'New Cold War' fears and Prince George Down Under in papers

Two women hold banners reading "hands off Ukraine" in different languages, in Kiev's Independence Square Image copyright AFP

Many of Monday's newspapers choose to use the same words to describe the diplomatic tension between Moscow and the international community over Ukraine - a "new Cold War".

The Daily Mail sees the situation as the "biggest international crisis" since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Europe's peace is at risk but "with little or no appetite to counter Putin's aggression with military force, the West appeared to be struggling to agree on an effective response," it says.

As Russia made further advances across the Crimean peninsula over the weekend, the Times says Europe's two biggest states were on the "brink of armed conflict".

And as more Ukrainian army bases in Crimea were surrounded by Russian troops, the stand-off between the opposing forces is described in detail by correspondents.

The same photograph of Ukrainian soldiers lined up behind the gates of an infantry base in the village of Perevalnoye in Crimea appears on several front pages.

Image copyright AP

In a dispatch from the area published on the Independent's front page, Kim Sengupta describes the situation at Perevalnoye as an "act of symbolic defiance against overwhelming might, as the Kremlin closed in on total control of Crimea".

For Courtney Weaver in the Financial Times the Russian soldiers in the area were "an impressive sight. But it still did not feel like an invasion".

"A group of older women stood casually watching the Russians lined up on one side of the gate and the Ukrainians, their would-be enemy, on the other," she writes.

"Nearby a few parents had taken their children out to watch the spectacle and take photographs."

The Guardian's Shaun Walker, who witnessed similar scenes in the city of Feodosia,, says: "The resolution to this standoff remains precariously inconclusive.

"If Saturday was the day when Vladimir Putin won official backing from his parliament to introduce troops to Ukraine, Sunday was when Russia mobilised its military to attempt to win the new Crimean war without firing a single bullet."

Meanwhile, in Kiev, the Daily Telegraph's Damian McElroy witnessed "revolutionary fervour" returning to Independence Square as the "city came to terms with Vladimir Putin's threats of war".

He writes: "A week after President Viktor Yanukovych had fled from his post, the square had become a focus of mourning for the victims of the revolution. With the Kremlin menacing the new order, the bystanders clutching flowers were outnumbered by men in fatigues... thousands gathered to demonstrate a reborn defiance."

'Formidable weapon'

Image copyright AP
Image caption The Academy Award results came too late for the front pages - but there are plenty of photographs from pre-ceremony events in the papers

The potential for UK gas prices to rise because of the situation in Ukraine is highlighted in several papers including the Daily Mirror, which talks on its front page of Russian President Vladimir Putin's "aggressive annexing of the key pipeline region" of Crimea.

It quotes Leslie Holmes, a professor at the University of Melbourne, as saying the fact that Europe is heavily dependent on Russian oil and gas means Russia holds a "trump card" in the dispute.

The Financial Times points out that Russia stands to hurt its own economy if it opts to play the "gas card".

But it agrees it is a "formidable weapon to deploy", saying signs emerged over the weekend that the Kremlin would be willing to use its gas exports to Ukraine to apply pressure on the interim government in Kiev.

In an editorial, the Guardian says the "scale of Moscow's revenge" following the overthrow of the Kremlin-backed Ukrainian president at the end of last month "is becoming clearer by the hour".

"Kiev's revolution is seen as Moscow's loss, therefore it must be Nato's gain, so therefore Russia must act," it adds, urging the international community to use "every diplomatic means at its disposal to rein Mr Putin in".

For the Times, President Putin is leading Russia into a state of isolation by the West.

"Peace now rests in the conscience of President Putin, who seems oblivious to the fact that he is leading Russia into global pariah status," it says in an editorial.

But columnist Jonathan Steele, writing in the Guardian, says the responsibility for eliminating concerns lies not in Washington, Brussels or Moscow, but solely in Kiev.

"Both John Kerry's threats to expel Russia from the G8 and the Ukrainian government's plea for Nato aid mark a dangerous escalation of a crisis that can easily be contained if cool heads prevail," he writes.

'Loose threads'

There's a warning in the Daily Telegraph from London Mayor Boris Johnson that Muslim children at risk of radicalisation at the hands of their parents are victims of a "form of child abuse "and should be taken into care.

In his weekly column in the paper, he called for youngsters to be removed to stop them being turned into "potential killers or suicide bombers... for their own safety and for the safety of the public".

The Daily Express highlights a survey by Canada Life Group Insurance in which 66% of respondents accepted they would have to work past the age of 65.

The vast majority say they have no other option as the soaring cost of living means they cannot survive on their pension alone, the Express says.

Analysis by the Times suggests that households face inflation-busting rises to parking, pest control and waste charges this year as councils struggle to balance their books. According to the paper, several authorities are planning to introduce fees in new areas.

Reforms approved by Labour Party to change its historic links with the unions attract comment.

In an editorial, the Times says there are "plenty of loose threads to tie up before the package can be declared a success" and sees "missed opportunities".

Former party fundraiser Lord Levy tells the paper that Labour leader Ed Miliband has no choice now but to seek out major private donors to help fill holes in party finances.

The Guardian believes Mr Miliband is "pitching it too high" when he describes the reforms as the biggest change to the party in nearly 100 years. But it says Labour "may just have entered a brave new political world".

A UK parliamentary inquiry that recommends laws criminalising women working as prostitutes be replaced with penalties targeting their clients, is a "step in the right direction", the Independent says in its leader.

"MPs are right to say that one of the root problems with Britain's laws on the sex trade is that they send conflicting messages about who is in the wrong."

The paper says the changes advocated "tip the balance against pimps, traffickers, blackmailers - and men who use violence".

George's debut

Confirmation that Prince George will accompany the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their visit to New Zealand and Australia in April prompts the papers to draw comparisons with his father's first visit Down Under.

At nine months old Prince George will be the same age as William when he travelled with Prince Charles and Princess Diana in 1983.

The Times reminds its readers that when the baby prince arrives in Wellington on 7 April, it will be the first time he has been glimpsed in public since his christening last October.

Image copyright AFP

A nanny has been hired for the trip - as up to now the couple have not had the use of a full-time helper, it adds.

The Daily Mail notes that the Queen has formally given her permission for Prince George to fly with his parents, as Royal protocol indicates that immediate heirs to the throne should not travel together for security reasons.

A Kensington Palace spokesman quoted in the Daily Telegraph says that although taking a baby on a royal tour is not a first "there has been much to think about" and the need to minimise the amount of travel has "absolutely been in their consideration".

According to the Telegraph, third-in-line to the throne Prince George will take part in his debut public engagement - "the first of the many thousands of royal duties he has ahead of him" - on 9 April when he attends a parent-and-toddler group in Wellington with the duke and duchess.

The Daily Express says "sometimes it seems as if working members of the Royal Family, like policemen, are getting younger all the time".

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