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In an historic address to the House of Commons just after 5pm this afternoon (Tuesday 8 March) – the first by a foreign leader – Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky asked prime minister Boris Johnson to “increase the pressure of sanctions” on Russia.

In response, Johnson announced the UK was banning the import of Russian oil – an hour after the US had announced the same measure – as part of a “tightening [of] the economic vice around Vladamir Putin”.

Packed chamber

The packed chamber and galleries gave Zelensky a standing ovation before and after his videolink address, with many MPs wearing Ukrainian national colours.

Zelensky spoke in Ukrainian with MPs listening in through simultaneous translation headsets.

In a speech invoking Winston Churchill and quoting Shakespeare, Zelensky said: "I’m very grateful to you Boris… please increase the pressure of sanctions”. He urged the UK to “make sure our Ukrainian skies are safe” and recognise Russia as a “terrorist state”.

The UK is rejecting calls for a no-fly zone because it would pit NATO fighter jets against Russian fighter jets - a situation which could easily spiral into all-out war. 

The announcement of a UK and US ban on Russian oil imports come in a week of the steepest hike in fuel prices in nearly 20 years – with further rises expected. The average cost of a litre of unleaded is now 155.62p with diesel at a record 161.28p.

World War Two comparison

The single mention of sanctions by Zelensky came as he compared Ukraine to Britain in World War Two, saying people in the UK in the 1940s “didn't want to lose your country when Nazis started to fight your country”. 

Other Russia withdrawals

Shell has said it would stop buying Russian oil and gas and close its service stations in the country, days after it was criticised for profiting from a cargo of cheap Russian crude, reports the FT.

It is the latest company to cease operations in Russia: