UK Reportedly Has 'Exit Strategy' for Its Troops From Ukraine if ‘Conflict’ With Russia Escalates

© AP Photo / Efrem LukatskyUkrainian soldiers atop an APC watch training exercises under the supervision of British instructors on the military base outside Zhitomir, Ukraine, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015
Ukrainian soldiers atop an APC watch training exercises under the supervision of British instructors on the military base outside Zhitomir, Ukraine, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015 - Sputnik International, 1920, 27.12.2021
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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.
© AP Photo / Pavlo PalamarchukSoldiers take part in an exercise at the Yavoriv military training ground, close to Lvov, Western Ukraine, Friday, Sept 24, 2021. Ukraine, the US, and other NATO countries continue joint military drills in Western Ukraine presenting offensive exercises in town-like surroundings with tanks and other military vehicles involved.
Soldiers take part in an exercise at the Yavoriv military training ground, close to Lvov, Western Ukraine, Friday, Sept 24, 2021. Ukraine, the US, and other NATO countries continue joint military drills in Western Ukraine presenting offensive exercises in town-like surroundings with tanks and other military vehicles involved.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 27.12.2021
Soldiers take part in an exercise at the Yavoriv military training ground, close to Lvov, Western Ukraine, Friday, Sept 24, 2021. Ukraine, the US, and other NATO countries continue joint military drills in Western Ukraine presenting offensive exercises in town-like surroundings with tanks and other military vehicles involved.
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.

Wallace emphasized 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.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during a news conference following a meeting with Guatemalan Foreign Minister Pedro Brolo Vila at the Russian Foreign Ministry's Reception House in Moscow. - Sputnik International, 1920, 24.12.2021
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