The top investigative body in Russia is looking at whether the SAS is “organising sabotage” in Ukraine.
The Investigative Committee – Moscow’s main federal investigating authority – said it would be following up a report from Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency.
RIA quoted a Russian security source as saying around 20 members of the SAS had been deployed in the western Lviv region, close to the border with Poland.
The Investigative Committee said it would look at whether – according to the report – the SAS had been sent in to “assist the Ukrainian special services in organising sabotage on the territory of Ukraine”.
Other key developments:
• Boris Johnson speaks to President Zelenskyy about ‘new phase’ of military aid including heavy weapons
• British intelligence suggests Russia has made no major gains in the last 24 hours
• Attempt to evacuate civilians from Mariupol fails
• Satellite images appear to reveal mass grave outside Mariupol
A week before the Russian invasion began, the British government said it had pulled all its troops out except those needed to protect its ambassador.
The temporarily closed Kyiv embassy will reopen next week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced.
Information on the SAS – the Special Air service – is often highly classified. Its operations include direct action and covert reconnaissance.
A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said: “We do not comment on special forces.”
A defence source said: “We don’t comment on stories around special forces, especially ones that are being pushed out by the Russian news agencies, because inaccurate speculation can put people’s lives at risk, which is why we neither confirm nor deny reports.”
Missile strikes on Odesa
At least five people were killed, including a three-month-old baby, following missile strikes in the southwestern port city on Saturday afternoon, Ukrainian officials said.
A further 18 people were injured, they added.
Missiles are said to have struck a military facility and two residential buildings in the city.
Russian forces fired at least six cruise missiles, but most were shot down by Ukrainian forces, the officials said.