Quoting a French intelligence source, a reporter from leading French daily Le Figaro has revealed that highly-trained special forces from the UK and the US have been stationed in Ukraine since Russia launched its ‘special military operation’ in the region on February 24.
As the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kiev on Saturday and pledged to stand by the people of the country, Georges Malbrunot, a senior reporter for Le Figaro, highlighted the presence of elite military units in the eastern European nation.
“Boris Johnson’s visit to Kyiv confirms London’s place as Ukraine’s first ally. Elite SAS special forces units have been present in Ukraine since the beginning of the war, as have the American Deltas, confides a French intelligence source,” tweeted Malbrunot.
“The Russians don’t ignore it, they know what the secret war is,” he added in another tweet quoting his unnamed source as the newspaper included their reporter’s input in their updates on the ongoing conflict.
Renowned for their skills in covert surveillance, close-combat fighting and hostage rescue, the men from UK’s Special Air Service (SAS) have served during the Gulf War, Iraq, Sierra Leone and also in Afghanistan.
The US Army’s first Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (SFOD-D), also known as Delta Force, is the country’s top counter-terrorism unit which also conducts global special operations.
In February, British tabloid Mirror had reported that more than 100 members of Britain’s elite special forces had been sent to Ukraine amid fears of a Russian invasion.
“Crack troops from the SAS, the SBS, the Special Reconnaissance Regiment and the Special Forces Support group are understood to be working in the country as military advisers. They are believed to be helping train Ukrainian special forces in counter-insurgency tactics, sniping and sabotage,” an exclusive Mirror report said.
It also mentioned that the British special forces have been able to deploy such a large number to the region as they are no longer operating in Afghanistan.
During his surprise visit to Kiev over the weekend, Johsnon had reiterated that the UK “will do everything in its power” to support Ukraine’s “brave fight against Russia’s brutal and unprovoked invasion” and ensure its long-term security and prosperity.
He had also announced new military assistance of 120 armoured vehicles and new anti-ship missile systems in addition to the 100-million euros worth of high-grade military equipment announced earlier in the week, including more Starstreak anti-aircraft missiles, another 800 anti-tank missiles, and high-tech loitering munitions for precision strikes.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who also visited Ukraine last week, has already said that the EU member states are delivering military equipment on an “unprecedented scale”.