UK Special Forces Spotted Near Ukrainian Front-Lines

UK Special Forces Spotted Near Ukrainian Front-Lines

( – In February 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin renewed his attempts to conquer Ukraine in an attempt to bring a modern version of the former Soviet Union (USSR) back to the world stage. Since then, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has been seeking advanced weaponry and other military assistance, which the Western/NATO nations have applied to varying degrees. However, countries have apparently been less forthcoming about sending actual troops to the war-torn country. Or have they?

Boots on the Ground

A series of photographs allegedly posted by 21-year-old Airman First Class Jack Teixeira of the Massachusetts Air National Guard on the social media platform Discord purportedly showed images of classified papers. The BBC has reported that one of those documents dated March 23 listed special forces in Ukraine as of that date by country:

  • United Kingdom (UK) 50.
  • Latvia 17.
  • France 15.
  • United States 14.
  • The Netherlands 1.

Tom Rogan, who is the national security writer and online editor for the Washington Examiner, wrote an article in the opinion/commentary section of the Wall Street Journal’s May 18 edition and posted a companion Twitter message about the soldiers. He claims that the UK troops “from the British Army’s SAS [Special Air Service] and SRR [Special Reconnaissance Regiment], and the Navy’s SBS [Special Boat Service] are operating very close to the front lines.”

While the number of soldiers and sailors in Ukraine appears to be relatively small, their purpose does not seem to be for direct combat but rather as a training cadre for Ukraine Special Operations Forces. Although not currently linked to this training, it is likely that the destruction of a Russian “Ironiya” surveillance platform located on top of the tall building would be the type of mission they would help train the Ukrainians to conduct.

Allies With Different Approaches

The main thrust of Rogan’s article was to highlight the differences between how the White House and 10 Downing Street are handling the aid packages they give to Kyiv. He paints a picture of former Prime Minister (PM) Boris Johnson’s desire to maintain the country’s position as a global power post-Brexit and the current holder of the office, Rishi Sunak, who Rogan says “has doubled down on support for Ukraine.”

Rogan also mentions President Joe Biden’s well-documented reluctance to provoke Putin into something that could spread into a direct conflict with NATO or even lead to the use of the tactical nuclear weapons that Russia has deployed into Belarus. However, for the UK, he says that is a secondary consideration because the benefits of aiding a Ukrainian victory would validate its position on the world stage and demonstrate that the strength of World War II PM Winston Churchill is still intact.

As for young A1C Teixeira, according to court documents, he is facing several charges related to removing, keeping, and/or transmitting “national defense information [and] classified documents or material.” On May 22, a federal judge ordered he be held in custody until his trial because he is a flight risk and would likely engage in obstruction of justice actions, among other things, as he did by destroying his phone, tablet, and computer when he suspected federal agents were coming to arrest him.

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