British troops are ready to evacuate from Ukraine in event of Russian invasion, writes in his article Marco Giannangeli, Sunday Express Defense Editor.
Commanders have drawn up contingency plans to pull British troops from Ukraine in the event of a Russian invasion.
More than 100 are deployed in a training and advisory role with Polish, US and Canadian forces. The move to shape an exit strategy follows Defence Secretary Ben Wallace saying it is “highly unlikely” UK forces will fight Russian troops on Ukrainian soil.
Tensions continue to mount, with more than 100,000 Russian troops said to be near the border.
Satellite images from US firm Maxar Technologies have revealed a new brigade-level unit, consisting of hundreds of tanks and armoured vehicles, situated at an army base in Crimea.
Moscow has also published changes in regulations to allow military fatalities to be buried in theatre rather than be repatriated to Russia.
This is widely seen as an attempt to signal that plans for a military incursion are being made, though Russia denies this. And last night it announced it was pulling back 10,000 troops from close to the Ukrainian border in a surprise move ahead of talks with the US.
However, it represents a fraction of the number still believed to be stationed in the area.
Army chiefs are to mount a full “review” of Operation Orbital to ensure all UK personnel can be “safely withdrawn” if Moscow orders in troops.
Most of the British force is stationed at Yavoriv and these will drive to the Polish border a short distance away, sources say.
A small team of staff officers in the capital Kiev will also head for the border, while a maritime training cadre in Odessa is in the UK for Christmas.
The decision to evacuate will be made by Chief of Joint Operations Lt Gen Charlie Strickland.