Putin's speech, Jagger's reaction to L'Wren Scott death and a Trotter millionaire

Vladimir Putin, centre, joins hands with three Crimean leaders Image copyright Getty Images

Several front pages feature the latest events in Crimea, where a Ukrainian soldier was shot dead on the day Moscow signed a treaty to absorb the region.

The Times says Ukraine is on a war footing, a situation the Sun describes as "Dad's Army v Vlad's Army" - a reference to Kiev's relatively weak military in comparison with that of its neighbour, led by Vladimir Putin.

Roland Oliphant, in the Daily Telegraph, describes how "the tiniest flash of a smirk slipped through the passive visage" of the Russian president as he joined hands with the three Crimean leaders who had "formalised the annexation". Mr Putin referred to the process as a "reunification", notes Mary Dejevsky in the Independent. She describes Mr Putin's "sense of vindication for Crimea's Russians, who had, as he said referring to 1991, gone to bed one night in one country and awoke, as a minority, in another".

Alec Luhn, in the Guardian, samples the "Cold War" atmosphere among the reported 120,000 Russians celebrating the "return" of Crimea in Moscow's Red Square, where people interrupted their president by chanting his name.

'Pooh' and Putin

Image copyright AFP

Giles Whittell, in the Times, translates what Mr Putin said in his speech to "what he meant" and suggests what was left "unsaid".

In the speech, the writer finds a threat to make life hard for Western interests in Russia, along with a statement that Russia does not want to partition Ukraine which fails to rule out using force there. He suggests that while Mr Putin declares that Russia never aims for confrontation with the West, the hidden implication of his statement is: "If our 'partners' want to start a fight, we say bring it on."

And many papers doubt Mr Putin's motives. The Daily Mail hears in Mr Putin's address "echoes of Hitler's 1938 speech on the seizure of the Sudetenland", the German-speaking area of Czechoslovakia.

The Daily Star's cartoon imagines Mr Putin devouring Crimea as he carves up Ukraine on a plate, while its leader column says: "Politicians in Moscow want their leader to invade more former Soviet states. Oil and gas-rich Kazakhstan... is top of the list."

The West's response - in the form of sanctions against a number of Russian individuals - is roundly condemned in the press as "weak", with historian Max Hastings summing up Britain's retaliation in the Mail: "[Foreign Seretary] William Hague's stern remarks about Ukraine impress foes and friends alike no more than the same lines delivered by Winnie the Pooh."

Meanwhile, in the Financial Times, Guy Chazan finds Crimea's "choicest assets" - oil and gas facilities and ministry or union-owned holiday facilities - in the control of pro-Russian forces, with private business expecting a "carve-up" of property and possessions.

Budget demands

Image copyright The Royal Mint

The Daily Mail is among papers to report that the £1 coin is to be scrapped, leading on the fact it will be replaced by a coin "shaped like an old threepenny bit".

"Unfortunately if you take inflation into account it probably isn't worth much more than the old threepenny bit either," laments the Daily Express.

While any other fresh Budget titbits are seemingly locked away in George Osborne's red despatch box, there's no shortage of advice for the chancellor in the papers.

"Wanted: Budget to end the misery of our hungry poor," says the Daily Mirror's Ros Wynne-Jones, who charts a year of meeting poverty-hit folk and campaigning with faith leaders which culminated in the delivery to Downing Street of a 70,000-name petition calling for an end to UK poverty.

The Sun visits a Downing Street in both Newport and Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester, to hear the demands of residents, which include more support for first-time buyers, help with childcare costs, a cut in petrol prices and a rise in the minimum wage.

Mary Riddell, writing in the Daily Telegraph, says Mr Osborne must show he is "truly on the side of those who suffer" or face handing a decisive victory to Labour, with its repeated claims that the coalition government's policies are "unfair". The Times too, in its editorial column, says the chancellor needs to find a way to "make people feel the recovery".

Before Mr Osborne has even taken to his feet, the Financial Times hands down verdicts on the expected announcements. However, in the eyes of Daniel Finkelstein, of the Times, the Budget is just a "gimmick" and should be "ditched".

"The leader of the opposition is required to give a detailed reply... more or less as soon as the [chancellor] sits down," the writer complains. "What makes this task entirely hopeless is that the speech must be prepared without having seen the Budget... how absurd."


Image copyright various

One man who presumably won't be too worried about how the Budget affects him is Neil Trotter, who won £108m on the Euromillions lottery and - in the process - provided sub-editors with all manner of fun.

"Del Boy Trotter wins £108m," says the Daily Star, enjoying the fact the mechanic shares a name with the Only Fools and Horses character. It notes he even enjoyed a twist on one of Del's catchphrases before the draw, telling friends: "This time tomorrow, I'll be a millionaire."

According to the Daily Mirror, his win puts him 745th on the UK rich list, above singers David Bowie, George Michael and Robbie Williams. It suggests he could splurge on a fleet of 72 Bugatti Veyron cars, 771 pairs of diamond-encrusted shoes, the rights to the Beatles back catalogue or a set of under-performing Tottenham Hotspur summer signings.

"Lovely bubbly," says the Sun, next to an image of Mr Trotter opening a bottle of champagne with girlfriend Nicky Ottaway. It says he could buy 332 flats in Peckham, 71,955 Reliant Robins, or 19,624,109 pina coladas with his winnings. It was "lucky dipstick" that won him the prize, it adds.

Meanwhile, the Daily Express reports an incident "just like a scene from Only Fools". It says: "Life imitated art when a chandelier being lowered for cleaning at a stately home fell, crashing on to a table, causing nearly £3,000 damage to the light fighting."

The paper says it happened at Towneley Hall in Burnley, where the local council reportedly insisted: "This was an unfortunate accident. It was nothing like the Only Fools and Horses Episode."

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