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Classified UK military documents found at bus stop

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Classified documents detailing sensitive information regarding a British warship’s passage near Crimea and the United Kingdom’s footprint in Afghanistan were found in a wet pile behind a U.K. bus stop on Tuesday, the BBC reported.

The documents, nearly 50 pages, include emails and PowerPoint presentations from the U.K.’s Ministry of Defence (MOD). The BBC reported that a member of the public, who wanted to stay anonymous, found the papers.

MOD said that it had already launched an investigation into the matter.

“MOD was informed last week of an incident where sensitive defence papers were recovered by a member of the public,” the ministry tweeted. “We take security extremely seriously and have launched an investigation. The employee reported the loss at the time. It would be inappropriate to comment further.”

Some of the documents included details of the U.K.’s expectation that Russia could respond aggressively if the Royal Navy warship HMS Defender were to sail close to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014. A cease-fire between Moscow-backed separatists and Ukrainian soldiers ended in March.

The BBC reported that the warship’s plans were meant to endorse Ukraine’s sovereignty.

The warship sailed approximately 12 miles off of Crimea’s coast on Wednesday, as Russian aircrafts and coastguard ships shadowed, according to the BBC. Russia’s defense ministry claims that a patrol ship fired warning shots, but the U.K. government said no shots had been fired.

In another document, a letter was addressed to Defence secretary Ben Wallace’s private secretary and discussed recommendations on the U.K.’s presence in Afghanistan following President Biden’s announcement that NATO and U.S. forces would leave the country later this year.

According to the BBC, the document discusses whether British special forces will stay in Afghanistan once the U.S. and NATO withdraw, as well as a request by the U.S. to have the U.K. assist them in a few areas of the country.

The BBC did not report details of the document on Afghanistan to avoid endangering the security of the British and others in the country.

However, according to the BBC, the document noted “Any UK footprint in Afghanistan that persists… is assessed to be vulnerable to targeting by a complex network of actors,” and “the option to withdraw completely remains.”

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