Paul Wood

Paul Wood was a BBC foreign correspondent for 25 years, in Belgrade, Athens, Cairo, Jerusalem, Kabul and Washington DC. He has won numerous awards, including two US Emmys for his coverage of the Syrian civil war

Cornered: what will Putin do now?

41 min listen

In this week’s episode: For the cover of the magazine, Paul Wood asks whether Putin could actually push the nuclear button in order to save himself? He is joined by The Spectator’s assistant online editor Lisa Haseldine, to discuss (01:03). Also this week: Why is there violence on the streets of Leicester? Douglas Murray writes about this

Cornered: could Putin go nuclear?

At the start of the war in Ukraine, I was given a recording made by the Ukrainian intelligence services. It was described as an intercepted call from an officer at Russia’s nuclear missile base in Siberia to a relative in Kyiv. The line crackles and a man speaks in Russian: ‘I don’t know what I

When the Queen worked her magic on the BBC

The Queen and Prince Philip had written their names in the visitors’ book at a country house where I was a weekend guest; my hostess, a member of a family with a long and storied lineage, had been an intimate of the Royal Family for decades. But at dinner, I nearly choked on my Beef

Is Biden ready to let MBS get away with murder?

President Joe Biden will have only himself to blame if he feels a little uncomfortable this week when he sits down with the man who runs Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Mohammed ‘Bone Saw’ bin Salman (MBS). After the CIA accused MBS of ordering the murder of the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi – dismembered with a

Europe’s last dictator: Lukashenko’s fate depends on Ukraine

A young man wearing combat fatigues and an extravagant moustache, and carrying a heavy machine-gun over his shoulder, nods towards some burned-out armoured vehicles. ‘We smashed the orcs today,’ he says, using the Ukrainian soldiers’ term for the invading Russians, a reference to the sub-human legion in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. He goes

Can the west end the Ukraine war?

45 min listen

The Spectator’s contributing editor Paul Wood interviews Dr Fiona Hill of the Brookings Institution, who also served as a director within President Trump’s national security council, where her brief focused on Europe and Russia. This conversation was a joint production with the Institute for War and Peace Reporting. Founded in 1991, IWPR is a non-profit

Chernobyl Two?

The electricity supply to the ruined nuclear plant at Chernobyl in Ukraine has been cut off. According to one knowledgeable source I spoke to, this is a serious problem as power is needed to pump water around spent nuclear fuel rods stored there. There is a back-up diesel generator, but it has just one day’s

‘Help us, before it’s too late’

Western Ukraine Outside a military recruiting centre in Lviv, Egor Grushin, one of Ukraine’s most famous classical pianists, was waiting in line to join up. He was tall and slim with a wispy beard, long delicate fingers and large brown eyes that gazed into the middle distance. In other words, he was – as he

Will Putin now roll on to Kiev?

The White House told us with absolute certainty that there would be an invasion of Ukraine this week — instead Vladimir Putin bit off a chunk of Ukraine without firing a shot. Perhaps it seemed to him that recognising the two breakaway territories of Luhansk and Donetsk was a clever move: he had not, after

Theatre of war

34 min listen

In this week’s episode: What is the next act in Putin’s theatre of war? For this week’s cover story, James Forsyth writes about Putin’s dangerous dramatics on the Russian-Ukrainian border and where they might lead. James joins the podcast along with Paul Wood, who writes in this week’s magazine that Putin’s bluff may be backfiring.

Russian roulette: is Moscow’s bluff backfiring?

A bluff only works if you can carry it off convincingly. The massing of some 130,000 Russian soldiers on Ukraine’s borders has led to London and Washington declaring that a full-scale invasion is imminent, but it could still be a feint. The Russians know everything they do can be seen by satellite. On the phone

Putin’s big bluff

My first visit to Ukraine was in 1994. We drove to a village about three hours south of Kiev. The landscape was flat, fields of wheat stretching out in all directions. You could see why Ukraine had been called ‘the breadbasket of the Soviet Union’. An old man in a flat cap waved us over

The collapse: how Red Wall MPs turned on Boris

39 min listen

In this week’s episode: Will the Red Wall crush Boris Johnson? In this week’s Spectator, our political editor James Forsyth and our deputy political editor Katy Balls report on the plot to oust the Prime Minister by Red Wall MPs, and No.10’s battle to save Boris. They join the podcast to give their up to

Why we still need the BBC

My first posting as a BBC foreign correspondent was Belgrade in the mid-1990s. Serbia was led by Slobodan Milosevic, practically the only Communist ruler in eastern Europe not to have been overthrown. He survived by reinventing himself as a nationalist, though he kept the Communists’ secret police. Our secretary was accosted one day by a

Daughters for sale: Afghans are growing desperate

Shukria Abdul Wahid has nine children, two boys and seven girls. All they had to eat yesterday, she says, were two small pieces of stale flatbread — for the whole family. She and her husband went without. They couldn’t even have tea to quieten their own hunger pangs. The gas bottle used to boil water

Colin Powell: A great man – and a failure

My memory of Colin Powell feels personal, even though we were 6,000 miles apart at the time. I was in Baghdad, covering the invasion of Iraq for the BBC. Powell was giving the speech of his life at the UN Security Council, accompanied by Powerpoint, trying to convince the world that Iraq had weapons of

Douglas Murray, Paul Wood, Tanya Gold

19 min listen

On this week’s episode, we’ll hear Douglas Murray on how the pandemic has made cynics of us all. (00:50) Paul Wood on why after 10 years he and his family are leaving Lebanon. (08:02) And finally Tanya Gold gives her review of a Batman-themed restaurant. (14:32) Produced and presented by Sam Holmes

America abandoned this fight before the Afghans did

39 min listen

On this week’s podcast: In the latest issue of The Spectator, we cover the Afghanistan issue extensively, looking at everything from why the West was doomed from the start, to how events in Afghanistan have transformed central Asian politics. On the podcast, journalist Paul Wood and our own deputy editor Freddy Gray, both of whom