Armed Forces Minister James Heappey has urged British nationals living in Ukraine to “leave now”, warning the RAF will “not be in a position to go in” and rescue them if Russia invades.
Heappey told the BBC Russia was now in a position where it could attack “at no notice”.
He revealed British troops in Ukraine training local forces will depart this weekend and that Britons remaining in the country should not expect a military evacuation.
This follows earlier warnings from the White House that an attack on Ukraine could be imminent, with multiple Western nations now calling for their citizens to return home.
The US has also ordered most of its embassy staff in Kyiv to pack up and leave the country.
The Kremlin has denied any plans to invade Ukraine despite massing over 100,000 troops near its border.
Russia has accused the US of waging a propaganda campaign with its warnings of an invasion, arguing that the “Anglo-Saxons need a war at any cost.”
The country’s foreign ministry said the “hysteria of the White House is more indicative than ever”, adding that “provocations, misinformation and threats are a favourite method of solving their own problems”.
US President Joe Biden is preparing to hold an emergency phone call with Russian premier Vladimir Putin later today as Western leaders attempt to calm tensions in the region.
This follows nearly two hours of discussions between French President Emmanuel Macron and Putin, where Macron warned that “sincere dialogue” is incompatible with escalation.
Meanwhile, several thousand Ukrainians rallied in the country’s capital on Saturday to show unity amid fears of a Russian invasion.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy told people not to panic and pushed back against what he said was a glut of bleak war predictions being reported in the media.
He said: “The best friend of our enemies is panic in our country, and all this information is just provoking panic and can’t help us.”