UK Reportedly Has 'Exit Strategy' for Its Troops From Ukraine if ‘Conflict’ With Russia Escalates
14:41 GMT 27.12.2021 (Updated: 15:17 GMT 28.05.2023)
The US and EU have accused Russia of massing troops on the border with Ukraine in what Kiev claims is preparation for an invasion. Russia, which insists it is at liberty to move military personnel anywhere within its territory, on 17 December published its proposals on mutual security guarantees with the US and NATO.
British troops deployed in a training and advisory role in Ukraine
will be swiftly evacuated in the event of an alleged "Russian invasion", the Daily Express reported.
Commanders of the British Armed Forces have already drawn up such contingency plans, according to sources cited by the outlet.
Currently, over a 100 British personnel, predominantly stationed at Yavoriv, Lviv region, are believed to be deployed in the country together with Polish, US, and Canadian forces.
The purported exit strategy presupposes that UK troops would be able to drive to the Polish border, just a short distance away, sources claim.
Meanwhile, a small-scale team of officers headquartered in the Ukrainian capital Kiev, in line with the alleged plan, would also head for the border.
The pullout order would allegedly be given by the Chief of British Joint Operations, Lt Gen Charlie Strickland.
"He will be looking carefully to gauge the effect of any incursion on the ability to get his troops out - he cannot allow them to be trapped there", an Army source was cited as saying.
Staff at Permanent Joint HQ in Northwood, Herts are believed to be on standby to monitor "atmospherics", with Lt Gen Strickland receiving twice-daily updates in the volatile situation, the publication writes.
Furthermore, British military chiefs are expected to conduct a full "review" of Operation Orbital - the codename given to the UK Armed Forces' deployment in Ukraine - to ensure all personnel can be "safely withdrawn" if the situation escalates.
British forces have provided short-term training to the Ukrainian Army since 2015. More than 21,000 Ukrainian personnel have received medical, planning, logistics, and infantry training, according to the outlet. In 2019, the operation was extended to 2023 and expanded to include the Royal Navy and Royal Marines.
The report comes as UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said that Britain and its allies are "highly unlikely" to send troops to defend Ukraine in case of an alleged Russian “incursion”.
"We shouldn't kid people we would… The Ukrainians are aware of that", Wallace was quoted as saying by the Spectator magazine.
that Ukraine was "not a member of NATO, so it is highly unlikely that anyone is going to send troops into Ukraine to challenge Russia".
"That is why we are doing the best diplomatically to say to Putin don't do this", he said.
He added that in his opinion, "severe economic sanctions" were the best form of deterrent
24 December 2021, 05:42 GMT
The US and EU have been accusing Moscow of amassing troops near its border with Ukraine, purportedly in anticipation of a "Russian invasion”.
The Kremlin has rejected the accusations, in turn alleging that it was NATO "that was undertaking dangerous attempts to gain a foothold on Ukrainian territory, and building up its military capabilities along the Russian border”.
22 December 2021, 09:18 GMT
On 17 December, Russia released draft security proposals that it wants to sign with the US and other NATO countries. These include mutual security guarantees in Europe, non-deployment of short- and intermediate-range missiles within reach to each other's territory, and NATO's non-expansion eastward into former Soviet republics.
Tensions around Ukraine have been aggravated over the past several weeks by an alleged Russian troop buildup near the Ukrainian border and claims of preparations for an invasion. Moscow has repeatedly denied the accusations, pointing to NATO's military activity near Russia's borders, which it deems a threat to its national security. Russia has also said it has the right to move its forces within its own territory.