out a windfall tax.
This week Sir Keir Starmer signalled he could expel left-wing Labour MPs from the party if they are openly critical of NATO. He said that under his leadership the party will show ‘unshakeable support’ for the alliance, and he will continue to call out any ‘false equivalence between Russian aggression in Ukraine and the acts of NATO’. Asked directly if he would expel MPs who are anti-NATO, Sir Keir said, ’Yes, these are principles that are absolutely at the root of the Labour Party. I'm determined that our party will face the electorate and not the sort of internal machinations and arguments that we have had too much of in the past.’ In February he told eleven Labour MPs to withdraw their signatures from a ‘Stop the War’ letter which criticised NATO.
A County Antrim GP practice will only be able to open a branch clinic two half days a week because of a Department of Health (DoH) funding cut. The practice can no longer cover the costs of a full-time service which opened in 2017 to take 1,400 new patients. DoH said additional payments between 2017 and 2021 were temporary, ‘to support the practice for a period of three years to enable them to manage the registration and complete an initial clinical review of these additional patients.’ Dr John McSparran, from the practice, disagrees vehemently. ‘We were never under the impression it was for three years, otherwise we would never have entered the agreement in the first place. We've tried to address this, continuing the service at our own cost. But financially the practice is unviable and can no longer cover the costs of a full-time service.’
Neil Parish, the MP for Tiverton and Honiton, has resigned after admitting he watched pornography twice in the House of Commons. He said it had been a ‘moment of madness: I was not proud of what I was doing’. The first time was accidental after he looked at a tractor website, but the second time was deliberate. Mr Parish appeared emotional as he announced he was standing down after seeing the furore and damage it was causing his family and his constituency. This will trigger a by-election in what is a safe Tory seat. But this story - and others - have damaged Parliament's reputation, and the Conservative Party. Both will be hoping that Mr Parish's resignation will help them start to move on.
Russia has removed forces from areas near Kyiv and is focusing on eastern Ukraine. The battle for Ukraine's old industrial heartland known as Donbas is likely to decide the fate of the Russian invasion. Pray for Ukraine and its allies to prevent Russia annexing Donbas and adjacent areas and claiming the territory as Putin did with Crimea in 2014. Russia’s attacks on the south have triggered a humanitarian catastrophe at the siege of Mariupol. Pray for Ukraine’s ‘best-trained forces’, already there due to the eight-year war with Russian separatists, to hold on to the land. Much of Donetsk and key areas of Luhansk are still in Ukrainian hands The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) says if Ukraine holds on to Slovyansk, Russia's campaign to seize both regions ‘will likely fail’. We can ask God to enable this scenario.
EU countries rely on energy from Russia more than any other nations. Now, after weeks of speculation about how far the bloc would go in imposing economic sanctions that could harm its own member states, Ursula von der Leyen announced, ‘Today we propose to ban all Russian oil from Europe.’ The ban would hit the pillar of Russia's economy by phasing out imports of Russian crude oil to Europe within six months and stopping the flow of refined oil by year's end. It would put enormous pressure on the EU's 27 members to find new energy sources and cope with whatever retaliatory moves Russia imposes in return. Even though the EU relies on Russia more than others to fulfil their energy needs, we can pray for the bloc to support Ukraine and end all funding of Russia's war machine. Pray also for EU citizens to accept the inevitable price rises and potential fuel shortages.