Thursday morning news briefing: Russia turns screw on global food supplies

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Russia is feared to be embarking on a "deliberate policy" of disrupting food supplies. Western officials have said that Vladimir Putin is "weaponising" global reserves by stealing grain and destroying agricultural equipment as part of his war in Ukraine.

The Kremlin is believed to be dismantling infrastructure needed for food production and blocking ports that are vital in shipping cereals out of the country, which is known as the breadbasket of Europe.

The Russian army has destroyed silos and other food production infrastructure in cities such as Kherson, Luhansk and Donetsk, according to sources.

As economics reporter Tom Rees writes, the UN estimates that 1.7 billion people in more than 100 countries are being affected by the current surge in food, energy and commodity prices – raising the prospect of starvation in developing countries.

Official figures revealed yesterday that grocery bills in the UK rose at their fastest pace for more than a decade in April, helping to drive inflation to a 40-year high of 9 per cent.

Danielle Sheridan with her dog - Paul Grover for The Telegraph
Danielle Sheridan with her dog - Paul Grover for The Telegraph

As the invasion continues in Ukraine, with Moscow having deployed its "Terminator" military vehicles, our defence correspondent Danielle Sheridan has returned from the war zone – and brought a dog back with her.

As she reported from the frontline, she fell in love with a forgotten victim inside a blown-up house that was "all red fur and big eyes" and just could not leave her. Danielle tells her extraordinary war love story.

Autumn Budget tax cuts removed from speech

As the British economy teeters on the brink of recession in the face of the cost-of-living crisis, Rishi Sunak last night vowed to cut taxes on business.

In a speech, the Chancellor urged companies to increase spending to prevent a sharp downturn and pledged to slash the tax burden to help them do so.

But a specific reference to business tax cuts in the autumn Budget appeared to have been removed from the address shortly before it was delivered at the annual dinner of the Confederation of British Industry.

Giulia Bottaro and Dominic Penna report that Mr Sunak's vow to cut the tax burden will nonetheless be seen as an effort to build bridges with big business after years of disagreements over Brexit – but he made no such promise over personal taxation.

Could you pass a primary school maths test?

In these days of Googling everything, you might think maths does not matter anymore. After all, when was the last time you needed to jot down a quadratic equation or calculate using pi? Yet it is still important for everyday life and for giving your brain the odd MOT. After the National Numeracy charity said that almost half of adults now have the ability of a primary school child, Michael Hogan challenges you to try this interactive maths test for 10-year-olds (without using a calculator).

Daily dose of Matt

In his latest cartoon, Matt finds a joke in the soaring cost of groceries. View cartoonist Blower's latest work, plus see how you can buy one of his Platinum Jubilee jigsaw puzzles.

Also in the news: Today's other headlines

Exclusive | An allegation of rape against a Tory MP was made by a male politician who was a teenager when they first met, The Telegraph understands, as the Conservative Party comes under growing pressure to name him. The MP was released on police bail yesterday, pending further enquiries which police said will occur in mid-June. Our reporting team spoke to a number of sources familiar with the case.

Around the world: Persisting support for Trump

Republican primary elections in Pennsylvania this week were an early rune for 2024. When deciphered, they point to Donald Trump once again being the party's presidential nominee. The highest-profile Trump-backed candidate in Pennsylvania was TV celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz, who is seeking nomination for a Senate seat. But, US editor Nick Allen writes, regardless of whether he squeaks through, his performance shows the persisting depth of Republican support for Mr Trump.

TV celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz at his primary election night watch party. CREDIT: REUTERS - REUTERS
TV celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz at his primary election night watch party. CREDIT: REUTERS - REUTERS

Comment and analysis

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Sport briefing: Shootout heartbreak for Rangers

Rangers faltered at their final Europa League hurdle with a cruel 5-4 penalty shootout defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt in Seville. Jason Burt reports on how close they came to probably the greatest achievement in the storied club's 150-year history. Meanwhile, English clubs face stadium closures as punishment for pitch invasions, with talks planned to prevent the kind of violent scenes that marred the Championship playoff semi-final between Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United.

Business briefing: EU calls for speed limits

Brussels has urged European Union countries to consider telling drivers to cut their motorway speed in the battle to ditch Russian fossil fuel. The European Commission says that saving energy is the "quickest way" to tackle the energy crisis. As Rachel Millard reports, it has published a list of changes in behaviour it argues could cut oil and gas demand by 5pc.

Tonight's dinner

Grilled chicken with coriander and green pepper sauce | A bright and zingy addition to your weeknight repertoire. View the recipe by Angela Hartnett and try our Cookbook newsletter for more inspiration.

Travel: The perfect family getaway for summer

Britons flock to the pretty Tyrolean villages of Austria in the ski season. But if we only visit this region when it is snowing, we may be missing a trick. Rather like dogs for Christmas, it turns out Austria is not just for winter – head there during the summer months and there is a whole range of glorious warm-weather pursuits on offer, each more wholesome and sun-dappled than the last. Anna Selby rounds up your options.

And finally... for this morning's downtime

'I always wanted to look good, but social media has warped reality' | Dr Luke Evans is squirming at the notion of being labelled one of Britain's "hottest" politicians. The GP-turned-Tory-heartthrob has won legions of admirers on social media, where he frequently shares his photographs. So the 39-year-old is arguably better placed than most to campaign on the issue of body image. He tells Camilla Tominey why he wants undoctored photos to be the norm in advertising and online – for the sake of our mental health.

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