Ukraine crisis: United Kingdom and United States ask their citizens to leave the country as an emergency

Diplomatic relations between British and American partners on the one hand and Russia on the other took a serious chill this week, against a backdrop of crisis at Ukrainian borders. The United Kingdom on Friday asked British citizens to leave Ukraine “immediately” after a tense meeting between Britain’s Defense Minister Ben Wallace and his Russian counterpart.

“The safety of UK citizens is our top priority, which is why we have updated our travel advisory,” a Foreign Office spokesperson said. “We urge British citizens in Ukraine to leave immediately by commercial means as long as they remain available. »

The White House, for its part, asked the Americans to leave Ukraine “within 24 to 48 hours”, adding that a “sharp attack” by Russian forces on Kyiv was possible and that it could also happen “during the Olympic Games” in Beijing. could. which are currently taking place. “We are not saying that the decision has been made, the final decision has been made by President Putin,” White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters. “I expect President Biden to speak with President Putin on the phone, but I have nothing to announce at this time,” he told reporters.

“We fear for Europe’s security,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said during a virtual meeting with his allies on the situation in Ukraine this Friday. Faced with this sudden escalation in tension, Elysee announced that Emmanuel Macron, who spoke at length with Vladimir Poutin on Monday, would speak again with his Russian counterpart on Saturday afternoon.

These statements follow two Russian-British meetings this week that ended in a failed de-escalation. “Alas, the level of our cooperation is almost zero and will soon cross the zero bar and turn negative, which will be undesirable,” Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu warned after a meeting with his British counterpart this Friday.

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He also called on Western countries to stop “feeding” Ukraine with weapons, of which London is one of the suppliers. “We would like to offer to contribute to de-escalating tensions and ending the force-feeding of Ukraine’s arms, which occurs publicly on all sides”, he confirmed. Sergei Shoigu also assured that London had sent “special forces” to Ukraine, refuting comments by Ben Wallace during a press conference from the British Embassy in Moscow.

The latter said that London had sent a “small team” of trainers to Ukraine to train Kyiv in the use of the recently delivered British “defensive” anti-tank weapons. “When the training is over, these soldiers will go home,” he promised. Ben Wallace was more positive than his counterpart, believing that exchanges with him were “constructive” and that relations between London and Moscow were “above zero”.

“Conversation between the deaf and the mute”

Liz Truss, the first head of British diplomacy to visit Russia in four years, called on Vladimir Putin on Thursday to withdraw his troops near Ukrainian borders as a proof of his goodwill. His Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov described their exchanges as “a conversation between a deaf and a dumb one”, accusing him of not listening to Russian concerns about NATO expansion.

While the West accuses Russia of invading Ukraine, the United Kingdom is one of NATO’s most aggressive members against Moscow. A line that can be explained by the huge liabilities between the two countries. Their relationship, which was already strained in the past, reached a new low point after the poisoning, attributed to Moscow, by a former Russian spy and his daughter, London, on British soil in 2018. The United Kingdom also announced on Wednesday it was ready to deploy an additional 1,000 troops in the event of a “humanitarian crisis” linked to tensions in Ukraine.

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About the Author: Forrest Morton

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