Pentagon intel leak shows NATO forces on the ground in Ukraine
One of the leaked classified Pentagon documents reveals that the UK is one of several nations with special forces operating inside Ukraine.
One of the classified US military documents leaked online confirmed what has been a debate for over a year, detailing the presence of 97 NATO special forces operators in Ukraine as of March 1, 2023, of which 50 were British, as per UK media.
As early as March 2, over 100 intelligence papers were posted on Discord, a social media platform popular with gamers, and appeared to contain classified information on Ukraine, Russian military activity, China, and the Middle East.
The document pointed out US and NATO plans for Ukraine's spring offensive against Russia, eviscerating information regarding the weaponry, battalion strengths, and other sensitive data regarding the war in Ukraine.
The paper, dated March 23, asserts that the UK has the most presence of special forces in Ukraine (50), followed by NATO allies Latvia (17), France (15), the US (14), and the Netherlands (1).
The location and purpose of the forces are not specified in the document.
No requirement for Prime Minister to inform parliament
The 14 US special operators were among the 29 Pentagon troops stationed in Ukraine along with the Marine security detachment at the US embassy in Kiev and military attachés, according to Declassified. Another 71 members of the State Department were also reportedly operating in Ukraine, raising the number of US forces to 100.
Declassified also highlighted that the slide was labeled "not releasable to foreign nationals."
While US special operators are drawn from the Navy SEALs and the Army's Delta Force, the British definition encompasses paratroopers, marines, and other groups in addition to the Special Air Service (SAS). It is worth noting that there is no requirement for the prime minister to inform the Parliament of their deployment.
Even though Washington and London have never formally acknowledged deploying special forces in Ukraine, numerous media outlets have covered the story over the past year. Le Figaro, a French newspaper, reported in April 2022 that SAS and Delta Force personnel had been present ever since the start of the Russian military operation.
In a similar context, the UK's Daily Mirror reported that a private military firm in an undisclosed European nation had paid for scores of "retired" SAS operatives to travel to Ukraine and lend their experience to Kiev. The Times claimed shortly after those revelations that many SAS members had "returned" to Ukraine to instruct Kiev's army on the use of anti-tank rockets developed in the United Kingdom.
In November, The Grayzone revealed that Ukrainian saboteurs aiming for Crimea had been receiving training from British special operators through a for-profit organization named Prevail Partners. Up to 300 Royal Marines were sent to Ukraine in December, according to a British military journal, for "discrete operations."