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UK tells British nationals in Ukraine not to expect military evacuation

Randy Mancini 5 Feb 12
Ukrainian service members guard the area near the line of separation in the Donetsk Region
FILE PHOTO: A service member of the Ukrainian armed forces walks at combat positions near the line of separation from Russian-backed rebels outside the town of Avdiivka in the Donetsk Region, Ukraine February 10, 2022. REUTERS/Oleksandr Klymenko/File Photo

February 12, 2022

LONDON (Reuters) – British nationals who choose to stay in Ukraine should not expect a military evacuation if conflict with Russia breaks out, junior defence minister James Heappey told Sky News on Saturday.

“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,” he said.

On Friday the UK government advised British nationals to leave Ukraine now while commercial means were still available and advised against all further travel to the country.

Heappey said no decision had yet been made on Britain’s diplomatic presence in Ukraine.

British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said on Friday British troops sent to Ukraine for training purposes would return soon.

“There will be no British troops in Ukraine if there is any conflict with Russia,” said Heappey.

U.S. President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin were set to speak on Saturday as Western nations warned that a war in Ukraine could ignite at any moment.

(Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Frances Kerry)