Ukraine: British expat discusses plan if invasion happens
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Dave Basset, who runs the YouTube channel “Random Dave Vlogs”, has been living in Ukraine for the past four years and has been documenting his life there with his family. But Mr Basset spoke to Express.co.uk about the concerns some expats have as he reveals they have been told very little about any potential evacuation should Russia invade. Instead, the vlogger and others have been forced to come up with their own plans with Mr Basset stating he could not rely on “one source” to protect him and told Express.co.uk what life was like on the ground.
Mr Basset moved from Devon to Bila Tserkva, which is 50 miles south of the capital Kyiv, where he lives with his family.
While the Briton said life was carrying on like normal and that Ukrainians have gotten used to the threat of Russian aggression, some expats have put in place plans to ensure they are not caught short.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Mr Basset said: “I’ve been keeping tabs on certain sources and information sources.
“The only thing I have come across is the UK travel advice to Ukraine which says to register with the Foreign Office, just to register your presence in Ukraine.
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“And they will keep you updated via email if they need to.
“So that’s the only information at the moment and that’s why I feel it’s important not to rely on one source, you need to have a plan yourself.
“But if things do come to a head, yes I do hope the UK Government would be transparent and would give you the relevant information if you need it.”
The YouTuber revealed he has put together a grab bag in case he needs to flee quickly and has noted the quickest ways to get to the nearest airports and border crossings.
Boris Johnson pledges support to Ukraine amid invasion fears
Mr Basset explained his grab bag included important documentation, such as passports, change of clothes, non-perishable foods and other items so he could leave at a moment’s notice.
He also revealed he knew some people, such as an Australian man, have cut their stay in Ukraine short due to the concerns on the border.
Despite his plans, Mr Basset explained he would not simply “up and leave” should things take a turn for the worst and refused to abandon his life in Ukraine unless absolutely necessary.
Mr Basset has also spoken to civilian Ukrainians about the issue and explained many took the situation with a pinch of salt as they remember the annexation of Crimea in 2014.
The filmmaker said civilians had gotten used to the tension on the border and believed many of them were “proud” and would stand up to Putin if needed.
Ultimately, Mr Basset said many were “trying to live their lives” and said many refused to “panic” over the situation.
According to the Mirror, government officials are drawing up plans which involve sending troops from 16 Air Assault Brigade to evacuate UK nationals from Ukraine should an invasion occur.
The same unit helped in Kabul last year and rescued thousands of people when the city was taken over by the Taliban.
The Mirror suggests evacuation centres would be set up at military and civilian airfields.
Last week, some US and UK officials were withdrawn from embassies in Ukraine as invasion fears boiled over.
Mr Basset said it was “worrying” but continued to keep a keen eye on the situation so he could react to any sudden changes.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited Ukraine to show the UK’s support against Russian aggression on the border.
Mr Johnson stood by President Volodymyr Zelensky and told Putin to “step back” and said a range of sanctions would “be enacted the moment the first Russian toe cap crossed further into Ukrainian territory”.
Mr Zelensky thanked his “friend and partner” Mr Johnson.
But the domestic issues in the UK continued to dog the Prime Minister after he was asked by the BBC whether the international community could take him seriously considering the issues at home.
Mr Johnson said his “focus is on delivering on priorities of the British people”.
He added Ukrainians will put “up a fierce and bloody resistance” should Russian troops move in.
Leader of the Ukrainian Voice party, Kira Rudik, also spoke to Express.co.uk about the situation in Ukraine and warned Putin may not stop with them.
She said: “Last, for the EU countries Ukraine right now is a democratic shield, imagine what would happen if we fail?
“I don’t want to think about it but that would mean that European countries will have the aggressor at their border.
“And we know how it is and I would generally tell you that this is not a pleasant situation.”
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