Britain’s renowned Royal Marines have taken part in covert operations in Ukraine, a senior general has admitted for the first time, adding that their missions carried " a high level of political and military risk".

Writing in the Globe and Laurel, the Royal Marines’ official publication, Lieutenant-General Robert Magowan said British commandos supported "discreet operations" in a "hugely sensitive environment," with one mission entailing 350 marines from 45 Commando Group being deployed at short notice to evacuate the British embassy in Kyiv at the beginning of Russia’s illegal invasion.

Prior to Feb. 24, the day that Russian boots marched onto Ukrainian soil, British Defence Minister Ben Wallace confirmed that a small number of military personnel had been deployed in Ukraine to provide weapons and training. However, this is the first time that a senior military official has made such a confirmation.


Magowan, a former commandant general of the Royal Marines, who joined the Royal Navy’s elite unite in 1989, wrote: "In January this year, 45 Commando Group deployed at short notice — from the depths of a dark, north Norwegian winter, to evacuate the British embassy in Kyiv to Poland. The go-to 999 international emergency force, if you will."

The 45 Commando Group specializes in Arctic warfare, with their troops returning to Norway in March to participate in the largest NATO military exercise since the 1980s, which saw around 30,000 military personnel from 28 nations take part in drills of Exercise Cold Response.

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"Then in April, they returned into the country to re-establish the diplomatic mission, providing protection to critical personnel," Magowan continued. "During both phases, the commandos supported other discreet operations in a hugely sensitive environment and with a high level of political and military risk."

Speaking to MailOnline after Magowan’s comments were published yesterday, Tuesday, Dec. 14, a Royal Navy spokesperson was careful to insist that the British troops had not taken part in fighting.


"Royal Marines were deployed to Ukraine to support the UK’s diplomatic presence in the country," the spokesperson said. "They served no combat function."

 In the meantime, Britain’s Ministry of Defence also insisted that British soldiers had not been involved in any combat operations, telling the MailOnline: " British personnel have been deployed to support discussions around the significant training being offered to the Armed Forces of Ukraine by the UK. They serve no combat function."

Russia has not yet officially responded to the admission.

Having already supplied substantial military, humanitarian, and financial aid to Ukraine, Britain is now considering sending longer-range weapons systems should Russia continue to target civilian areas with missiles and Iranian-made drones.

Speaking to the UK Parliament on Monday, Dec. 12, Ben Wallace said he was "open minded" about the idea, after being asked by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson if the UK would deliver such systems to enable Ukraine to attack drone launch sites.

"I constantly review the weapons systems we could provide," Mr Wallace replied. "We too have in our armour potential weapons systems that are longer and should the Russians continue to target civilian areas and try and break those Geneva Conventions, then I will be open minded to see what we do next."

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