Evening briefing: Today's essential headlines
Sue Gray report | Dominic Cummings has refused to meet Sue Gray in person as he feared Boris Johnson would "spin it to the media". In his most recent blog post, the PM's former chief adviser revealed he had emailed Ms Gray, whose findings on Downing Street parties are expected to be published this week, but contrary to reports would not be meeting her today. Read why he said he wants to "keep everything in writing". Mr Johnson has also been given a fresh headache after a Tory minister resigned over the Government's "lamentable" handling of Covid fraud.
Maida Vale | Knifeman who 'stabbed woman was killed by passer-by'
National Insurance | Rishi Sunak has room to delay raid, says IFS
Stay of extradition | Julian Assange wins latest round in appeal battle
Holiday boost | All Covid tests for fully-vaccinated travellers ditched
The big story: Russian invasion 'painful and bloody'
A Russian invasion of Ukraine would be a "painful, violent and bloody business" for Vladimir Putin, Boris Johnson has warned as Britain withdrew its diplomats from Kyiv.
The Prime Minister said the UK was "leading on creating a package of economic sanctions" against Russia and he would be speaking to international allies later today.
"I think it's very important that people in Russia understand that this could be a new Chechnya," said Mr Johnson.
Some British embassy staff and their dependants are being pulled out of Kyiv in response to the mounting Russian threat.
It comes as Nato has announced it is sending additional ships and fighter jets to existing bases in Eastern Europe, and putting extra troops on standby.
This graphic shows how Russia could invade.
The response to the threat of Russian aggression is far from unified. Vitali Klitschko, the former world heavyweight boxing champion turned mayor of Kyiv, has accused Germany of "betraying" Ukraine.
In a guest editorial for Germany's highest-selling newspaper today, Mr Klitschko took aim at Berlin for its ban on arms exports to Ukraine and its continued support for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline with Russia.
Germany is also blocking Estonia from sending howitzers to Ukraine under a veto that was a condition of their original export from Germany.
Market confidence rocked
The economic consequences of the crisis are beginning to show, with US equity markets slumping again at the open as investors become increasingly spooked by the geopolitical crisis in Ukraine and the Fed tightening monetary policy.
Matthew Lynn argues that Joe Biden's clueless approach to Ukraine, along with a German leadership that seems intent on turning the country into a Russian satellite, and a French President who sees it as another opportunity for grand-standing rhetoric, is encouraging Russia's President to invade.
Read how this is already playing havoc with market confidence, - and the many other reasons why Mr Biden's ineptitude has killed off the bull market.
Join Ukraine webinar
So, can war be prevented? Reports from the ground indicate Ukraine has gained a greater sense of itself since 2013, thanks in part to Russia's invasion.
The West may not need to send in troops and by flying in weaponry and setting up economic sanctions, we may be threatening to turn this crisis into Putin's Vietnam.
Yet Tim Stanley analyses the ways that more is at stake if Europe betrays Ukraine in what America may see as a small war, far away.
If you have questions you want answered, join our webinar on the crisis with Senior Foreign Correspondent Roland Oliphant and Moscow Correspondent Nataliya Vasilyeva.
Comment and analysis
Nile Gardiner | American liberal elites waking up to Brexit's benefits
Andrew Orlowski | BBC can conquer world without licence fee
Tom Harris | It's Groundhog Day in Sturgeon's Scotland
Alan Milburn | The levelling-up agenda is far too narrow
Around the world: Man injures four in 'long gun attack'
A gunman shot and injured four people, one critically, in the German university town of Heidelberg today. The gunman then turned the gun on himself, police confirmed. The gunman was described as being armed with a "long gun", presumably a rifle or shotgun. The shooter, a student, reportedly opened fire in the lecture hall. Investigators said that he had no political or religious motives. See pictures from the scene.
How to reclaim your stolen focus and learn to pay attention again
The modern world is constantly trying to distract us – something that author Johann Hari tells Guy Kelly is a real crisis for our society
Sport briefing: Ranieri sacked - Joshua to accept fee
Some breaking news: Claudio Ranieri has been sacked as manager of Watford just three days after the Premier League club lost 3-0 at home to relegation rivals Norwich City. Read on for details. Anthony Joshua is close to accepting a £15m step-aside fee that would pave the way for Oleksander Usyk to fight Tyson Fury in an undisputed heavyweight title bout in the Middle East. Joshua had been due a rematch with Usyk for his three world title belts, which he lost to the Ukrainian in London last year. But the former Olympic champion is now open to accepting a deal to step aside after a weekend of protracted talks among boxing's movers and shakers delivered hopes of a breakthrough. In rugby, as George Ford's international career could enjoy a Lazarus-like resurrection, Gavin Mairs pits the Leicester Tigers fly-half against Marcus Smith – and analyses who should start at No 10 for England.
Marriage Diaries | My now ex-wife has taken a restraining order out on me
Phoenix Rising, review | Evan Rachel Wood's searing allegations against Marilyn Manson
Business briefing: Rate hikes - golden neigbourhoods
The Bank of England has taken too long to raise interest rates and will need to "move faster" to get a grip on inflation, one of its former deputy governors has said. Sir Charlie Bean, who was a senior official on Threadneedle Street throughout the financial crisis, criticised the Bank's recent decision to hold off from raising rates until December and said households should brace for a looming "shock". It comes as the pandemic effect has seen property buyers leave the city in their droves in search of homes with more space, pushing up prices elsewhere. Read on for the new golden neighbourhoods with house prices higher than London.
Tonight starts now
007 spoiler alert! - The best-kept secret in film history | The greatest James Bond twist was hatched in the back of a black Mercedes on a cold November evening in Berlin. It was 2006, and the cast and crew of Casino Royale had come to the German capital from Madrid on the film's whirlwind European publicity tour. After the evening's premiere, Daniel Craig and Barbara Broccoli slipped off for a drink. As No Time to Die, Craig's final installment as 007, goes on digital release, the film-makers and star reveal why James Bond had an explosive ending.
Three things for you
And finally... for this evening's downtime
How realistic is Trigger Point? | ITV's bomb disposal drama Trigger Point looks to blow Line of Duty away. Not to mention plenty of supporting characters and civilians. But is Vicky McClure's explosives officer character Lana the real deal? Three bomb disposal specialists rate the pulse-pounding procedural's first episode.