Newspaper headlines: 'Final push' to avert Ukraine invasion amid war fears – BBC

By BBC News

The prospect of war in Ukraine is the focus for most front pages.
Under a headline: "Frantic 48 hours to save Europe from war," the Daily Mail speaks of Boris Johnson leading a last-ditch "diplomatic blitz" to avert an imminent Russian invasion.
The Daily Telegraph quotes Whitehall sources as saying the UK is determined to play a leading role in shaping the West's response to Vladimir Putin amid concerns that it was "too absent" when he illegally annexed Crimea in 2014.
According to the Telegraph and the Daily Express, the prime minister will focus on engaging with the Nordic and Baltic nations, with whom Britain has strong defence ties.
Last night, Downing Street spoke of a "window of opportunity" to persuade Moscow to "step back from the brink".
However, Metro reports that Russia has laughed off the threat of sanctions.
Under a headline, "West can't Vladi scare Putin," it quotes the Russian ambassador to Sweden, Viktor Tatarintsev, ridiculing the idea of economic reprisals in a foul-mouthed rant.
The Guardian notes that dozens of Western diplomats in Kyiv were packing their bags last night, as many countries issued a clear warning to their citizens still in Ukraine: get out now.
The Financial Times reports that Ukraine's neighbours are preparing to receive a flood of refugees in the event of military action.
It says Washington has predicted that up to five million people could cross the country's western border.
According to the i, with up to 150,000 troops now massed near Ukraine, the Russian leader has created a "crescendo opportunity".
Meanwhile the Daily Mirror talks of a "countdown to war" as "Putin turns the screws", and the world "holds its breath".
The Times observes that, not since the build-up to the Iraq war, have America and its allies released so much secret intelligence.
But the paper says a better comparison is with the Cuban missile crisis, because unlike Iraq, the Biden administration is emulating President Kennedy in waging an information campaign to try to avoid war.
US officials are said to hope that their intelligence sharing could still deter Mr Putin from invading.
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Away from Ukraine, British households face soaring gas and electricity bills. An investigation by the Independent has found that the country's "big six" energy firms have banked more than £7bn in operating profits in the past five years.
The Independent points out that a Labour call for a windfall tax on oil and gas companies in the North Sea – which has been rejected by the government – would not apply to the biggest suppliers of energy.
The Times is one of a number of papers to tell of the compensation sent to 74 customers of Northern Powergrid, who suffered power cuts during Storm Arwen in November.
Because of a clerical error, they received cheques for trillions of pounds. Sadly for them, they could not cash them.
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