UK Denies Accuracy of Pentagon Leak Claiming Western Special Forces in Ukraine

SOUTH WEST, ENGLAND - MARCH 24: A Ukrainian soldier is seen with flags of Ukraine and the
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Allegedly leaked U.S. intelligence documents that claim a number of Western nations presently have special forces on the ground in Ukraine have “a serious level of innacuracy”, the UK government said.

Around 100 pages of U.S. intelligence reports are said to have been uploaded to social media sites and gaming forums in recent months, which if true would be one of the most serious breaches of security for America in years. Yet the content of these allegedly leaked pages and slides is only emerging slowly, with claims of one document outlining the deployment of special forces troops to Ukraine emerging overnight, five days after the leak was initially reported.

According to a slide reported by the UK’s state broadcaster the BBC, the U.S. intelligence assessment page says the United Kingdom has the largest deployment of special forces in Ukraine of NATO allies, with 50 individuals in-country. The UK was followed in this list by Lativa with 17, France with 15, the United States with 14, and the Netherlands with one soldier.

Of course, it is normal — if not widely discussed — for nations to keep specially trained troops in small numbers in foreign countries and particularly in war zones to protect their embassies and diplomatic staff. The United States, for instance, officially keeps a detachment of U.S. Marines at its Kyiv embassy and has done through the war, and also has troops deployed to keep track of the equipment the government donates to Ukraine.

The larger-than-expected figure of 50 special forces soldiers claimed by the alleged leak for the United Kingdom may go beyond what’s strictly needed for embassy protection, assuming it is true. A top British military commander has already admitted in 2022 that Royal Marine Commandos have been deployed in Ukraine, describing secret missions they performed in addition to protecting the embassy as: “discreet operations in a hugely sensitive environment and with a high level of political and military risk.”

Nevertheless, the British Ministry of Defence moved with uncharacteristic speed to pour cold water on the claim.

In a statement posted to social media without context but shortly after the special forces claims began to circulate, the Ministry of Defence said: “The widely reported leak of alleged classified information has demonstrated a serious level of inaccuracy.

“Readers should be cautious about taking at face value allegations that have the potential to spread disinformation.”

The Russians, for their part — although some Kremlin-amplified voices have already cast doubts on the veracity of the alleged leaks in recent days — say they already knew what the documents said without them having to be leaked. Official state news service TASS reports the comments of Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov who said the claims that there are Western soldiers deployed to Ukraine was already understood.

Voicing his doubt on whether the leak was genuine or an American attempt at counterintelligence, Peskov said: “Like everyone else, we don’t know to what extent we can trust these documents”, yet nevertheless: “long before these documents popped up, we had and still have information that many instructors from NATO countries, including the UK, as well as fighters, are taking part in combat operations.”


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