- Britain’s armed forces minister warned that missiles will hit Ukraine minutes after Putin's orders.
- The minister said that he feared a Russian attack on Ukraine was now “very imminent”.
- The Britain spokesperson also added that the launch of missiles could come with 'no notice'.
Russia-Ukraine crisis updates: As fears of Russia's invasion looms, Britain’s armed forces minister James Heappey on Monday warned that missiles will hit Ukraine minutes after Russian President Vladimir Putin's orders. In a conversation with Sky News, the minister said that he feared a Russian attack on Ukraine was now “very imminent”.
The minister also said that the deployment of at least 130,000 troops around Ukraine’s borders is part of a “coercive diplomacy” strategy. He stressed that Putin had now already deployed all military assets that are needed for the invasion. He added that the launch of missiles could come with 'no notice'.
Heappey also told British citizens to leave Ukraine now, as commercial flights, roadways, and other transport ways are still available. “This isn’t a warning about something which could happen in three months' time. This is a warning because minutes after Putin gives the order missiles and bombs could be landing on Ukrainian cities and that means British citizens should leave now while they have the opportunity,” he added.
On Sunday, many airlines have canceled or diverted flights to Ukraine amid heightened fears that an invasion by Russia is imminent despite intensive weekend talks between the Kremlin and the West.
Ukraine’s air traffic safety agency Ukraerorukh declared the airspace over the Black Sea to be a “zone of potential danger” because of Russian naval drills and recommended that planes avoid flying over the sea Feb. 14-19.
The U.S. and its NATO allies have repeatedly warned that Russia will pay a high price for any invasion — but they have sometimes struggled to present a united front.
Russia has repeatedly brushed off Ukrainian and Western concerns about the military buildup, saying it has the right to deploy forces wherever needed on its territory. On Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov accused Ukraine of fueling tensions by beefing up its forces near the territories controlled by Russia-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine.