The Foreign Office has warned that all Brits “should leave Ukraine immediately” and they should not expect a “military evacuation” should war break out with Russia.
Japan, Latvia, Norway, the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand including the US the UK have all issued warnings to their citizens who are still in Ukraine to leave now.
Junior defence minister James Heappey told Sky News, “British nationals should leave Ukraine immediately by any means possible and they should not expect, as they saw in the summer with Afghanistan, that there would be any possibility of a military evacuation.”
All British troops who are in Ukraine to train local troops will be leaving the country this weekend, Heappey told the BBC, “All of them will be withdrawn. There will be no British troops in Ukraine if there is to be a conflict there.”
US national security adviser Jake Sullivan warned, “If a Russian attack on Ukraine proceeds, it is likely to begin with aerial bombing and missile attacks that could obviously kill civilians without regard to their nationality.”
On Friday evening, the Foreign Office issued updated travel guidance to advise British citizens “against all travel to Ukraine.”
“British nationals in Ukraine should leave now while commercial means are still available,” the updated advice added.
“Since January 2022, the build-up of Russian forces on Ukraine’s borders has increased the threat of military action.
“Due to this increased threat, the FCDO has taken the decision to further withdraw embassy staff from Kyiv.
“The embassy remains open but will be unable to provide in-person consular assistance. British nationals should leave while commercial options remain.”
Tthe Prime Minister spoke with the leaders of the US, Italy, Poland, Romania, France, Germany, the EU, and NATO in a virtual meeting on Friday night.
“The prime minister told the group that he feared for the security of Europe in the current circumstances,” a Downing Street spokesperson said.
“He impressed the need for NATO allies to make it absolutely clear that there will be a heavy package of economic sanctions ready to go, should Russia make the devastating and destructive decision to invade Ukraine.
“The Prime Minister added that President [Vladimir] Putin had to understand that there would be severe penalties that would be extremely damaging to Russia’s economy, and that allies needed to continue with efforts to reinforce and support the Eastern frontiers of NATO.
“He urged the leaders to work together to deliver economic and defensive support to Ukraine.”