British and US special forces are inside Ukraine, leaked docs claim

British and American special forces are inside Ukraine, leaked documents claim: MoD denies suggestion that as many as 50 UK elite troops are operating in warzone against Putin’s forces

  • One document claims 50 UK special forces personnel are deployed in Ukraine
  • It alleges the UK has deployed more operators than other NATO states combined
  • Latvia, France, US and the Netherlands are believed to have sent special forces

As many as 50 British special forces operators are currently deployed in Ukraine, allegedly leaked US intelligence documents suggest.

Britain has the largest contingent of special forces on Ukrainian soil, alongside more than a dozen operators each from fellow NATO states Latvia, France and the US, according to a document dated March 23.

The Ministry of Defence warned against taking allegations contained in the reported leak of classified information at ‘face value’, posting on Twitter: ‘The widely reported leak of alleged classified US information has demonstrated a serious level of inaccuracy.’

Some of the classified documents, which were leaked online and have been widely circulated on social media, appear to have been doctored, according to Pentagon spokesman Chris Meagher. 

But US defence officials have been adamant a leak had taken place, with Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin vowing to ‘investigate and turn over every rock until we find the source of this and the extent of it’.

Britain has the largest contingent of special forces on Ukrainian soil, alongside more than a dozen operators each from fellow NATO states Latvia, France, the US, according to an allegedly leaked document dated March 23

Ukrainian soldier aims a gun in a dugout in Ukraine in undated footage

Ukrainian servicemen fire an artillery shell near the frontline area amid the Russia-Ukraine war, in Bakhmut, Ukraine on April 2, 2023

The leaked documents have revealed a trove of information about the Ukraine war, including details of US spying operations – not only in Russia, but also among its allies including South Korea, Israel, Ukraine and the UK.

READ MORE: Huge classified document leak could boost Putin’s war effort by revealing exactly how US is spying on Russia 

A massive leak of classified Pentagon documents that revealed how the US is infiltrating Russian intelligence could give Putin’s war effort in Ukraine a huge boost 

They show how US intelligence has been able to provide Kyiv with extensive details of planned Russian attacks, but also revealed that Ukraine’s air defences are almost exhausted.  

And one section titled ‘US/NATO SOF in UKR’ appeared to reveal the number of Western special forces present in Ukraine.

Britain has allegedly deployed 50 operators – the most of any Western nation – alongside 17 Latvian, 15 French, 14 American and a lone operator from the Netherlands. 

But the documents did not shed light on where in Ukraine the operators have deployed, or in what capacity. 

The leaked documents may first have been published in a chatroom on Discord, a social media platform popular with gamers, Associated Press reported.

According to one member of the chat, an unidentified poster shared documents that were allegedly classified, first typing them out with the poster’s own thoughts.

Then, as of a few months ago, the poster began to share images of printed documents with folds in them, suggesting they had likely been taken directly from a secure printer.

A probe was launched on Friday by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department as investigators are trying to quickly identify the source of the breach.

Typically, classified documents can only be printed using a secure process, which may make it easier for officials to find the source of the leak. 

A Ukrainian soldier looks out a passing APC on the frontline in Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Monday, April 10, 2022

Ukrainian service member, Naza, 21, commander from 28th mechanised brigade repositions his machine gun during a fire exchange at the frontline, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine in the region of Bakhmut, Ukraine, April 5, 2023

The posts appear to have gone unnoticed outside of the chat until a few weeks ago, when they began to circulate more widely on social media.

Asked on Monday if the US government was effectively waiting for more intelligence documents to show up online, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby replied: ‘The truth and the honest answer to your question is: we don’t know. And is that a matter of concern to us? You’re darn right it is.’

Defence Secretary Austin, the first senior US official to comment on the leak, said the Pentagon was aware that documents had been posted dated February 28 and March 1, but was not sure if there were other documents that had been online before. 

US Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns, speaking later at Rice University in Texas, called the leaks ‘deeply unfortunate,’ but did not give details on what he said were ‘quite intense’ investigations by the Pentagon and the Justice Department.

‘We need to learn lessons from that, as well, about how we can tighten procedures,’ Burns said.

Investigators are working to determine what person or group might have had the ability and motivation to release the intelligence reports. The leaks could be the most damaging release of US government information since the 2013 publication of thousands of documents on WikiLeaks.

Milancy Harris, deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence and security, is leading the Pentagon’s review to assess the potential impact of the leaked documents, a US official told Reuters.

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