Saturday, April 20, 2024

Western special forces already in Ukraine: Report

The unofficial presence of Western special troops in Ukraine is a matter of common knowledge, the Financial Times has reported, citing a senior European defense official, speaking anonymously.

The comment came in response to French President Emmanuel Macron’s suggestion of potential NATO deployments in Ukraine.

Speaking to the media after a gathering of European leaders in Paris on Monday, Macron said there was “no consensus [at the meeting] to send, in an official manner, troops on the ground, but in terms of dynamics, we cannot exclude anything”. He also promised to stop at nothing to prevent Russia from winning the conflict.

A senior European defense official explained to the Financial Times that Macron’s statement about sending in troops was an attempt to put pressure on Russia.

“Everyone knows there are western special forces in Ukraine – they’ve just not acknowledged it officially.”

Russia has repeatedly reported strikes against what it described as “foreign mercenaries” fighting in Ukraine. Last month, Russia’s Defense Ministry announced it had killed over 60 foreign fighters in a missile strike, of which the majority, according to local sources, were French speakers. The head of the local Ukrainian administration later confirmed that two of the dead and three of the wounded were French “volunteers”. France subsequently denied the presence of any of its soldiers in Ukraine, although the French defense minister admitted that some French nationals were fighting in Kiev’s army as “volunteers”.

British, French and US special force operatives have also been active in the conflict zone, according to a set of classified Pentagon documents leaked last year. Washington did not confirm or deny any information in the leaked files, but launched a probe and stated it would review who would have access to such information.

In late 2022, a British military publication acknowledged that more than 300 Royal Marines were involved in “discreet operations in a hugely sensitive environment and with a high level of political and military risk”, in Ukraine.

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu stated that as of December, more than 5,800 foreign mercenaries had been killed in the Russia-Ukraine conflict since its onset in February 2022, with most of them coming from Poland, the US and the UK.

The official act of sending NATO troops to fight the Russian army in Ukraine would make a direct clash between the US-led bloc and Moscow “inevitable,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said.

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