British nationals have been urged by the Foreign Office to leave Ukraine immediately “while commercial means are still available”.
The Foreign Office updated its advice as Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said Russia could mount an invasion of Ukraine “at any time” – warning that conflict would have “tragic consequences” for both countries.
Following talks in Moscow with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu, Mr Wallace said he had received an assurance the Kremlin was not planning to attack its southern neighbor.
But with 130,000 Russian troops massed along the borders and large-scale military exercises taking place in Belarus, he said they would judge such assurances by Moscow’s actions.
A Foreign Office spokesman said: “The safety and security of British nationals is our top priority, which is why we have updated our travel advice.
“We urge British nationals in Ukraine to leave now via commercial means while they remain available.”
It comes as Boris Johnson told world leaders including US President Joe Biden that he fears for the security of Europe, according to Downing Street.
After a virtual call, a No 10 spokesman said: “The Prime Minister told the group that he feared for the security of Europe in the current circumstances.
“He impressed the need for Nato allies to make it absolutely clear that there will be a heavy package of economic sanctions ready to go, Russia should make the devastating and destructive decision to invade Ukraine.
“The Prime Minister added that President Putin had to understand that there would be severe penalties that would be extremely damaging to Russia’s economy, and that Allies needed to continue with efforts to reinforce and support the Eastern frontiers of Nato.
“He urged the leaders to work together to deliver economic and defensive support to Ukraine.
“The leaders agreed that if President Putin deescalated, there was another way forward, and they pledged to redouble diplomatic efforts in the coming days.”
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