KYIV, Ukraine — Almost 100 special forces from five Western nations were in Ukraine in February, according to one of the classified Pentagon documents that was leaked online in recent days.
Although U.S. and European officials have said in the past that a few dozen commandos from some NATO countries were working inside Ukraine last year, this is the first time a firm number has been made public.
The document gave no indication that any of the troops in the country in February have been involved in fighting, and American officials said on Wednesday that no U.S. Special Forces in Ukraine have been involved in combat. The document said 14 special forces soldiers were there at the time it was written.
American officials with knowledge of the arrangement said that U.S. special operations soldiers in Ukraine had served as bodyguards for important American officials who are in Kyiv or visiting the country. They have also helped the U.S. Embassy track incoming shipments of American arms to ensure they reach their intended destinations, these officials said.
The document, dated Feb. 28, is classified “SECRET/NOFORN” meaning only Americans were authorized to see it. The document indicates that 97 special forces from five Western countries including the United States were in Ukraine at the time of publication. Britain had the most, with 50, followed by Latvia with 17 and France with 15. The Netherlands had one soldier in Ukraine.
The British Ministry of Defense has not spoken specifically about the report that its forces were in Ukraine in late February, but the ministry issued a general statement about the leaked documents on Tuesday, saying the leak demonstrated what it called a “serious level of inaccuracy.”
“Readers should be cautious about taking at face value allegations that have the potential to spread disinformation,” it said, without providing details.
The Kremlin’s spokesman, Dmitry S. Peskov, said on Wednesday that Russia had known for some time that there were contingents of NATO soldiers in Ukraine, according to the Russian news agency Interfax.
He claimed that the contingents included fighters “taking part in the hostilities.” Referring to the documents, he added: “Same as everyone else, we do not know how reliable these documents are.”
Moscow has often used the specter of involvement by foreign troops to make the case that it is fighting not just Ukraine, but the West.
Before the invasion, Western troops had been working in Ukraine for years, primarily training Ukrainian forces to fight their Russian adversaries in a localized war in the eastern Donbas region that began in 2014. As the decision of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia to invade became clear, the United States and others announced that they were pulling these trainers from the country.
About 10 days before the invasion, the American secretary of defense, Lloyd J. Austin III, ordered 160 members of the Florida National Guard who had been deployed to Ukraine as trainers to leave the country. They were joined by the diplomatic staffs of a number of embassies. In the year since, most embassies have reopened in the capital, Kyiv, often with great fanfare.
Some C.I.A. personnel continued to operate in the country secretly, mostly in Kyiv, directing intelligence that the United States is sharing with Ukrainian forces, current and former officials said last summer.