Nearly 100 special forces from five Western countries — including more than a dozen Americans — have been operating on the ground in Ukraine, according to a leaked document.
The classified document, dated March 23 and marked “Secret,” revealed that the US had 14 special forces in Ukraine as of last month, reported the Guardian.
The Post could not independently verify the authenticity of the file.
While the document included no further details about the service members’ exact location or the nature of their activities, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told Fox News on Wednesday that a “small US military presence” was located at the embassy in Kyiv to monitor military aid sent by Washington to help Ukraine fight off the Russian invasion.
The UK has deployed 50 of its elite fighters, accounting for more than half of all Western special forces allegedly active in Ukraine.
NATO members Latvia and France have purportedly sent 17 and 15 special forces, respectively, to assist Kyiv, while the Netherlands has deployed a sole service member overseas.
The file revealing the presence of at least 97 Western service members on Ukrainian soil was part of a cache of documents, some marked “Secret” and “Top Secret,” that were initially posted on the online gaming platform Discord last month.
The highly sensitive documents containing US intelligence assessments of Ukraine’s military capabilities and vulnerabilities, along with information about allies, have since been making the rounds on social media sites.
It was previously reported that the leak has prompted Kyiv to amend its plans for Ukraine’s anticipated spring counteroffensive — a claim the government has denied.
The Justice Department has launched an investigation to identify the source of the damaging leak.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin vowed Tuesday to “turn over every rock until we find the source of this and the extent of it.”
Kirby warned Monday that at least some of the documents appeared to have been “doctored,” possibly to be used in a misinformation campaign to drive a wedge between Ukraine’s allies.
The UK Ministry of Defense sounded a similar note Tuesday in response to the claim that dozens of British special forces were present in Ukraine, tweeting that the information had “demonstrated a serious level of inaccuracy.”
“Readers should be cautious about taking at face value allegations that have the potential to spread misinformation,” the agency said.
Ukraine’s defense minister, meanwhile, categorically denied that elite NATO soldiers were operating in country, saying during a briefing Wednesday that it was “not true.”