Europe braces for WAR: UK evacuates Brit staff from Ukraine as war threat becomes reality

Around half the staff working at the UK embassy in Kiev are expected to leave with their families. The decision was not a result of intelligence targeting UK diplomats, according to James Landale, Diplomatic Correspondent for the BBC.

In a post on Twitter, he wrote: “Instead, it was a response to the growing risk of a Russian incursion into Ukraine.”

This follows the decision of the US to evacuate its non-essential embassy staff from “as early as [this] week”.

Scott Anderson, a former legal adviser for the US Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, responded to the US decision on Saturday, stressing: “This is not a good sign.”

But he added a note of caution against drawing grand conclusions.

He wrote: “The basic logic here is to do whatever you can to reduce the number of people you will have to evacuate if/when hostilities really start in earnest.

“If something was clearly imminent, they probably wouldn’t wait until Monday or limit themselves to family members.”

Germany is taking a slightly more relaxed approached, having only begun working on plans to evacuate its embassy staff in Ukraine should the situation get worse.

The UK Foreign Office said today, on Monday: “Some Embassy staff and dependants are being withdrawn from Kiev in response to growing threat from Russia.

READ MORE: Russia war fears escalate as Germany and US order Ukraine evacuation

At diplomatic talks earlier this month, Russia insisted it had “no plans” to invade its neighbour.

It stressed its opposition to NATO allying with Ukraine.

But the US rebuked this demand, with Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman declaring: “We will not allow anyone to slam closed NATO’s open-door policy.”

Last week, the UK sent around 30 elite troops to Ukraine, along with 2,000 anti-tank missile launchers.

If it were inclined to do so, Russia could launch a “devastating” attack on Ukraine “at little to no notice”, according to private intelligence firm Dragonfly.

It added that efforts to deter the Kremlin from launching an attack “appear to have failed”, though an invasion does not, at this stage, look “imminent”.

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