Friday evening news briefing: Vladimir Putin expands war goals

Meanwhile, it also emerged that Slovenia will give tanks to the Ukrainians after Germany agreed in turn to pay for the country’s new armoured vehicles. See a graphic showing the battle tank losses so far. 

Olaf Scholz, the German Chancellor, warned today that everything possible must be done to avoid a direct confrontation between Nato and Russia that could lead to nuclear war. 

In other developments today:

‘One minute from death’

After being trapped for 56 days in besieged Mariupol, the Grinchuk family had two hours to make their way from the ruined building in which they were sheltering to the evacuation point. It would take yet another 24 hours to reach safety, navigating a gauntlet of a dozen Russian checkpoints along a “green corridor”. They were among 79 people on the first evacuation convoy. Ms Grinchuk described surviving “apocalyptic” conditions in basements and ruined buildings as fighting raged over the crucial port city, whose capture would offer the Russians a land bridge. “The whole time I felt one minute away from death,” she said. “Helplessness in the face of danger was the hardest thing to bear.” Read our correspondent Campbell MacDiarmid‘s latest dispatch.

Tools of propaganda

The parading on Russian state television of two British men, Shaun Pinner and Aiden Aslin, captured while fighting for Ukraine has raised questions about the fate of modern prisoners of war (POWs). It is a far cry from romanticised escape narratives of gentleman POWs, such as The Colditz Story, about a legendary breakout from the apparently impenetrable Saxony castle. So is treatment becoming more brutal – or does it reflect a longer history of using POWs for propaganda? Heather Jones examines how they became the ultimate tools of propaganda.

Comment and analysis

Around the world: Last-ditch French election bids

Emmanuel Macron admitted his rival Marine Le Pen has seized upon anger felt in the country he had failed to quell. The French president said Ms Le Pen, who is seeking to oust him in Sunday’s election, had used the dissatisfaction of the French public to succeed in her campaign. Mr Macron has been campaigning heavily to win re-election after admitting that nothing was certain following the first round of voting, which saw the far-Right candidate gain ground. See the latest opinion polls.

Friday long-read: The death of beauty – and why women are going back to basics

The pandemic saw many women embrace a more natural look and ditch expensive cosmetics. Laura Craik says the trend is not going anywhere. Read the feature.

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