Putin's Ukraine 'war of words', protein fears and Chanel show

Col Yuli Mamchuck, right, speaks to troops under Russian command occupying the Belbek airbase in Crimea Image copyright Getty Images

Tensions in Ukraine continue to create front-page headlines, with the Guardian saying a "war of words" has developed between the US and Russia.

And reporters on the front line witness remarkable scenes in the stand-off between Ukrainian troops and Russian counterparts who have seized bases in Crimea.

The Daily Mail's Ian Birrell describes how the first shot fired in anger - by a Russian soldier - made a hero of "rumpled, unshaven colonel" Yuri Mamchuck, of Ukraine, for marching his unarmed troops to the base in the face of warning shots fired overhead.

"Despite being heavily outnumbered and faced by Russian special forces, Mamchuck insisted the base should be returned to him... No-one on the Russian side seemed empowered to take a decision." The Sun prints a transcript of some of the "battle of words" alongside photographs of the incident.

Meanwhile, the Times sees the scene mirrored diplomatically, with Russian President Vladimir Putin "firing warning shots at the West" by threatening to send Russian troops deeper into Ukraine. Meanwhile, Washington and the EU launched a "bidding war" for Ukraine's loyalty by offering it billions of dollars in emergency funds, the paper says.

The Independent says the US has threatened Russia with "political, diplomatic and economic isolation" and that this was echoed by the UK.

However, the sketchwriters were not convinced by Britain's response. John Crace in the Guardian describes Foreign Secretary William Hague unveiling his "inaction plan" to the Commons. "The only current options were the same as before: not sending government representatives to the Paralympics and slowing visa applications for Russians... he might even cancel a trip to the Bolshoi Ballet. Putin must be terrified."

Ann Treneman, in the Times, says: "I do not call him William Vague for nothing."

With "no end in sight" to the crisis, the Independent's front page borrows from the Sound of Music in wondering: "How do you solve a problem like Crimea?"

The Sunday Post's James Millar, reviewing papers for the BBC News Channel, said the headline reflected a change in the coverage: "It doesn't feel quite so urgent or dangerous [but] I don't think we're quite ready for jokes in headlines of so-called serious newspapers."

The Sun's Sam Carlisle added: "This was a Sun headline we used on [North] Korea, quite famously… so I'm really surprised to see it in this context."

Too much of a good thing?

The first day of Lent is marked by a slew of stories about the perils of eating too much of one thing or another.

According to the Daily Telegraph's front page, eating too much meat could be "as dangerous as smoking" for middle-aged people. It quotes a US study that tracked thousands of adults for nearly 20 years and found those who ate a diet rich in animal protein were four times more likely to die of cancer than someone with a low-protein diet.

The Times spells out how a "person of average weight" might hit their recommended daily protein intake of 50g, suggesting a glass of milk, a banana, a cheese and tomato sandwich, and chicken breast with salad. It prints a cartoon of two forlorn-looking men wearing T-shirts, with one reading "meat is murder" and the other "cheese is suicide".

If that's enough to put you off your steak and have you reaching for a bottle of wine, there's little comfort in the Daily Express. "Binge drinking in middle age doubles the risk of an early death even when weekly consumption is within recommended levels," it quotes research as saying.

But it's sugar in foods that the government's "health tsar" has in her sights, according to the Independent. It says chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies told MPs the UK had "normalised being overweight" and suggested: "We may need to move towards some kind of sugar tax."

The Daily Mail illustrates the story by speaking to one woman who kicked a "50 teaspoons a day" habit, which was "so severe that she was left in tears, short-tempered, listless and depressed" before quitting the white stuff last year.

Aisle style

Image copyright Reuters

Photographs of celebrities dressed-down and hiding behind sunglasses while picking up groceries may be a staple of women's magazines but Cara Delevingne, Rihanna and Keira Knightley are all pictured in Wednesday's newspapers wandering the aisles of the "Chanel Shopping Center" developed for designer Karl Lagerfeld's latest show during Paris Fashion Week.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption "Le lampshade"

Carolyn Asome was there for the Times: "Fancy whipping up a tagliatelle pomodoro, Chanel style, when you get home tonight? You'd be able to if you were one of the lucky few who smuggled out Chanel-brand pasta sauce from yesterday's show," she says.

Describing a "Supermodel sweep", Imogen Fox writes in the Guardian: "A riot broke out... as well-heeled shoplifters... tried to pilfer household goods and own-brand consumables.

"It was arguably [Lagerfeld's] finest runway reimagining to date. For a designer who has recreated an aeroplane and an iceberg this was quite a feat."

"Is Lagerfeld off his trolley?" wonders the Independent. But its fashion editor Alexander Fury writes: "Karl Lagerfeld's Chanel collections often feel like a supermarket sweep, a riot of tweed and chains, pearls and cashmere... it can all feel a bit overwhelming. But once you find the aisle with the stuff you like, it's easy to make your purchase, and a swift exit."

It's Knightley the tabloids are most interested in, with Daily Express fashion editor Antonia Kraskowski saying she took "optical illusion dressing to a whole new level" in a £3,000 monochrome Lagerfeld outfit.

"All that practice squeezing into corsets for her movie roles must have paid off," suggests Daily Mail showbusiness correspondent Simon Cable, comparing the actress's waist size with that of Victoria Beckham but noting she's still more than eight inches larger than the world record.

The Daily Mirror isn't so sure about the look, branding the dress "le lampshade". Its style editor Dinah Turner adds: "The trend for dressing yourself slim is one I love but while most of us can afford to lose a few pounds Keira certainly can't."

Regardless of what's going on at the Paris shows, according to the Daily Telegraph, "the most stylish French women are... British". It names Kristin Scott Thomas, Jane Birkin, Talia Collins and Charlotte Rampling as examples, underneath an interview with the former Harvey Nichols fashion director - and, for the last six months, Galeries Lafayette commercial director - Averyl Oates.

Hodgson's choice

Image copyright various

Football writers look ahead to the home nations' involvement in a round of international friendly matches but seem less interested in the opposition than whom England manager Roy Hodgson might take to the World Cup.

"Who'll be left-back at home?" wonders the Daily Express. With Everton's Leighton Baines seemingly a shoo-in to make the trip to Brazil, the Daily Star bills the friendly against Denmark in the style of a boxing match, with Chelsea's Ashley "Crusher" Cole in one corner and Southampton's Luke "Pretty Boy" Shaw in the other, in the fight to be second choice.

For the Daily Mail, it's "the Shaw thing v Old King Cole". Meanwhile, the Sun catches up with Shaw's former PE teacher who reveals that as a youngster, the Southampton star "hero-worshipped" the man he's fighting for a place in the squad.

Meanwhile, the cricket writers pay tribute to South Africa captain Graeme Smith after his final Test appearance. Andy Bull, in the Guardian, recalls that Smith's "iron will" broke three England captains.

One former England captain, Michael Vaughan, attributes 60% of South Africa's achievements in getting to - and staying at - the top of the Test rankings to Smith's influence and writes in the Telegraph that he'll leave a "huge hole" in the country's sport.

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