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Old 02-12-2022, 05:15 AM
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Exclamation UK to Withdraw Troops From Ukraine as Citizens Are Told to Leave Immediately

UK to Withdraw Troops From Ukraine as Citizens Are Told to Leave Immediately
By: Lily Zhou - The Epoch Times - 02-12-22

UK citizens in Ukraine have been told to leave now by commercial means and the remaining British troops in the eastern European country will be withdrawn this weekend.

It comes after Defence Secretary Ben Wallace suggested Russia is in a position where it can invade Ukraine “at any time.”

After meeting his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu on Friday, Wallace said they had a “frank and constructive” conversation during which he reiterated that the weapons the UK gave Ukraine are “purely defensive” and NATO is not “interested in dividing and ruling Russia” or “seeking confrontation,” while Shoigu assured him that Kremlin was not planning to attack its southern neighbour.

But with 130,000 Russian troops massed along the borders and large-scale military exercises taking place in Belarus, Wallace said although he did take Shoigu’s assurance “seriously,” he would judge such assurances by Moscow’s actions and that he was less optimistic than he had been previously that there could be a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

“Currently there’s over 130,000 troops stationed at readiness or exercising—plus warplanes, plus ships into the Black Sea—on the borders of Ukraine and that is an action that is not normal,” he told a news conference in the British embassy.

“It is beyond normal exercising therefore we will judge that statement on the evidence.”

Wallace said the current disposition of Russian forces meant they could do “a whole range of actions, including an invasion of a neighbouring country, at any time.”

The Foreign Office updated its travel guidance on Friday evening, advising against all travel to Ukraine and telling citizens in the country to “leave now while commercial means are still available.”

Speaking on BBC Breakfast on Saturday, Armed forces minister James Heappey said British nationals should leave immediately.

“We are now confident that the artillery systems, the missile systems, and the combat air are all in place that would allow Russia to launch—at no notice—an attack on Ukraine.”

Heappey said, unlike the situation in Afghanistan, where the Royal Air Force (RAF) was able to carry out a two-week evacuation operation, the RAF “will not be in a position” to airlift civilians out.

“So they need to leave now by commercial means or drive out of Ukraine into a neighbouring country,” he said.

In a separate interview with BBC Radio 4’s “Today” programme, the minister said all British troops helping with training in Ukraine will be “leaving over the course of the weekend.”

“All of them will be withdrawn. There will be no British troops in Ukraine if there is to be a conflict there,” he said.

Photo link:
A Ukrainian Military Forces serviceman aims with a Next generation Light Anti-tank Weapon (NLAW) Swedish-British anti-aircraft missile launcher during a drill at the firing ground of the International Center for Peacekeeping and Security, near the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on Jan. 28, 2022. (AFP via Getty Images)

Former soldier, Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat told the same programme that from his experience, “training local forces to fight for themselves is a significantly better defensive technique than putting troops in.”

“The reality is that the Ukrainians already have some 145,000 in their army, they have another—depending on how you count—100-odd thousand border guard reserves and people like that so they have a significantly larger army even than we do and they are increasingly capable to defend themselves.”

Another former soldier and Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood, who currently chairs Parliament’s Defence Select Committee, argued that British-led Nato divisions should be in Ukraine instead of being around it.

Ellwood said: “This is our Cuban missile crisis moment” as a Russian invasion of Ukraine will affect prices of food, oil, and gas and further threatens European security.

He also said the consequences of allowing Ukraine to fall would see a “new era of instability with a Russia and China axis developing” while the West is “shrinking in size” and authoritarianism is on the rise.

Sir Malcolm Rifkind, who served as the secretary of state in both the foreign and the defence departments under John Major, said it would be “very, very unwise” to have a NATO combat division in Ukraine.

“There can’t be a NATO division in Ukraine; Ukraine’s not a member of NATO and you cannot send troops to that country without being involved in what could turn out to be a full-scale war. That is not going to happen.”

Rifkind said he believes there’s a “serious possibility” that Russia might send troops into part of Ukraine, which would most likely be the land bridge between Donbas and Crimea, but he’s sceptical that Kremlin will launch a full-scale invasion of its southern neighbour.

Note: PA Media contributed to this report.

About this writer: Lily Zhou is a freelance writer mostly covering UK news for The Epoch Times.
Personal note: There comes a time where words don't seem to improve the
issues - this is one. It seems almost inevitable that Russia will eventually
invade - Putin must save face and prove that his decisions are all but
made to invade Ukaine. Options presented by NATO and its dignitaries
seem to fall short of Putin's wants - and inturn he must also save face at
home - and to other world leaders that he can not be appeased with their

O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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