Western Special Forces in Ukraine
One of the classified Pentagon documents, recently leaked online, revealed that almost 100 special forces from five Western nations were in Ukraine in February. While officials from the US and Europe had said previously that a few dozen commandos from some NATO countries were working inside Ukraine, this is the first time a number has been made public.
Details of Special Forces in Ukraine
Although the leaked document didn’t mention any of the troops being involved in fighting, it showed that 14 American special forces soldiers were there when it was written. American officials said that no US Special Forces in Ukraine have been involved in combat. These special forces soldiers served as bodyguards for important American officials in Kyiv and helped the US Embassy track incoming shipments of American arms so that they reach their intended destinations.
Nationalities of Special Forces in Ukraine
The document, classified as “SECRET/NOFORN” meaning only Americans were authorized to see it, indicated that 97 special forces from five Western countries including the United States were in Ukraine at the time of publication. Britain had the most soldiers with 50, followed by Latvia with 17, and France with 15. The Netherlands had one soldier in Ukraine.
Reactions to the Report
The British Ministry of Defense has not spoken specifically about the report that its forces were in Ukraine in late February, but it issued a general statement about the leaked documents, saying the leak demonstrates what it called a “serious level of inaccuracy.” The Kremlin’s spokesman, Dmitry S. Peskov, said on Wednesday that Russia had known for some time that there were contingents of NATO soldiers in Ukraine, which allegedly included fighters “taking part in the hostilities.” Moscow has often used the specter of involvement by foreign troops to make the case that it is fighting not just Ukraine but the West.
Previous Work of Western Troops in Ukraine
Before the Russian invasion, Western troops had been working in Ukraine mainly training the Ukrainian forces to fight their Russian adversaries in a localized war in the eastern Donbas region that began in 2014. As the decision of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia to invade became clearer, the US and others announced that they were withdrawing these trainers from Ukraine. However, even after the invasion, some CIA personnel continued to operate in the country, mostly in Kyiv, directing intelligence that the US is sharing with Ukrainian forces, according to current and former officials.