French sources report that US and UK special forces have been present in Ukraine from the beginning of Russia’s special military operation.
La visite de Boris Johnson à Kiev confirme la place de Londres comme premier allié de l’Ukraine. “Les unités d’élite des forces spéciales SAS sont présentes en Ukraine depuis le début de la guerre, de même que les Delta américaines”, confie une source française du renseignement.
Russia Today provides more detail.
Elite special forces from the UK and the US have been present in Ukraine since the beginning of hostilities with Russia in late February, a source in the French intelligence community reportedly told a Le Figaro reporter last week.
The claim was reported by the newspaper’s senior international correspondent Georges Malbrunot on Saturday, the day when British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made his surprise visit to Kiev. The British leader was reportedly surrounded by guards from the elite SAS force, though this claim was not officially confirmed.
UK hopes Ukraine will keep fighting – mediaREAD MORE: UK hopes Ukraine will keep fighting – media
SAS units “have been present in Ukraine since the beginning of the war, as did the American Deltas,” Malbrunot tweeted citing a French intelligence source. He added that according to the source Russia was well aware of the “secret war” waged against its troops by foreign commandos. Le Figaro included his report in their updates on Ukraine.
The UK and the US have been among the most active military supporters of Kiev. Johnson reportedly personally urged his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky to keep on fighting against Russia and not settle for peace until better terms are offered.
Western pro-fighting consensus was apparently confirmed last week by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who said on Saturday that the “war will be won on the battlefield” as he too was visiting Kiev.
British media earlier reported that dozens of “retired” SAS soldiers went or planned to go to Ukraine to contribute their expertise in reconnaissance and anti-tank warfare to Kiev’s cause. Their services were allegedly paid for by “a country in Europe, still to be named, via a private military company” rather than by the British government, according to the UK tabloid the Daily Mirror.
The Russian military reported action against what it described as “mercenaries” fighting for Ukraine on several occasions. One of the recent instances was on Saturday, just as Johnson and Borell were in Kiev.
The Russian defense ministry said Ukraine attempted to use a civilian ship in their latest failed attempt to evacuate high-value personnel from the port city of Mariupol, which saw some of the most intensive fighting during the conflict. The individuals intended for evacuation were identified as leaders of the ultranationalist Azov battalion and foreign mercenaries. There are unconfirmed reports that hundreds of foreign nationals could be blocked in Mariupol along with several thousand Azov troops.
Russia has been remarkably patient. What I wonder is how long will Russia refrain from striking back directly against its real enemy instead of fighting the multiple layers of proxies?