U.S. Special Forces Chief gives details on British Ground Forces in Ukraine - increasingly deeply involved

13:41 21.05.2024 •

General Bryan Fenton and British Marine.
Photo: MWM

Head of the U.S. Special Operations Command General Bryan Fenton has revealed new details on the operations of British ground units in Ukraine, stating that the Pentagon has been learning about the ongoing war “mostly through the eyes of our UK special operations partners,” who he stated had been testing new approaches to modern warfare in the theatre, writes ‘The Military Watch Magazine’.

Providing an example, he noted that British special operations units were observing and advising on the use of drones and “the way a ship in the Black Sea navigates.” The commander’s statements are the latest of many indications provided by Western, Ukrainian and Russian sources of an extensive role played by British ground forces in the war zone.

One of the most notable was the statement by British Deputy Chief of Defence Staff Royal Marines Lieutenant General Robert Magowan on December 13, 2022 that hundreds of Marines had been carrying out high risk operations alongside Ukrainian government forces from April. Magowan stressed that these were carried out “in a hugely sensitive environment and with a high level of political and military risk.” His statement followed months of reports from a wide range Russian sources that Royal Marines were operational and playing a significant role in the theatre, which was previously widely dismissed in Western media reporting. This was subsequently further confirmed by leaked Pentagon documents.

In December 2023 Polish journalist Zbigniew Parafianowicz revealed that he had been provided details on the operations of British forces by Polish officials

Parafianowicz further revealed that Polish special forces had also been in the theatre from the war’s very first stages. Regarding efforts by Western militaries to provide deniability for their operations, a Polish officer informed him: “we worked out a formula for our presence in Ukraine… we were simply sent on paid leave. Politicians pretended not to see this.”

Further details were subsequently provided in February 2024, when German Chancellor Olaf Scholtz confirmed that British special forces in Ukraine were providing vital support to facilitating launches of Storm Shadow cruise missiles against Russian targets, highlighting that Germany’s lack of a comparable presence prevented it from delivering its own cruise missiles as they would not be operable without foreign support.

New information regarding the extent of the British role in the war effort comes as France has spearheaded calls by a number of European states for further expansion of NATO members’ role on the ground in the theatre, and shortly follows unconfirmed reports that French Foreign Legion personnel may have been deployed.

The Russian military has long pointed the finger at the UK, claiming that its military personnel were playing a major role in ostensibly Ukrainian operations. For example, the Defense Ministry accused “British specialists” of helping Kiev plan and execute a naval drone attack on the Russian Black Sea Fleet in late October 2022.

Western nations have acknowledged keeping a small number of military personnel in Ukraine for jobs like the protection of diplomatic premises or in advisory roles, but have denied claims that they were taking part in combat.

When asked about Fenton’s remarks, the British Ministry of Defence told the news outlet Business Insider that “it is the long-standing policy of successive governments not to comment on UK Special Forces.”

Moscow considers the Ukraine conflict to be a US-initiated proxy war against Russia, in which Washington and its allies are increasingly deeply involved…


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