Western special forces inside Ukraine, leak shows
A recently leaked file has revealed that the UK currently has the highest number of military special forces deployed in Ukraine. The document, which appears to be an internal Ukrainian government memo, outlines the presence of foreign military personnel in the country and their respective roles. The UK’s special forces presence is believed to be part of a wider NATO effort to support Ukraine in its ongoing conflict against pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country.
The memo suggests that the UK has deployed a number of units, including the SAS (Special Air Service) and SBS (Special Boat Service), as well as unspecified “support elements” to assist with training and intelligence gathering. Alongside the UK, the memo also mentions the presence of US and Canadian special forces, as well as troops from several European countries including France, Germany and Poland. The number of personnel deployed by each nation is not specified.
The document was first reported by Ukrainian news outlet Strana.ua, and has since been picked up by several international media outlets. While the information contained within the memo cannot be independently verified, it provides a rare insight into the extent of Western military involvement in the Ukrainian conflict. NATO has previously confirmed that it provides training and support to Ukrainian forces, but has denied any direct involvement in the fighting.
The conflict in eastern Ukraine has been ongoing since 2014, when Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula and a pro-Russian insurgency erupted in the Donbas region. The resulting conflict has claimed over 13,000 lives and displaced more than 1.5 million people. Despite a ceasefire agreement signed in 2015, sporadic violence continues to occur along the front line. NATO and other Western nations have condemned Russia’s actions in Ukraine and imposed economic sanctions, while also providing military support to the Ukrainian government.
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