LIVE: Boris Johnson holds press conference on Ukraine crisis amid talks to wean Europe off Russian gas

Boris Johnson is holding a press conference alongside the German chancellor following talks about how Europe can wean itself off Russian gas. The prime minister hosted Olaf Scholz at Downing Street today and the pair are appearing at a joint press briefing this afternoon.

Amid the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, Mr Johnson is expected to offer assistance to Berlin, which is still heavily reliant on Russian gas, to reduce its dependence on Moscow’s energy exports in a bid to starve Vladimir Putin’s war machine of funds. It comes as the Foreign Office targeted the Russian president’s daughters with sanctions, saying it was aiming to hit the “lavish lifestyles of the Kremlin’s inner circle” in a statement earlier today.

The foreign secretary Liz Truss attended a meeting of Nato counterparts in Brussels on Thursday. She said she hoped to see “more countries” commit to banning Russian energy imports after the UK has pledged to end all imports of Russian coal and oil by the end of 2022, with gas to follow as soon as possible.

READMORE: Dozens killed in rocket strike on Ukraine train station where civilians were trying to escape

Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba has pushed for foreign leaders to go further on cutting ties with the Kremlin. Speaking in Brussels, he said: “As long as the West continues to buy Russian gas and oil it is supporting Ukraine with one hand while supporting the Russian war machine with another hand.”

He took particular umbrage with Germany, urging it to cut red tape and speed up support to Ukraine and saying “while Berlin has time, Kyiv doesn’t”. Germany has faced criticism from Ukraine and other European nations, including Poland, with claims it has been too slow to phase out Russian energy. Robert Habeck, the German economy and energy minister, has announced plans to stop importing oil and coal from Russia this year, and gas by mid-2024.

In the UK, questions surround the Homes For Ukraine visa scheme which has been seen around 1,200 Ukrainians arrive in Britain. It has been reported that dozens of matches under the scheme have broken down, with local authorities having to put families in emergency accommodation while they wait to find a new sponsor.

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson could also be expecting questions from reporters on issues outside of Ukraine at today’s press conference. The government is under pressure to announce further support for people struggling with the cost of living crisis after his energy strategy was criticized for doing nothing to help people with their current bills. In addition, chancellor Rishi Sunak has come under scrutiny in recent days over his wife’s tax-reducing non-domiciled status. The chancellor has insisted Akshata Murty, who is estimated to be worth hundreds of millions of pounds, had done nothing wrong by choosing the arrangement exempting her from paying tax in the UK on foreign income.

This afternoon’s press conference is due to start at 3.15pm and we will have live updates below…

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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