The British Prime Minister has started to withdraw staff from the Ukraine as intelligence reports suggest Vladamir Putin could be preparing to invade the country.
Although the intelligence reports suggest an invasion is imminent there is no evidence to suggest Russia will target UK diplomats, according to James Landale, Diplomatic Correspondent for the BBC.
In a post on Twitter, he wrote: “Instead, it was a response to the growing risk of a Russian incursion into Ukraine.”
The US will also pull out non-essential embassy staff as “early as this week.” Scott Anderson, a former legal adviser for the US Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, said that this “is not a good sign.”
Anderson wrote, “The basic logic here is to do whatever you can to reduce the number of people you will have to evacuate if/when hostilities really start in earnest.
“If something was clearly imminent, they probably wouldn’t wait until Monday or limit themselves to family members.”
The UK Foreign Office said on Monday, “Some Embassy staff and dependents are being withdrawn from Kiev in response to growing threat from Russia.
“The British Embassy remains open and will continue to carry out essential work.”
Moscow has deployed fighter jets close to the Ukrainian border and Russians troops continue to encircle the Ukraine and Europe is bracing for war.
Western officials and analysts have confirmed that Russia has sent SU-35S fighter jets from Russia to Belarus, near to the Ukrainian border.
Moscow has sent their elite special forces Spetsnav troops and s-400 Triumph air-defence systems also to Belarus and has more than 100,000 Russian troops at the border, which is far more than needed for normal military training drills.
More than a third of Russia’s total military including over 60 battalion tactical troops has been deployed near to the Ukrainian border.
A senior US state department official said with Moscow sending more forces in to Belarus, this represent an “increased capability for Russia to launch this attack, increased opportunity, increased avenues, increased routes.”
The official said, “What concerns us is the total picture. It is the amassing of 100,000 troops along Ukraine’s borders combined with moving forces into Belarus over the weekend.
“These numbers are beyond, of course, what we would expect with regard to a normal exercise.”
Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab warned on Sunday there was a “very significant risk” of a Russian invasion of its neighbour.
“The world needs to keep its eye on this and be very clear with President Putin that it would not do this cost-free, that there would be a price,” he told the BBC.
“A price in terms of the strenuous defence that we would expect the Ukrainians to put up, but also the economic cost through sanctions, which are of course more effective if the international community speaks as one or at least with a broad consensus.”