European Official Says Everyone Knows There Are Western Special Operations Forces in Ukraine

The Discord leaks confirmed there was a small presence of NATO troops

In the wake of French President Emmanuel Macron’s comments about Western countries not ruling out sending troops to Ukraine, a European official speaking to Financial Times pointed out that Western special operations forces are already in the country.

“Everyone knows there are Western special forces in Ukraine — they’ve just not acknowledged it officially,” a senior European defense official said.

The Discord leaks revealed last year that as of March 2023, there were 97 NATO special operations soldiers in Ukraine, including 14 Americans and 50 British troops. The leak confirmed earlier reporting from The Intercept that said US special operations forces were on the ground, along with CIA operatives.

It’s unclear if the number of NATO troops inside Ukraine has changed since the Discord leaks, but the comment from the European official confirms that they are still there in some capacity. Macron’s comments also drew attention to the tens of thousands of foreign fighters who joined Ukraine’s Foreign Legion. At least 50 American citizens have been killed fighting in Ukraine.

French officials have insisted Macron was not talking about sending a large number of troops to fight in Ukraine, suggesting he was talking about training missions. Many NATO members distanced themselves from the remarks and said they weren’t planning to send troops, but Macron received support from Lithuania, which said it was discussing sending troops for training.

“We are talking about sending training missions, instructors. The decision would be made on a multilateral basis,” said Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas.

In response to Macron’s comments, the Kremlin said that NATO troops inside Ukraine would make a direct Russia-NATO conflict “inevitable.”

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.