Striving to Make Sense of the Ukraine War 1387

No matter how hard we try to be dispassionate and logical, our thinking is affected by our own experiences, by the background knowledge we have and by the assumptions they generate. In discussing Ukraine – which arouses understandably high passions – I want to explain to you some of the experiences which affect my own thinking.

I will start with childhood, when my world view was pretty firmly set. I spent much of my young life at my grandparents’ on my mother’s side, in Norfolk. In the spare room in which I would sleep, under the bed there were cardboard boxes full of periodicals that I, as an avid ten year old reader, devoured completely. They included large sets of The War Illustrated and The Boy’s Own Paper.

The War Illustrated was a weekly magazine produced in both the first and second world war, detailing the week’s key events with stories, photos and drawings. This was the second world war collection. It was sometimes remarkably stark – I still recall the report of the sinking of HMS Prince of Wales and a companion ship by Japanese aircraft, of which the magazine somehow had aerial photos.

But in the early part of the war, known as the “phony war“, when not a great deal was happening to fill the magazine, it concentrated very heavily on the heroic Finnish resistance against Stalin’s Russia in the Winter War. There were, every week, photos of heroic Finns in white hooded winter gear, against a white snowy background, and stories of how they had skied up and down Soviet armoured convoys, destroying them, and were holding back a massively superior opponent amidst lakes and woods. After reading though many weeks of the periodicals, I felt intimately acquainted with the Mannerheim line and those big brave Finns, whose individual tales of great daring I lapped (no pun intended) up.

Incidentally, after writing that paragraph I read this article in the Guardian about Ukrainian quad bike patrols in the snows and the forests, knocking out Russian tanks with drones. It really is identical in content and purpose to the Finnish ski patrol stories, only updated for modern technology.

Then suddenly, from one issue to the next, the Finns were no longer heroes but were evil Nazis, and the Mannerheim Line was now definitely as German as it sounds. What is more, if marginally more gradually, the evil Communist tyrant Stalin, who had sent army after army unsuccessfully against the Finns and been executing his own commanders, was suddenly genial, wise Stalin. As a ten year old, I found the transition very hard to fathom, and being now romantically fully committed to the Finnish cause, I rather went off the magazines.

I tried to ask my grandfather to explain it to me, but whenever we mentioned “the war”, his eyes filled with silent tears. You see, those magazines had belonged to his only son, my mother’s only brother, who was to die aged 19 in a Mosquito bomber over Italy. That is why those magazines were still under his bed and had never been thrown away. Jack’s absence hung over my childhood, and I often felt myself a very inadequate substitute. Jack had been a very talented footballer, who had signed apprentice forms for Sheffield Wednesday, then perhaps the best team in the country. He had been a very talented musician, like my grandfather. Whereas I failed to excel at, well, anything.

I don’t want you to get the wrong idea. I was fortunate to be loved unconditionally. But I grew up with a real sense of the terrible loss, the waste, the void of war, of young lives lost that can never be replaced. I grew up with a hatred of war and of militarism. And of distrust of the official narrative of who are the goodies and who the baddies in war, when that official narrative can turn on its head in a week, as the magazines did with the Finns.

Well, it is now over 50 years later, and those are still exactly my sentiments today. And that parable of the noble/evil Finns is still relevant today. Because much of what is happening in Ukraine still reflects the failure to resolve who was on which side during World War II, and some pretty unpleasant underlying narratives.

You can see the line of thinking by which nations which had been suppressed, or risked suppression, by the Soviet Union, or by Russia before it, might see an alliance with Nazi Germany as an opportunity. Remember that the second world war was taking place only 20 years after the dissolution of the Hapsburg and Hohenzollern Empires. Even a nation like Poland had only enjoyed 20 years of freedom in the past 150, and that with some fairly dodgy governance.

That the Finns effectively allied with the Nazis has never been fully worked through in Finnish national dialogue, even in that most introspective of nations. Sweden hid from itself the extent of its elite collusion and fundamental integration into the Nazi military industrial complex for, well, forever. Probably no country advanced its comparative economic position more out of World War II than Sweden, that epicentre of smug, condescending European liberalism.

So in this mess you can see how a figure like Bandera, fighting for Ukraine’s freedom, can become a national hero to many of his countrymen for fighting the Soviets, despite fighting alongside the Nazis. The key questions in re-evaluation today, across those nationalities which fought the Soviets at the same time as the Nazis did, ought to be these – how much coordination with the Nazis was there, and to what extent did they participate in, or mirror, Nazi atrocities, doctrines of racial purity and genocide?

This is where Bandera and the Ukrainian freedom fighters must attract unreserved condemnation. They were heavily involved in genocidal attacks on Jews, on Poles in Ukraine and on other ethnic and religious minorities. Ukraine was by no means alone. Lithuania was very similar, and to only slightly lesser extent, so were Estonia and Latvia. In none of these countries has there been a systematic attempt to address the darknesses of the nationalist past. Ukraine and Lithuania are the worst for actual glorification of genocidal anti-semite and racist figures, but the problem is widespread in Eastern Europe.

Even Poland is not immune. Poles are proud of their history, and are very touchy at the fact that the millions of Poles who died in Auschwitz and the other Nazi death camps are often overlooked in a narrative that focuses, in Polish nationalist eyes, too exclusively on the Jewish victims. But the Poles are themselves in denial about the very substantial local collaboration between Poles and Nazis specifically against Jews, often with an eye to obtaining their land in rural areas.

This is where the story gets still more difficult. The neo-Nazi nationalists of Ukraine are an extreme manifestation of a problem across the whole of Eastern Europe, where ancient atavistic social views have not been abolished. I say this as someone who loves Eastern Europe, and who has spoken both Polish and Russian fluently (or at least has managed to pass the Foreign Office exams designed to test whether I could). Viktor Orban in Hungary, the religious right government of Poland, and yes, the far right voting electorate of Austria, are all on the same continuum of dark belief as the Nazi worshipping nationalists in Ukraine and Lithuania.

Let me tell you another story from my past, from twenty five years ago. I was First Secretary in the British Embassy in Warsaw. A highly respected elderly Polish lady, from an old family in the city, was our most senior member of local staff. I had asked her to set up a lunch for me with an official from the Polish Foreign Ministry, to discuss eventual EU accession. I made a remark about the lunch being enjoyable as the lady was both very smart and very pretty. Drawing me aside, our most senior member of local staff gave me a warning: “You do realise she’s Jewish, don’t you?”.

You could have knocked me down with a feather. But in four years in Poland I was to become used to bumping into matter of fact anti-semitism, on a regular basis, from the most “respectable” people, and particularly from precisely the forces and institutions that now bolster the current Polish government; not least the Catholic church.

These are highly sensitive issues and I know from experience I will receive furious feedback from all kinds of nationalities. But what I state is my experience. I should add that from my experience of Russia, society there is at least as bad for racial prejudice, especially against Asians, for homophobia, and for neo-Nazi groups. It is a problem across Eastern Europe, which is insufficiently appreciated in Western Europe.

I know Russia too well to have a romanticised view of it. I have lived there, worked there and visited often. I have very frequently expressed my frustration that many of those in the West who understand the ruthless nature of Western leaders, lose their clear sight when looking at Russia and believe it is different in that regard. In fact Russia is even less democratic, has an even less diverse media, even worse restrictions on free expression, and an even poorer working class. The percentage of Russian GDP lost in capital flight to the benefit of oligarchs and Western financial institutions is hideous.

As the West has entered more and more extreme stages of neo-liberalism, the general trend is that the West has become more and more like modern Russia. The massive and ever burgeoning inequality of wealth has seen western oligarchs now overtake their Russian counterparts in terms of the proportion of national GDP represented by their personal fortunes. In the West, multiplying limitations on free speech and assembly, the reduction in diversity of the mainstream media landscape, internet suppression of views through corporate gateways like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, increased direct or indirect reproduction of security service initiated content in the media, these are all making the West more Russia-like. To me, it feels like Western leaders are learning from Putin’s book.

Security service fronts multiply – the Integrity Initiative, Quilliam Foundation, Bellingcat are all examples, as now is the entire Guardian newspaper. Increasingly “journalists” merely copy and paste security service press releases. This is absolutely an echo of Putin’s Russia. In this war in Ukraine, the propaganda from the BBC is as absolutely biased, selective of facts and lacking in nuance as the propaganda from Russian state TV. One is the mirror of the other. Russia pioneered kataskopocracy in this era – the West is catching up fast.

To recount another particular experience, I was very interested two years ago in the arrest for treason of a Russian space official and former journalist, Ivan Safronov. The accusations refer to his time as a journalist, before he joined the space agency, and are that he passed classified information to Czech, German and Swiss recipients. There are parallels between the Russian espionage charges against Safronov and the US espionage charges against Assange.

I am particularly interested because in 2007 I investigated in Moscow the death of Safronov’s father, also called Ivan Safronov, and also a journalist. I believe Safronov was one of a great many journalists killed by various levels of the Putin regime, of which deaths the vast majority have passed completely unnoticed in the West.

Safronov worked for Kommersant, broadly the Russian equivalent to the Financial Times or Wall street Journal. He was defence correspondent and had published a series of investigations into procurement corruption in the Ministry of Defence and the real state of the Russian armed forces (you might see where I am heading with regard to the war in Ukraine).

Kommersant’s general independence had become a great irritant to Putin, and he had arranged for his close adviser Alisher Usmanov to buy up the title on an “offer you can’t refuse” basis. The editorial team was swiftly replaced. The dogged and highly regarded Safronov was more of a problem.

This is from my 2007 report:

Two months ago, 51 year old Ivan Safronov, defence correspondent of the authoritative Kommersant newspaper in Moscow, came home from work. He had bought a few groceries on the way, apparently for the evening meal. On the street where he lived, as he passed the chemist’s shop in front of the cluster of grim Soviet era apartment blocks, he met his neighbour, Olga Petrovna. She tells me that he smiled from under his hat and nodded to her. After a mild winter, Moscow had turned cold in March and Safronov held his carrier bag of groceries in one hand while the other clutched the lapels of his coat closed against the snow. Fifty yards further on he arrived at the entrance to his block, and punched in the code – 6 and 7 together, then 2 which opened the mechanical lock of the rough, grey metal door at the entrance to the concrete hallway. He passed on into the gloomy dank corridor.

So far this is a perfectly normal Moscow scene. But then – and this is the official version of events – Ivan Safronov did something extraordinary. He walked up the communal concrete stairs with their stark iron rail, until he reached his apartment. It is, in British terms, on the second floor. Instead of going in, he carried on walking, past his own door. He continued up another flight and a half of steps, to the top landing, between the third and fourth floors. Then, placing his groceries on the floor, he opened the landing window, climbed on to the sill, and stepped out to his death, still wearing his hat and coat.

Ivan Safronov thus became about the one hundred and sixtieth – nobody can be certain of precise numbers – journalist to meet a violent end in post-communist Russia. In the West, the cases of Anna Politkovskaya and Alexander Litvinienko hit the headlines. But in Russia, there was nothing exceptional about those killings. It has long been understood that if you publish material which embarrasses or annoys those in power, you are likely to come to a very sticky end…

Safronov had a reputation as a highly professional journalist, meticulous about checking his facts. He was by no means a sensationalist, but had over the years published articles which embarrassed the Kremlin, about bullying, prostitution and suicide among Russia’s conscript armed forces, and about high level corruption which deprives the troops of adequate clothing, rations and equipment.

He had recently returned from a large trade fair in Dubai, attended by senior representatives of Russia’s armed forces and defence industries. He told colleagues at Kommersant that he had learnt something there about corruption in major arms contracts, involving exports to Syria, Iran and other destinations. He had told his editor he had come back with a ‘Big story’. But, as usual, he was carefully checking up on his facts first.

Now his story will never be published.

I walk through the dirty Moscow drizzle to a police station in the foot of the apartment block opposite Safronov’s. The officer in charge is brusque. There are no suspicious circumstances and the case is closed. Why am I wasting his time, and trying to cause trouble? He threatens to arrest me, so I beat a hasty retreat to find Safronov’s flat, past the chemist’s shop, in the footsteps of his last walk. In the muddy yard between the blocks, unkempt drunks squat for shelter at the foot of scrubby trees, drinking cheap vodka from the bottle.

I look up at the top landing window from which Safronov fell. It doesn’t look terribly high. Outside the block entrance, I stop and look down at the patch of ground on which he landed. The surface is an uneven patchwork of brick, concrete, asphalt and mud. Here a passing group of young men found Safronov, writhing on the ground, conscious but unable to speak. It took almost three hours for an ambulance to come. According to Kommersant Deputy Editor Ilya Bilyanov, although plainly alive when finally taken away, he was declared dead on arrival at hospital.

A stout old lady beating her rugs in the rain gives me the combination to go in to the apartment building. Once through the heavy metal door, I am overwhelmed by the smell of fresh paint. . Everything in the stairway – walls, ceilings, rails, doors, window frames – has been covered in lashings of thick oozing paint, as though to cover over any trace of recent events. The paint has been slapped on so thick that, even after several days, it remains tacky.

I pass the door of Safranov’s flat and continue up to the top landing. At the cost of some paint damage to my coat, I pose in the window from which he allegedly threw himself. It is certainly quite easy to open and clamber out, but it is a bad choice for a suicide. Soviet flats are low-ceilinged, and I calculate the window is a maximum height of 26 feet above the ground. I don’t know about you, but if I was to kill myself by jumping, I would choose somewhere high enough to make death instant… As I peer down from the window I realise that, jumping from here, you are almost certain to hit the porch roof jutting out below. That is only about twenty feet down. The Moscow police claim that marks in the snow on the porch roof were the firm evidence that Safranov jumped.

Two middle aged ladies pass with their shopping. I explain that I am investigating Safranov’s death; it seems an improbable suicide. ‘Very strange,’ they agree, ‘Very, very strange.’ They go on to volunteer that Safranov was a pleasant man, had a very good wife, did not drink excessively and was much looking forward to the imminent birth of a grandchild. Plainly, everything they say is questioning the official version, but they do not wish to do so openly. They conclude by shaking their heads and repeating their mantra ‘Very, very strange,’ as they scuttle on into their flats.

Ilya Bilyanov, Safronov’s boss, is more categorical. Safronov was a devoted family man, very protective of his wife and daughter and proud of his son, about to start University. Bilyanov says: ‘He could not have killed himself. He loved his family too much to abandon them.’

For full disclosure, the report was commissioned by the Mail on Sunday. I make no apologies for that, any more than I apologise for appearing on Russia Today. Telling the truth is what matters, irrespective of platform. On the same trip I investigated the killings of half a dozen other individual journalists who had crossed the authorities.

I am fairly sure that today I would not be permitted to go around doing this; walking in to a Moscow police station to ask about such a death, or interviewing passersby in the street and work colleagues, would get me arrested fairly quickly.

I wrote recently about NATO, the western military and the arms industry’s continued interest in exaggerating the strength of the Russian military, and how at the end of the Cold War the new access of British defence attachés led them to find the real capabilities of the Soviet army had been exaggerated on a massive scale. I have repeatedly stated that Russia, with the economy of Italy and Spain, is not a military superpower.

The Safronov case further reinforced my personal knowledge that the Russian military is undermined by massive corruption. I have therefore not been in the least surprised that Russia has had a much harder time subjugating Ukraine than many expected. Some commentators have particularly amused me by claiming that you cannot compare defence spending levels because Russian defence expenditure is more efficient than American. They cited all the corruption in US defence expenditure, such as the famous US$800 toilet seats; as though Russia were not itself spectacularly corrupt.

At just the time of Safronov’s death, Russia brought in as Minister of Defence Anatoly Serdiukov, who made genuine attempts at radical reform and eliminating corruption. This brought him so many enemies he had to be replaced by current defence minister Shoygu, now in power for ten years. Shoygu has adopted a policy of showcasing new weapons systems while not rocking the boat on corruption.

Do not confuse the apparently dazzling achievements at the shiny end of the vast sums of money Russia has pumped in to weapons development, with the day to day business of defence procurement and military supply. Russian hypersonic ballistic missiles may or may not perform as advertised, but more relevant to Ukraine are the creaking vehicles which have not been maintained, the inoperable tyres, the lack of rations, the old fashioned tank armour.

One of the truths about the Ukraine war which western media is suppressing is that, if Russia cannot take on Ukraine without serious embarrassment, then Russia could not possibly take on NATO. It is a ludicrous proposition, outwith full scale nuclear war. It is fascinating to watch the western militarist establishment in full cry, simultaneously crowing over Russian military inadequacies while claiming that the West needs massively to increase the money it pumps in to the military industrial complex because of the Russian threat. The self-evidently fatuous nature of this dual assertion is never pointed out by mainstream media journalists, who currently operate in full propaganda mode.

Another Russian asset has proved as unreliable as its military: Putin’s brain. On 16 December 2021 Ukraine and its US sponsor were not just diplomatically isolated, but diplomatically humiliated. At a vote at the UN General Assembly, the United States and Ukraine were the only two countries to vote against a resolution on “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo‑Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”. They lost by 130 votes to 2, on a motion sponsored by Russia.

The United States, crucially, was split from its European allies and, almost uniquely, from Israel on this vote. Everyone knew that the vote was about Nazis in Ukraine, not least because the United States and Ukraine both said so in their explanation of vote. The entire world was prepared to acknowledge that the neo-Nazis in positions of power and authority in Ukraine, including the anti-semites of the Svoboda party in ministerial office, were a real problem. There was also a general understanding that Ukraine had reneged on the Minsk agreements and that the banning of the Russian language in official, media and educational use was a serious problem.

(I pause to note the US explanation of vote stated that the US constitution prevented it from voting for a motion calling for the banning of pro-Nazi speech, because of US commitment to free speech and the first amendment. It is worth noting that free speech in Biden administration eyes protects Nazis but does not protect Julian Assange. It is also worth contrasting the protection of free speech for Nazis with the de facto banning of Russia Today in the United States.)

The EU abstained on the vote, but all of the above problems were rehearsed in ministerial discussions that reached that decision. You can add to the above that it was universally acknowledged in diplomatic circles that there was no chance of Ukraine (ditto Georgia) being admitted to NATO while Russia occupied parts of Ukraine’s sovereign territory. Given NATO’s mutual defence obligations, to admit Ukraine would be tantamount to entering armed conflict with Russia and it was simply not open to serious consideration.

How Russia might have progressed from this strong diplomatic position we shall never know. There can seldom have been a more catastrophic diplomatic move than Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. It can be measured very simply. From winning the proxy vote on Ukraine at the UN General Assembly by 130 votes to 2 on 19 December, Russia plummeted to losing the vote in the same General Assembly demanding immediate Russian withdrawal from Ukraine by 141 votes to 5 on 2 March.

This diplomatic disaster has been matched by military humiliation. Russia is a far larger country than Ukraine and it is pointless to pretend that Russia did not expect the military campaign to proceed better than it has. To claim now post facto that the attack on Kiev was purely a massive diversion never intended to succeed, is a nonsense. Elsewhere achievements are shaky. Capturing cities is different to holding them, and the myth that Russian speaking populations in Eastern Ukraine were eager to join Russia has been plainly exploded by the lack of popular support in occupied areas.

Putin’s heavy handedness has alienated what potential support for Russia existed outside the Russian controlled areas of Donbass. It is hard now to recall that prior to the coup of 2014, political support in Ukraine was balanced for two decades fairly evenly between pro-Western and pro-Russian camps. Both Russia and the West interfered from 1992 to 2014 outrageously in Ukrainian internal politics, each using the full panoply of “soft power” – propaganda, sponsorship, corrupt payments, occasional proxy violence.

Matters were brought to a head in Ukraine when Yanukovich was flown to Moscow and persuaded by Putin to renounce the EU Association Agreement which Ukraine was entering, in favour of a new trade deal with Russia. This evidently was a key moment of political choice, and Putin overplayed his hand as he lost out in the crisis that ensued. That Russian defeat in 2014 may not have been terminal if Putin had not responded militarily by annexing parts of Ukraine. In doing so, he alienated the large majority of Ukrainians of all ethnicities forever – as I stated at the time.

So now Putin can stride the stage as the macho guy who outfoxed the west and used his military to win Crimea for Mother Russia. But it is an extremely hollow victory. He has gained Crimea, but lost the other 95% of the Ukraine, over which one month ago he exercised a massive political influence.

The current invasion of Ukraine has differed from previous incidents like South Ossetia, Abkhazia or even Crimea in that it has been much more extensive, and entailed an attack on the capital, rather than simply occupation of the targeted areas. If Putin had simply massively reinforced Russian forces in the areas controlled by his breakaway “republics”, there would not be anything like the international reaction which has resulted.

One particularly unsavoury aspect of all this – and here we come back to Finland/Russia and the goodies/baddies narrative – is that all the massive problems of Ukraine are now utterly whitewashed by the western political and media class. There was general acceptance previously, albeit reluctantly, that the “Nazi problem” exists. It is now almost universally reviled as a Russian fiction, even though it is undoubtedly true.

Just a year ago, even the Guardian was prepared to admit that President Zelensky is linked to $41 million in dodgy offshore cash holdings and effectively a front for corrupt oligarch Kolomoisky, who looted $5.5 billion from Privatbank. Now, thanks entirely to Putin, Zelensky is viewed universally as a combination of Churchill and St Francis of Assisi, and any criticism of him whatsoever in the West will get you online lynched.

That the United States is becoming a kataskopocracy is witnessed by the willingness of the Biden administration to rip up the First Amendment in order to prosecute Assange under the Espionage Act, because the CIA and FBI demand it. It is also witnessed by the role of the security agencies in suppressing the truth about Hunter Biden and his corrupt links to Ukraine. The Biden laptop was, as I stated at the time and is now admitted even by the New York Times, an entirely genuine inadvertent leak.

You will recall that from when his father was Vice President, Hunter Biden was paid $85,000 a month by Burisma, a Ukrainian power company which Hunter never once visited and for which he did no discernible work. When his laptop was given to the New York Post, revealing salacious sex and drugs evidence and more importantly, blatant peddling of his father’s influence, the entire “respectable” mainstream media rubbished it as a fraud and, remarkably, Twitter and Facebook both suppressed any mention of it as “fake news”. This suppression was advocated by the US security services, contacting the media and the internet gatekeepers at top level, and conducting a public campaign through activating retired agents.

This was the CNN headline:

The Biden laptop was leaked on 14 October 2020, three weeks before voting day in the Presidential election. Its suppression by the mainstream media, Twitter and Facebook, at the behest of the security services, is the biggest illegitimate interference in an election in modern western history.

That the Ukraine is the scene of so much of the corruption of Biden and son, but no criticism of the Ukraine is currently considered legitimate, has made now a very good time for the approved media to admit the banned stories were in fact true, while nobody is listening. We are also even seeing credulous articles on why Nazis are not really bad at all.

A Ukrainian oligarch was the biggest single donor to the Clinton Foundation, and the murky links between the American political establishment and Ukraine are still surfacing; it has plainly been a major honeypot for US politicians. The recent Credit Suisse leak, again sadly curated and censored by mainstream media, revealed Ukrainians as the largest European nationality involved, but the media gave us virtually no details – and those confined to two “coincidentally” pro-Russian Ukrainians out of 1,000 Ukrainian accounts. Whatever information on Ukrainian government linked oligarchs was contained in the Credit Suisse documents is suppressed by those who control them, which in the UK includes the Guardian newspaper and James O’Brien of LBC. In Ukraine the material was shared only with pro-government journalists.

I have been criticised severely on Twitter by those who believe that now, in wartime, it is wrong to say anything bad about Ukraine and we must solely concentrate on Russia’s defeat. To be clear, I hold Putin’s invasion of Ukraine to be not only stupid and vicious but also illegal, and to constitute the war crime of aggression. But we come back precisely to the angels and devils simplicity of looking for “goodies” and “baddies”. The Azov Battalion have not suddenly become less racist or brutal or Nazi-worshipping because they are fighting the Russians.

The real danger is that the heroic resistance to Putin’s invasion – and be in no doubt, it is heroic – will be a massive boost to the right in Ukraine, and the cult of “Glory to the heroes!” will be massively reinforced. The far right had more influence than Zelensky wished before this current invasion, and his ability to control them is limited. His personal standing is much enhanced. He may be a deeply fallible human being, but as a war leader he has been brilliant. He has exploited media to boost the morale of his armed forces and to rally his people, and been very effective in using international public pressure to rally practical support from foreign powers. Those are key skills for a war leader, and if “acting” is one of the skill sets needed, that makes it none the less true.

But I very much doubt the enhanced standing of Zelensky will enable him to counter the right wing nationalist wave that will sweep Ukraine, especially if resistance continues to be effective in containing Russian advances. Certainly measures that were previously decried by liberals, like the Russian language ban, now have wide support. I shall be very surprised if, once the dust has settled, we do not see much worse repression of ethnic Russians under the guise of action against “collaborators”. Far from denazifying Ukraine, Putin has boosted its Nazi problem.

Having damaged my own reputation for sagacity by my over-confidence that Putin would not be foolish enough to launch a full scale invasion, I am reluctant to venture any predictions as to outcome, but the most likely must be a frozen conflict, with Russia in control of rather more territory than before the conflict started. The Kremlin has appeared to backtrack its aims to securing the territory of its newly recognised republics, and still appears intent on seizing as much coastline as possible. Without a credible threat to Kiev, Zelensky has little motive formally to agree a ceasefire on this basis. Eventually we will reach some form of de facto stasis.

Now is a good moment to correct the myth that the population of Donbass is ethnic Russian and wishes to be united with Russia. I will make three points.

The first is that there is a difference between Russian speaking and ethnic Russian, and repeated census returns in Ukraine showed the majority in Donbass to identify as ethnic Ukrainian, though Russian speaking.

Secondly, the ethnic Russians were heavily concentrated in the urban centres and thus much more politically visible than the rural Ukrainian majority, and far quicker politically mobilised. This is precisely what happened in 2014 (and failed with tragic loss of life in Odessa).

The third is that many ethnic Russians have resisted the current invasion, and even Russian media has struggled to find evidence of mass enthusiasm in newly “liberated” areas.

In the western world, Russia has served as not only the evil empire that “justifies” massive arms expenditure, but as the evil genius behind all political developments that threaten the smooth course of neoliberalism.

This was brought to its highest pitch by Hillary Clinton’s ludicrous claims that it was Russian hacking that cost her the 2016 election. It was actually the fact that she was an appalling and arrogant candidate, whom the electorate disliked and black voters did not bother to turn out for in their usual numbers, and that she ignored the voters of rustbelt states and their concerns.

The security services were shocked by Trump’s aversion to starting new wars abroad, his maverick inclination to have his own take on relations with Russia and the Middle East, and his general lack of docility in the face of security service advice. (Much of Trump’s foreign policy was terrible, I am not attempting to say otherwise. But he was not the kind of docile, Obama-like tool the security services were used to).

The security services therefore worked against Trump his entire time in office, from boosting the Russiagate election hacking narrative, despite there being no evidence for it whatsoever, to quiet briefings giving credence to the appalling charlatan Steele’s discredited “peegate” dossier, right through to the suppression of the Biden laptop story. The Mueller inquiry failed to come up with any evidence of collusion between Russia and Wikileaks in hacking the DNC emails, because there was no such collusion.

Neither was there collusion between Wikileaks and Trump. The story the UK security services placed in their house journal the Guardian, on secret meetings between Manafort and Assange, was simply a lie. Throughout his Presidency Trump was subjected to a continual drip, drip, drip of briefings to the media from his own security services that he was, in some way, a secret Russian asset, Putin’s puppet.

The CIA commissioned from UC Global 24 hour secret taping of Assange in the Ecuadorean Embassy, including in the bedroom, toilet and kitchen. This included meetings with his lawyers, but also many hours of private conversation with myself, with Kristin Hrafnsson and others. This too came up entirely empty on evidence of Russian collusion. Because there was never any such collusion.

Just as “Russiagate” was an utter nonsense, attempting to use Putin to explain the advent of Trump, so in the UK liberals comforted themselves by attempting to use Putin to explain Brexit. Like Trump, Nigel Farage and Arron Banks “must” be secret Russian agents too. The high priestess of this particular cult belief is Carole Cadwalladr. From having done good work in exposing Cambridge Analytica, which targeted political ads to Tory benefit using personal data which Facebook was greatly at fault in making available on its customers, Cadwalladr allowed the subsequent accolades to go to her head and became the security services’ tool in making ever wilder claims of Russian influence.

Cadwalladr’s task was easy because the UK’s liberal middle class simply could not come to terms with Brexit having happened. They could not understand that vast swathes of the working class were so alienated from society by the effects of unconstrained neo-liberalism, that they were led to grasp at Brexit as a possible remedy. That is not a comforting thought. Instead, Cadwalladr offered the much more digestible notion of Putin as an evil exterior cause.

With right thinking liberals on both sides of the Atlantic appalled by the advent of Trump and Brexit, there was no depth of Russophobe fantasy which figures like Cadwalladr and Steele could not plumb as an explanation and still find a willing audience, without being questioned too hard on actual evidence.

Again, I should be plain. Nations do interfere in each other’s democratic processes to try to get results favourable to themselves. It is a fundamental part of the job of spy services and of diplomats. It is what they are paid to do. I did it myself in Poland, and with quite spectacular success in Ghana in 2000 (read my book The Catholic Orangemen of Togo).

No nation interferes in other nation’s elections and political processes on the scale that the United States does, every single day. Today it is trying to get rid of Imran Khan in Pakistan as well as continuing its work against the government in Venezuela, Cuba, Syria and elsewhere. That there was marginal Russian activity I do not doubt, but not on any grand or unusual scale or with any particularly striking effect. And not involving Wikileaks.

One consequence of the invasion of Ukraine is that every mad Russophobe narrative of the past decade is now, in the public mind, vindicated. Including the remarkably unsuccessful attempts to assassinate Skripal and Navalny. It is now impossible to claim that there is any evil for which Russia is not responsible, without suffering a deluge of online hostility and ridicule. The western military industrial complex, NATO and the Western security services have all been enormously strengthened in their domestic position and control of popular opinion by Putin’s mad invasion.

There are aspects of Putin’s foreign policy which I have supported, and still do. Having inadvertently installed a pro-Iranian Shia regime in Iraq, the West sought to appease its Gulf and Israeli allies and “restore the balance” by replacing the Shia-friendly Assad regime by hardline ISIS and Al-Qaida linked jihadists. This may have been the most stupid foreign policy move in recent history, and thank goodness Putin sent troops into Syria to thwart it. On a more standard diplomatic level, Russia has played a pivotal and entirely commendable role in trying to end the isolation of Iran in nuclear agreement talks.

But I have always consistently opposed Putin’s invasions in the post-Soviet space, including the brutal destruction of Chechnya that brought Putin to power. I support Dagestani and Chechen independence, and have written consistent articles pointing out that Russia remains an Empire, with most of its territory not ethnic Russian and acquired contemporaneously with the conquests of the British Empire. I have consistently called for stronger and more effective sanctions, in response to the occupation of South Ossetia in 2008 and of Crimea in 2014. In 2008 I warned explicitly that the lack of a firm sanctions response to Putin’s aggression would lead eventually to war in Eastern Ukraine.

Russia’s actions are illegal but the US and UK, who launched an equally illegal and much more devastating invasion of Iraq, are ill-placed to be outraged. A de facto Russia annexation of South Ossetia must not be permitted, unless we eventually want a war of Eastern Ukraine.
NATO is part of the cause of the problem, not the solution. By encircling and humiliating Russia, NATO has created the climate in Russia so favourable to Putin.

That last sentence remains a key observation. It is the West’s unremitting hostility to Russia which has caused a Russian nationalist reaction and sustained Putin in power. The West’s military industrial complex needed an enemy, and had Russia developed in a more liberal direction it would have been a disaster for the militarists. So instead of working to plot a path for Russia into the European Union, it was forced to sit in the corner with a hat on saying “designated enemy”, while NATO continually expanded. That is the tragedy of the last three decades.

All of which ignores the fact that China is now the most dominant economic force in the world, and is probably the most dominant military force in the world, although Chinese wisdom in not recently deploying its military might on imperial adventures contrasts sharply with the United States. I am not sure when I last bought anything which was not made in China – including, to my amazement, our second hand Volvo. All this Russia/NATO antagonism will scarcely rate a footnote by mid-century.

I want to conclude with a plea for complex thought. I want to go back to the Finns and Russians at the start of this story, and the truth that “goodies” and “baddies” is not a helpful diagnostic tool for international relations. These things can be true at the same time:

a) The Russian invasion of Ukraine is illegal: Putin is a war criminal
b) The US led invasion of Iraq was illegal: Blair and Bush are war criminals

a) Russian troops are looting, raping and shelling civilian areas
b) Ukraine has Nazis entrenched in the military and in government and commits atrocities against Russians

a) Zelensky is an excellent war leader
b) Zelensky is corrupt and an oligarch puppet

a) Russian subjugation of Chechnya was brutal and a disproportionate response to an Independence movement
b) Russian intervention in Syria saved the Middle East from an ISIS controlled jihadist state

a) Russia is extremely corrupt with a very poor human rights record
b) Western security service narratives such as “Russiagate” and “Skripals” are highly suspect, politically motivated and unevidenced.

a) NATO expansion is unnecessary, threatening to Russia and benefits nobody but the military industrial complex
b) The Russian military industrial complex is equally powerful in its own polity as is Russian nationalism

I could go on, but you get the point. I hold all those points to be true. The media and political class in the UK will trumpet a) and vehemently deny b). Many in the anti-war movement will trumpet b) and vehemently deny a). None of these people have any actual principles. They are simply choosing a side, choosing their “goodies” and “baddies”, their black hats and white hats. It is no more an ethical choice than supporting a football team.

One final thought on the tone of the coverage of the war both of the media and of supporters of the official western line on social media. Though affecting to be sickened by the atrocities of war, their tone is not of sorrow or devastation, it is triumphalist and jubilant. The amount of war porn and glorying in war is worrying. The mood of the British nation is atavistic. Russians living here are forced on a daily basis to declare antagonism to their own people and homeland.

I have had great difficulty in writing this piece – I have worked on it some three weeks, and the reason is a deep sadness which this unnecessary war has caused me. In the course of my typing any paragraph, somebody has probably been killed or seriously injured in Ukraine, of whatever background. They had a mother and others who loved them. There is no triumph in violent death.


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1,387 thoughts on “Striving to Make Sense of the Ukraine War

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  • jim watson

    One of the most balanced articles on this terrible situation. How anybody can accuse you of supporting one side or the other defies logic.
    Both sides have good guys and bad guys.

  • Courtenay Francis Raymond Barnett

    Dear All,
    Re: Misinformation – disinformation – and war.
    In these much appreciated exchanges online over the Ukraine crisis I would like to say two things:-

    1. In as much as some may think that I am a Putin/Russian apologist; and
    2. You may think that I think of others as US/Western apologists – permit me to square the circle.

    Actually – my true positon is that I grieve for the suffering Ukrainian people and hope that war is ended as soon as possible.
    First, I would say, and remind myself also, that perception is not reality. I say that to remind both sides that we all have to take and receive the information stream with a grain of salt and sensible questioning scepticism. Now – how could I speak like that?
    I recall Noam Chomsky’s scholarly tome entitled ‘Manufacturing consent’. I mention this second point to bring to the fore the facts of both the 2003 Iraq war and now this 2022 Ukraine war. Then I share with you – some food for thought:-

    • Wikikettle

      Courtenay. Thanks for that. It seems all the young bright privileged kids in the West go into PR Media and Politics. No wonder we are sold a pack of lies and endless wars. Meanwhile the rest of the world actually produces things out of real commodities. Our commodity alas is hot air, projection and unproductive landlordism and speculation.

      • Courtenay Francis Raymond Barnett


        Thanks for your comment.

        My thoughts – I hope – are clear and clearly expressed.

        Here is the deal – I have friends – Professors – academics – business people – diplomats etc. across the spectrum. Most of my closest friends tend to be academics and some who made it through the ranks. One ( without naming) is a guy who did his undergrad in bio-chemistry with me at London University when I was studying Politics and Economics. I recall him because he went on to do a post-grad MBE and did quite well for himself. My point? He was one of six brothers and sisters. His father was of the ‘Windrush generation’. His father delivered tickets on the London Transport as his honest job. Five out of that man’s children are British educated University graduates.

        My friend – I observe – and comment with a humane and very human heart.

        My PR is on a blog like this.


  • Carl

    Bill Clinton seizes the opportunity to defend the de facto US occupation and Chicago School plunder of Russia, the incredible suffering and brutality the Russian people endured in the 90s, and to lament Russia’s escape from subjugation. He also inadvertantly accepts responsibility for the present situation in Ukraine by bragging that he expanded NATO in the face of strenuous Russian objections. On this occasion his frankness does not extend to boasting of his triumphs on Epstein Island and the Lolita Express.

  • DunGroanin

    Does anyone have confirmation of what happened to the 10,000 Uigher head choppers and families from Syria. Are they in Central Asia?

    On the Special Operations by the Russian forces being once again burdened with dealing with Euro/American Nazis to save the world from their paymasters rusty bloody claws.

    It seems that PR is the only battle we in the West can claim to win – even if we aren’t actually doing so. Any media or journalist or tweeterer or blogger is censored which makes the job marginally easier for the PR twats. As does full control of what the MSM does daily spew. So even if losing the control of actual facts being disseminated – it is easy for them to claim the win and the bought referee will happily raise their dead arm as winner as the actual winner who has landed most punches and knockouts looks on in disbelief as the ko’d foe is raised and crowned winner.

    Now this is not a surprise if anyone knows owt about the English PR industry. Let’s not forget that Thatchers Iron Lady was invented by them to stop her losing her first reelection after the absurd Falklands fiasco on top of the Chicago school monetarism shock failure was used to dismantle the full employment and social contract covenants and led us to the wholesale monetisations of all our public services.

    So the likes of Bell Pottinger (a nasty family history) and the PR types is where these petty aristo types end up if not the Armed Forces and Church – which is now a bit passé -for such soldiers and monks of empire who are born into such imperial pursuits for many many generations.

    Hence they feel happy to wander around eastern and Central Europe setting up and running the various photo shoots and films – look Ursula turn your head and spot the body bag at your feet and gulp in terror! That’s my girl yes it’s hammy acting but we’ll slice and dice it into a super star role , sweetie..

    The Russian MoD has provided enough proof of the flight route of the ‘missile’ to show it came from the Ukrainian side.

    They have also identified that the next false flag is fully known about, where it’s happening, who is involved and how – they must have defectors from the film sets and corroboration to be so precise.

    So what to do with the posh boys and girls of empire as their mamas and papas screw up all Europeans futures as they revel in their off shore trust funds and multiple passports?

    I think the personal attack by the West on the children of the Eastern Leaders means that the battleground is extended back to their own little palaces?

    Isn’t it time some pain goes home to roost – children are targeted knowing their own children are safe.

    • Goose

      Western lies are becoming more transparent and more grave than those coming from the East.

      You’d expect the US DoD and UK MoD to show be utmost professionalism and objectivity – as that’s what citizens expect. Not act like Daily Star journos: jingoistic, partisan hacks, in a war we aren’t even directly involved in.

      Our defence departments will know EXACTLY who fired it from their Ukrainian contacts, missile codes and trajectory tracking.

      Jonathan Cook’s latest addresses why people in the West are losing faith in his latest piece : . On misinformation and disinformation he’s spot on too :

      “It is the tight secrecy of Western democracies that has encouraged such variety of news and views, informed and uninformed alike, to proliferate.

      Social media “conspiracy theories” are not evidence of how a section of the public has fallen under the malign influence of “Russian disinformation.” Rather they are a sign of how a growing number of Westerners have become so deeply distrustful of their elites and what they are concealing that they are ready to believe almost anything about their depravity, however incredible.”

      Reminded of that famous George Orwell quote :

      ‘Being in a minority, even in a minority of one, did not make you mad. There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad.’

    • Lapsed Agnostic

      I can’t confirm it DG, but I would imagine that most of the Uighurs who formed the Syrian chapter of the Turkistan Islamic Party in Idlib have been either been killed by Assad’s forces, absorbed into al-Nusra Front (or HTS as we have to call them these days), or, along with their families, been on the receiving end of a Hellfire missile from a Reaper drone (which never seems to happen to any of HTS or their friends).

      Maybe some went to northern Afghanistan to help the Taliban with their re-conquest last year, but if so, they’ve probably all been (officially) kicked out now, since the Talibs are trying to get the Chinese to invest in their new emirate – though there could be one or two who’ve overstayed their welcome and are currently getting on quite well with IS-Khorasan Province.

      Sticking with Afghanistan, I don’t know whether you read my reply to a previous comment of yours, but I can assure you that the US didn’t invade in 2001 to reinstate opium production.

        • Lapsed Agnostic

          Thanks for your reply DG and for the link. No I don’t dispute it because it doesn’t say that the US invaded Afghanistan to reinstate opium production. What it says is that, in the aftermath of the invasion, the US didn’t care whether farmers were producing opium or not, which is not surprising as very little of it would have ended up in the US, as I stated in my previous comment. Anyway, wouldn’t have thought you’d be citing research bankrolled by Soros as ‘authoritative’, but then it’s a funny old world.

          • DunGroanin

            Where do you suppose the opium was going before the Taliban discouraged its production?
            Why didn’t the Invading forces allow it to be reinstated and actually had major forces in the growing areas?
            What do you even know about it?
            I’ll leave you with two facts

            ‘ Main producers:
            Afghanistan (primary), Myanmar, Colombia, Laos, Mexico, India, Pakistan, Thailand, Turkey, China, Australia
            Main consumers:
            Worldwide (#1: Europe) ‘

            It could almost seem from that University Academic Paper – not exactly a ngo/foundation that you throw a oligarch slur on the table – that there were very good other reasons to invade Afghanistan urgently before the supply was totally cut off.

          • Lapsed Agnostic

            Thanks for your reply DG. To answer your questions:

            In the 90’s, most of Afghanistan’s opium was going to Iran & Pakistan to be converted into heroin, because there weren’t many labs in Afghanistan then.

            The invading forces did allow opium growing to be instated because, initially at least, they had no troops interdicting it. As the years rolled on, that changed slightly as US corporations realised how much money they could rinse out of US & UK taxpayers by providing ‘anti-drugs’ services.

            What do I even know about it? Probably quite a bit more than you – because I read books about it, e.g. ‘A State Built on Sand: How Opium Undermined Afghanistan’ by Dr David Mansfield.


            The Soros-funded academic research you cited mentions nothing about the US invading Afghanistan for any reasons other than regime change and counterterrorism – i.e. taking out Bin Laden. Why would the US have cared if the supply of heroin to Europe had recently been cut off? All it would have meant was that European addicts would soon have had no choice but to get of heroin.*

            Whatever you or anyone else might think, the CIA was not involved in trafficking opium or heroin in Afghanistan, because it was getting more than enough money courtesy of the US taxpayer and was too busy providing a heli-taxi service so that the Khost Protection Force could massacre kids in madrassa dormitories all over Afghanistan.


            * At least until European dealers had worked out how to make it from over-the-counter codeine pills and simple laboratory chemicals, of course.

          • DunGroanin

            Opium grown by villagers and labourers is not planned and marketed by them as individuals. There are local overlords. They were the ones ousted by the Taliban in its maturity as a local force. Independent of the CIA /Saudi madrasses in the camps in Pakistan overseen by their sis forces wholly beholden to the CIA for DECADES. They used to fly U2’s from there. May even still do. Imrans ejection is part of that.

            Yet you claim that at no stage did these agencies and the Pharma Industrial Complex had NO part in it?

            Away wi’ya.

          • Lapsed Agnostic

            Thanks again for your reply DG. The CIA were involved in Pakistan in the 80’s as they were bankrolling the mujahideen against the Soviets. They turned a blind eye to opium & heroin production since the profits from that were also being used to fund the insurgency, as this article in your favourite journal of record explains:


            Of course the US wanted Imran Khan out as he’s been cosying up to Russia & China which they don’t like, but that has nothing to do with heroin. Why would the US pharma-industrial complex have wanted to get involved in shit like that, which could easily involve their employees being shot and/or cornholed in some fly-blown corner of North Waziristan or wherever, when it already has a gargantuan scam of its own called the US healthcare system, which on average results in Americans dying three years earlier than Brits despite them having to spend over FIVE! times as much per capita on healthcare as the NHS does?

            I’m going now, bye.

    • Neil

      Dun, “The Russian MoD has provided enough proof of the flight route of the ‘missile’ to show it came from the Ukrainian side.”

      Could you tell me where you saw this proof? Thanks

        • Neil

          You said Russia provided proof of flight paths. Where is this “proof”? You say the serial number (which I did see actually) proves it’s a Ukrainian missile. Where is this “proof”. Is there some publicly checkable database that links serial numbers of weapons to ownership? Sounds unlikely (wouldn’t it be classified?) but I’m willing to look at evidence if you know of any.

          • DunGroanin

            Ask Bozo and nato to get Zalenskys Army to provide their records to prove it isn’t theirs.

  • Dave in Spain

    Good article overall, Craig, but, being the curious bloke I am, I’m keen to know where you are sourcing your military intel?

    Please try Scott Ritter (you might know him) or The Duran for an insight into what is actually going down. Only in my book, you are so far off the mark in terms of what the Russians have achieved/failed to achieve, it would point to you giving credence to the same sources that gave us all WMD. Or “the Massacre of Bucha”. Or Novichok, and the amazing disappearing Skripal double act? I could go on…and on…

    Operation Mockingbird (and funnily enough, it’s biggest participant, Con Coughlin at the DT) .

    The reality? When cross-referencing both sides’ intel, and that of impartials, and applying objective reasoning? From someone with a passion for the truth in all conflict matters, and with no skin in this particular game, other than watching in horror as a clown Prime Minister (amongst others) destroys his own country. That last bit hurts.

    The Russians invaded a standing army of 260k actives combatants (and reserves of +300k) with a force of 180k. Unheard of in military parlance. Thus far. they have virtually wiped out the +14k Azov brigade in Mariupol. and are now in the process of annihilatiing the 60-70k who are completely encircled in the Donbass and refuse to surrender. This thing will likely be done and dusted before Jens Stoltenberg’s “two weeks before the Russians launch their assault” timeline.

    All this while Western journalists have been sitting on their arses in the capital projecting bullshit and waiting for the “Siege of Kiev” – a siege which would probably require at minimum 120k men in itself, and the projection of which (a huge Russian force idling north of the border), along with Kharkov (which may get hammered down the line) were merely feints to tie up vast Ukrainian resources and cut them off from where the action has been ongoing (and insane) – in the East and South in the ethnic Russian locales. Where that force intended to invade the Donbass on 6th March has been surrounded.

    Game over, bar Victoria Nuland singing for all the wrong reasons.

    Putting this war (thus far) in context:

    * ONHCR are thus far reporting (as of today) 1766 civilian casualties. Even assuming the UN are way off the mark, and you add a magnitude?
    * That is less than killed in the first hour of the Allied bombing in the 2nd Gulf War.
    * Allied forces killed an estimate 1 million Iraqis during this war – a country which has a population parity with the Ukraine. One million.
    * The allies bombed Iraqi to hell and gone for three weeks solid before one boot on the ground moved forward.
    * More recently, by some accounts (The Independent, admittedly not that reliable) there were at least 40k civilians killed in the Western-directed siege of Mosul in 2017.

    Oh, and Putin has now like an 83% home support, according to an Anti-Vlad pollster in Russia…

    Tip: Telegram has been a boon in the past six weeks because both sides put their propaganda (and not) up there – and if you can discard the partisanship, you will get to at least a modicum of truth. Not something available in the MSM. And you, being able to read cyrillic? Double-bonus on your ability to disseminate and objectify what you see, Craig!

    PS: Loved that article on the wedding. It was so poignant, it really hit home. While at the same time leaving me seething at HMG’s insidious nature,

  • John Kirsch

    Good article. Read “Ukraine’s history rhymes with Finland’s” in op-ed section of April 8 online Wall Street Journal.

  • Sean_Lamb

    I am just going to make a comment on this tweet:

    “Denial” of Russian atrocities is now toxic in NATO countries, so unless you want to be entirely excluded from the public sphere, treading cautiously is a good option.

    Happily I am not in the public sphere, so I can say what I want.

    The US has visual satellites, ELINT satellites and Infra-red satellites criss-crossing Ukraine every few minutes. Not a missile or aircraft takes off in that space and they are not instantly aware of it. When MH17 went down the Pentagon leaked to CNN that their ELINT systems had detected a radar being turned on, and their infrared system had detected an explosion heat signal a minute or so later (although they have declined to provide this evidence to the Dutch court).

    There has been a pattern of the Pentagon responding to various Ukrainian claims with “unable to independently verify”. Perhaps thinking this was getting a bit lame, for the Kramatorsk missile John Kirby tried a different tack.

    “We find unconvincing Russian claims that they weren’t involved, particularly when the Russian defense ministry actually announced it, and then when they saw reports of civilian casualties, they decided to un-announce it. So our assessment is that this was a Russian strike, and that they used a short-range ballistic missile to conduct it,” he said.

    “It is again of a piece of the Russian brutality in the prosecution of this war and their carelessness for trying to avoid civilian harm.”

    Notice, the sole piece of evidence for attribution is the incorrect claim that the Russian defense ministry announced (in fact it was a random pro-Kremlin telegram account).

    Not a word to say they had detected the missile launch and tracked it’s path to impact, despite the plethora of surveillance technologies at their disposal.

    Traditionally the Pentagon have tried to write depoliticised, factually precise internal military histories, that eventually get declassified and released. I wonder how they are going to deal with all these incidences

    • Goose

      Madness for them to have allowed themselves to become politicised. Nothing should be suppressed simply because its narratively inconvenient to one side or the other. Otherwise, everything becomes an open question. I doubt it’ll be the decision of the military though, it’ll be political interference.

      The Defence people need only look at the low public esteem lying politicians are held in. Once you get caught lying, regardless of ‘best intentions,’ credibility slips away. And once lost it’s hard to win back. The damage to intel agencies, from promoting the Iraq WMD nonsense, on political orders, has been huge.

      • Sean_Lamb

        The rail-line from Kramatorsk had been blocked because an overpass at Barvinkove had been taken out the previous day

        “Russian forces struck a railway overpass near Barvinkove, blocking an evacuation route” – Zelensky

        My own view is Kramatorsk may have been a fake attack as much as a false flag. On the other hand perhaps the hospital was crowded with scores of critically injured. It is difficult to tell from the videos – aside from the fact there is no obvious presence of ambulances and emergency workers

        • Goose

          It’s one incident and obsessing over it against the backdrop of the wider obscenity of war seems inappropriate.

          But it’d be a weird sort of sick that sees the Russian soldiers paint ‘For the children’ on a rocket (as the Ukrainians have done previously) in order to attack civilians in what was previously the epicentre of pro-Russian sentiment in Ukraine.

          These rockets have a range of 45 km and are notoriously inaccurate, often missing their targets by up to ~0.5 km. Hence why they’ve been replaced by the Russian military with newer, more accurate rockets. As others here have stated, if the West’s military intel knew full well the Ukrainian army fired it, they wouldn’t say so because it doesn’t suit the narrative of the Russians being the only ones conducting brutal attacks.

          • Goose

            Clearly the US DoD and UK MoD have become part of the propaganda war.

            Even though we aren’t at war with Russia… supposedly.

          • Sean_Lamb

            I think it is a problem because it creates a public opinion that nothing but a comprehensive or total defeat of the Russian army is a morally acceptable

          • Goose

            But that is most unlikely.

            Putin is popular in Russia, as much as that infuriates and frustrates western leaders. And the only route to a Russian defeat is through Putin being ousted and full drawback.

            We’ve got news tonight that Britain is sending anti-ship missiles. A ridiculously risky move imho. Suppose Ukraine sink a Russian warship with 3,400 crew.

            How does Russia react?

            Lots of assumptions about Russia’s restraint, assumptions that there is no basis as far as I can tell, for holding.

          • Neil


            “Suppose Ukraine sink a Russian warship with 3,400 crew. How does Russia react?”

            I guess they react like an invading army which has been attacked by a nation defending itself. Perhaps they would say something like, “Hey, that’s not surprising. Kind of serves us right.”

            “A Ukrainian official earlier said the Moskva had been hit by two missiles but did not give any evidence. The 12,500-tonne ship has a crew of about 500.”

  • ET

    Someone posted on MoA with a link to a piece written by Jacques Baud, a former colonel of the General Staff, ex-member of the Swiss strategic intelligence, specialist on Eastern countries. He was trained in the American and British intelligence services. He has served as Policy Chief for United Nations Peace Operations. As a UN expert on rule of law and security institutions, he designed and led the first multidimensional UN intelligence unit in the Sudan. He has worked for the African Union and was for 5 years responsible for the fight, at NATO, against the proliferation of small arms. He was involved in discussions with the highest Russian military and intelligence officials just after the fall of the USSR. Within NATO, he followed the 2014 Ukrainian crisis and later participated in programs to assist the Ukraine. He is the author of several books on intelligence, war and terrorism, in particular Le Détournement published by SIGEST, Gouverner par les fake news , L’affaire Navalny . His latest book is Poutine, maître du jeu? published by Max Milo.

    In the piece he addresses what he thinks might have led to war, the prosecution of the war itself and concludes with some outcome predictions as well as appraisals of the actions of the west etc.

    “In other words, we can naturally deplore and condemn the Russian attack. But WE (that is: the United States, France and the European Union in the lead) have created the conditions for a conflict to break out. We show compassion for the Ukrainian people and the two million refugees. That is fine. But if we had had a modicum of compassion for the same number of refugees from the Ukrainian populations of Donbass massacred by their own government and who sought refuge in Russia for eight years, none of this would probably have happened. “

    It’s a measured piece with a lot of references to reports he cites. I thought people here might like to read through it.

    • Wikikettle

      ET. Thanks for that. On Jimmy Dore Show, we have another rare voice speaking out in Clare Daly at the EU Parliament against Nato. She asks for just one example where Nato has done any good ? A Bulgarian MEP, just fined the day before for giving the Nazis salute in the Parliament walks out, turns round and again gives the Nazis salute. Absolutely amazing. Max Blumenthal and Jimmy Dore discuss the issues.

      • John Kinsella

        Sad to say as an Irishman, Claire Daly MEP and her boyfriend and fellow traveller Mick Wallace MEP are at best fellow travellers and at worst paid collaborators of the Putin regime.

        Their contribution to the Ukrainian bloodbath is to suggest that Ukraine should surrender.

        They are a disgrace.

        We can hope that they will not be re-elected as their reputation in Ireland is now badly damaged.

    • Goose

      Trouble is, mention the 2014 coup and you’l be accused of pushing Russian talking points, as if, absurdly, part of some great hidden conspiracy. Simply pointing out that it’s not okay for people in one part of any country to chuck out of power someone elected mostly by another part of the same country, shouldn’t be seen as Russian ‘talking point’, but a universal democratic principle. The current US leadership weren’t exactly thrilled by the mini Maidan-esque January 6th Capitol mob, were they?

      Victor Yankovich’s treatment was the acorn that grew to become the present day dire situation. Do the US and EU believe in upholding democracy or not? Or is support selective, based on how pro-east or pro-west the elected individual in question is? Would they think Zelensky’s removal by a similar mob justified?

      Here’s how hypocritical our leaders are…

      Similar time frame to Ukraine, 2014-2022. The US and UK have provided arms(bombs) and logistical support, including military personnel and targeting assistance, to KSA, in their war against the Houthis in Yemen – a war that has killed an estimated 150,000 civilians. The Saudi’s claimed they were trying to restore to power Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi. Hadi, elected President in 2012, fled in 2014. His election in 2012 was an uncontested affair.

    • mark golding

      ET – Thanks for the link pal – Jacques Baud is an astute intelligence person who is poles apart from the archetypal British intelligence officer of rank. An important read.

      • mark golding

        Baud wrote

        “Conversely, these militias seek to keep civilians in the cities in order to dissuade the Russian army from fighting there. This is why they are reluctant to implement these corridors and do everything to ensure that Russian efforts are unsuccessful—they can use the civilian population as “human shields. Videos showing civilians trying to leave Mariupol and beaten up by fighters of the Azov regiment are of course carefully censored here.”

        In a previous post I brought to light “The Missing Of Mariupol Special Report (The Search Is On)”, 1 Apr 2022 – Patrick Lancaster (YouTube, 19m 59s) which affirms Baud’s extract.

      • Crispa

        The website, referred to in Baud’s excellent article in connection with the Ukrainian assassination of their own negotiator Dennis Kireev, is terrifying.
        Clearly, inter alia, Ukraine is not bothered about the GDPR and the EU is not making a scrap of effort to suggest it needs to comply with it if Ukraine wants to be a member of the EU!

        • Goose

          Funny how the EU rip Poland and Hungary to shreds over their human rights(press/freedom of speech) and democratic failings.

          Yet want to welcome thuggish, corrupt Ukraine with open arms. As if Ukrainian minorities have faced no discrimination.

          Can her Empress ‘Unelected Ursula’ von der Leyen really be so ignorant of what’s happened in Ukraine since 2014?

          • ET

            I don’t like how von der Leyen and Borrell are made to appear to be “representative” of the EU. They are spokespersons only and it ought to be emphasised by the EU that what they say and do is subject to the EU council’s (ie.Heads of member states) approval and they ought not to be allowed to speak for themselves in their respective roles.

            However, to say Ursula von der Leyen is unelected is an over-simplification. She was a German politician who won many elections in Germany. She was the elected government of Germany’s nominated EU commissioner. Each member state government gets to nominate a commissioner. She was nominated for commission president and her nomination won approval from the vote of the EU parliament itself made up of MEPs elected in the member states.

            As I have argued before, we cannot have commissioners elected because then the focus of the elections process would shift from national elections in member states to supranational elections which would be dominated by the bigger member states.

            I do agree with you that it is high time both Ursula and Borrell were put in their place and it’s past time member states remind them they say what they are told to say by the EU council.

          • Goose

            The hybrid, partly-democratic, partly appointed nature of the EU stinks imho.

            The EU in its present form is like a work-in-progress that EU member states never had the will, or confidence to finish.

            Between the Commission, the Council and European parliament you have the bulk of powers concentrated in the wrong hands. EU Commissioners were typically failed domestic politicians, sent there as a retirement gift by the party leaders of member state govts. The quality of EU parliamentarians (MEPs) tends to be low, because The European Parliament is a glorified talking shop. They can’t initiate legislation, which is central component to being a legislator, yet the rewards are on a par with them having that responsibility. The public know this and thus don’t take the European elections all that seriously.

            I actually think the EU is a good idea. But everything should revolve around the elected parliament. And if EU govts don’t want to make that admittedly bold empowering move, stripping the Commission, letting go of the reins, then the EU should cease to exist in its current form. It’s like a half-baked loaf that only the most blinkered, fanatical of Europhiles could love.

          • ET

            Again, for the same reasons, EU parliament should not be able to initiate legislation. If it were able to, the bigger nations would dominate the legislation for their own benefit more than they already do and the shift in focus to supranational elections rather than domestic elections would destroy representation for the smaller countries. As it stands, smaller countries like Ireland have an equivalent single vote on the EU council. If the EU parliament initiated legislation that representation would be very much dioluted in favour of the larger nations with more MEPs.

            I do not want a federalised United States of Europe where small regions like Ireland will have feck all say in anything. This current Ukraine crisis is provoking the questioning of Ireland’s (admittedly loose) neutrality, something of which Ireland is proud and which has afforded Ireland a respected peace keeping role. I don’t want Ireland dragged into a war because the EU parliament, where Ireland has 13 MEP’s out of 705,legislated it.

            I agree the EU needs revision and refinement but the supremacy of the electoral process WITHIN member states must be maintained and similarly the maintenance of one member state one vote.

          • Goose

            As you’ll know, we in the UK voted to leave the EU and have haven’t really thought about the EU much since.

            That’s a good point you make about larger states like France, Germany, Italy, Spain simply able steamroller smaller states’ opposition should the parliament be given the power to initiate legislation. I don’t know what the solution to that problem is? But the current arrangements and processes are producing unrepresentative officials, like von der Leyen and so-called Europe’s Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell, both of whom seem to be unthinkingly in lock step with US foreign policy unlike the bulk of European citizens.
            Ursula von der Leyen and Borrell look like they’d be more comfortable attending Bilderberg than embroiled in a meaningful democratic debate about how Europe’s security/ foreign policy interests , which DO differ from those of the US, with its world view & hegemonic ambitions.

            NATO also has a similar problem. NATO’s secretary general Jens Stoltenberg has been making really quite bellicose statements of late, touring European capitals, representing whom exactly, I’m not sure? NATO works by consensus we’re told. But ‘he who pays the piper calls the tune’ as they say, and the US pays anywhere from 70 to 90 percent of its budget, depending how you calculate. To claim is isn’t a creature the US controls is absurd. On which, Finland is supposedly soon to announce its intentions to join. They should understand the loss of sovereignty that could well go with having the closer daily interactions with US officials.

          • Crispa

            I was an avid Remainer, but the current behaviour of the EU over the Ukraine issue leaves me with feeling that we are best without it. At least we have only this country to hold to account for its crass actions and not a whole bloc.

          • DunGroanin

            The concept of the ever closer Union that gave birth to the Freedoms of the EU have been successful for Europeans especially the young who got to know and travel around old Europe with equality. The environmental regulations and rights laws have improved situations.
            The EU was torpedoed by the fakery of enlargement backed by these who did want a successful economic area which was independent of the Global Bankers and their Organisations. This led directly to destabilisation. And BrexShit was part of that effort. As is all the right wing nationalist groupings based on edl/kipper in the U.K. funded by the same billionaire oligarchs of the West. An independent legal entity that the EU could be would naturally tie itself into ecconomic and energy security with the massive Eurasian SCO block as its immediate neighbour.

            Ukraine is the chosen fulcrum by the dying Empire. From here it attempts to draw a veil between us (5+1 eyed) and them (the rest of the world a majority 85% of humanity).

            As it must be obvious to the blindest person in the U.K. we have de-humanised all Russians and ALL things Russian even when they aren’t! From Meerkat puppets on adverts to handicapped sportspersons to cats to even Smirnoff! Ffsthat hasn’t been Russian for a century and is made here, owned in Canada and was actually Ukrainian on its way to the US where it became famous by the MadMen calling it White Whisky without a Smell!!

            The dehumanisation which has been underway for years is to prepare us in the West to go to War in a final attempt at snatching victory from the jaws of inevitable defeat for the Old Great Gamers.

            The plan may not be going well – again.

  • mark golding

    Latest Statement from the Ministry of Defense of the federation Russia:

    ▪️The Ukrainian authorities maintain 77 ships from 18 states in the country’s maritime ports;
    ▪️The Russian part returned the Sapphire rescue ship to Ukraine for free and without any conditions;
    ▪️The neo- nazis have mined warehouses with toxic chemicals at the Avdiivka factory, which they plan to jump when RPD forces approach the city;
    ▪️ The remaining population of Kharkiv is intimidated by national formations that open fire on citizens who have left their shelters in search of food;
    ▪️ Russia is ready to deploy humanitarian corridors in Ukraine in all other directions as soon as possible;
    ▪️In the last 24 hours, 917 calls from Ukrainian citizens have been received on the hotline of the headquarters of the inter-ministerial coordination of the federation Russia;
    ▪️ Russia treats Ukrainian prisoners in accordance with the standards of international law, they receive all the necessary medical care;
    ▪️Already 133 214 people have been evacuated from Mariupol by the eraser corridor heading east, 758 of them in one day;
    ▪️Ukrainian nationalists continue to detain 6362 foreign citizens from 13 states as human shields;
    ▪️The Ukrainian Armed Forces equipped shooting positions in Kramatorsk schools and kindergartens, residents were forced to build fortifications under the threat of execution;
    ▪️During the last day, 19,612 people were evacuated to Russia from the RPD, the RPL and the dangerous regions of Ukraine, including 3,356 children;
    ▪️The exchange of prisoners of war planned today did not take place because of the fault of the Ukrainian party;
    ▪️The International Committee of the Red Cross is indifferent to all calls from Russia the federation regarding the exchange of prisoners of war;
    ▪️The countries of the West, the UN, the OSCE and the CICR have not yet reacted in any way to the monstrous torture and brutal retaliation against Russian prisoners of war.

    • Pooh

      Greetings, Mark. I would be most grateful if you would post a link to the statement from the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation you refer to.

      Many thanks.


  • GFL

    Is it possible that the blond buffoons self-glorification trip to Ukraine has just made the U.K. a primary target when or if this war escalates?

    • ET

      No. Any sober assessment of likely targets in an escalated war with Russia would have included the UK, and many other European countries, whether or not Boris had made a trip to Kyiv. That target list would also include Ireland it seems.

      • Goose

        Crazy isn’t it. We might not even see retaliation until it’s too late.

        Imagine something 60 times more deadly than covid. An ‘Engineered pandemic’ as big a threat as nuclear war, experts warn.

        Russia could hit back at the UK and US ‘six ways from Sunday,’ all with plausible deniability.

        At this rate humanity won’t survive another 100 years.

        • Goose

          The Cold War revivalism talk is also depressing as hell.

          The talk about strengthening NATO along Russia’s border; a new US military base in the Czech Republic, Finland joining NATO and more purchases of tanks, planes , ker-ching! for US arms manufacturers.. NATO is just window dressing, offering a false sense of security. For a NATO vs Russia war would be nuclear and involve mutually assured destruction.

      • Lapsed Agnostic

        In the event of a full-scale nuclear exchange, Ireland (or at least the Republic of) would likely be one of the safest countries in Europe, ET, since it’s not a member of NATO and never has been. Furthermore, even though some disruptions to international trade would probably ensue, as most of the servers the financial and GPS systems rely on would have been obliterated, Ireland wouldn’t be in that bad a position, as it produces large amounts of food relative to its population, and sufficient gas for heating (and some electric) from the Corrib field.

        Anyway here’s a nice pic of Boris & Zelensky with a couple of black cocks:

        Apparently it was completely spontaneous, as the woman had originally bought them for her friend in Poland, but then saw them walking through a near-deserted Kiev/Kyiv. Picture the scene:

        Woman: “Can I give chicken jugs to Prime Minister Boris & President Zelensky as thank you for saving Ukraine?”

        PM’s SOF Security Detail: “Yes of course you can young lady, because there’s no way on God’s earth that they could contain bombs or Novichok and, even if they do, these snazzy L119 close-quarter battle weapons we’re toting – which are basically just M4 carbines with a bit of the barrel chopped off and charged to the taxpayer at three times the price, but which we’ve stuck suppressors on the end of, for some reason or other, meaning that they’re now even longer than a normal M4 – mean that our fearless leader is magically protected.”

        • ET

          At one time, I’d have agreed with you Lapsed Agnostic and always planned to have my nuclear war survival bunker somewhere in the south west of Ireland. However, even if Ireland’s military are no threat to anyone, Ireland itself has strategic significance. During the second World War the UK had contingency plans to invade Ireland should the need arise, say to prevent Germany invading Ireland and opening another flank. Shannon airport and Ireland’s deep water ports would be targeted if for no other reason than to deprive the EU/UK/USA/NATO of them.

          This link is from 2011 but states the thinking behind why Ireland would be a target:

          Should this crisis escalate no one is going to escape, certainly not in Europe.

          • Lapsed Agnostic

            Thanks for your reply ET and for the link. The amount of Anglo-Irish military cooperation that seems to have been going on in the 80’s is certainly a bit of an eye-opener for me. Even if Bantry Bay & Shannon are targeted, however, it might not be that bad (unless you happen to live on Whiddy Island etc). The key question for the Irish appears to be: would the Ruskies go for Dublin and/or Cork? I think probably not*. It might not be as safe as Argentina, New Zealand & a few tropical islands, which even Mr Nuclear Winter Brian Toon thinks will escape, but I’d say the Emerald Isle is still a pretty good bet.

            * Even the philosopher and political strategist Alexandr Dugin – who some have dubbed ‘Putin’s Rasputin’ – only wants his illiberal, totalitarian Eurasian empire, based on Bolshevism and ‘fascist fascism’, to stretch from Vladivostok to Dublin – so it seems as if people living beyond the pale might be allowed to maintain their liberal democratic pluralism then. Top of the afternoon to you.

  • EJ Cribb

    To summarise: All War is bad. Bad things are done by both sides in a war. Wars don’t start by accident. There’s always right on both sides in a war. Some people make a lot of money out of wars. There are Nazis in Ukraine. There are also Nazis in Russia. Putin is a bad man. Russia invaded Ukraine. That’s bad. NATO is arming Ukraine, that’s bad. Ordinary people suffer. That’s bad.
    What is the answer? I do not know.
    To postulate: NATO powers promised not to extend NATO. NATO powers extended NATO. Ukraine promised not to join NATO. Ukraine changed its mind. NATO armed Ukraine. Ukraine banned Russian language. Russian speakers rebelled. Ukraine bombed Russian speakers. Russian speakers fought back. Western media ignored Russian speakers. Russia intervened and took Crimea. Settlement agreed on autonomy for Russian speakers. Ukrainians refused to implement. Ukrainians attacked Russian speakers again. Russia called for agreement to be implemented. Macron promised it would. US ordered Ukrainians not to. Russia invaded,
    To conclude: It takes two hands to clap. He who ties the bell round the tiger’s neck should take it off.

  • Pooh

    Tatyana душечка, красна девица!

    Your 5-day absence on this blog seems out of character. I hope very much you and yours are safe and sound. Please do drop us a line if you can.
    Your namesake, one Taiiana Kapustina, comments: “Голос Лемешева-это голос самой России.” [Lemeshev’s voice – is the voice of Russia herself.] Indeed…

    Kind regards and best wishes. May peace be upon you and yours.

        • Rosemary MacKenzie

          Pooh and ET, I also was thinking we had not heard from Tatyana, so I contacted her. She is very involved with family affairs at the moment and hasn’t had time to comment, as you know she does research her comments well. Her Dad has an anniversary, her Mum has a birthday, and her son is turning 16! As she is one of the few women commentors on this blog, I always try to read her comments, so noticed her absence. And I appreciate and read as many as I can of everyone else’s contributions.

          • Pooh

            Oh, Rosmaty, how very kind and thought full of you. You are a star. I also had been thinking of emailing Tanya.

            Another lady commenter I’ve been missing is Lorna Campbell, she commented on matters Scottish.

            Kind regards. ()

          • Pooh

            Yes, bad, bad Pooh, Rosemary: has made a mess of your name and wrote ‘thought full’ instead of ‘thoughtful. Please forgive him, he’s just a soft toy. Those soft toys, you know…. 🙂

  • Twirlip

    Craig tweeted today (Sun 10 Apr 2022):

    “The problem with MSM coverage is not that the atrocities committed by the Russians are fake. Most of them are very real, and those who believe otherwise are deluded. The problem is we are not shown the atrocities committed also by Ukrainian forces. Those are very real too.”

    I don’t think that this tweet really captures what is so twisted about most Western media coverage of the war. Of course, it’s only one tweet, and Craig’s recent long blog post, which I’ve just re-read, unsurprisingly does a much better job (for which I’m very grateful as I try to hang on to my sanity in the face of it all).

    Let me try to give a short list of my own impressions of the coverage. (I haven’t read all of the comments, so excuse me if I am merely repeating things that have already been said briefly and in one place.)

    Most of the reports of real or alleged Russian atrocities in Ukraine are from the same people who for years have been diverting attention from atrocities committed by other countries in other parts of the world.

    They are also the same people who for years have been pushing anti-Russian propaganda.

    When they suggest what can be done to help, their suggestions include (i) sending more weapons to Ukraine to be used against Russians, and (ii) increasing sanctions against Russia.

    When they also propose making it easier for refugees from Ukraine to enter the UK, they never make this a point about refugees in general, only people from Ukraine. Again, why such noticeable selectivity, if their concern is genuine?

    It is also very noticeable that they have only started using the taboo word “refugees” again in relation to Ukraine, in preference to the evasive term “migrants”, which for years they have been coldly applying to supposedly less deserving refugees from other conflicts.

    This links back to their silence about the victims of other conflicts.

    They are also silent about the political imprisonment and torture of Julian Assange for his role in exposing other war crimes.

    Both in relation to other conflicts and to the war in Ukraine, they are silent about the role played by the US government and its proxies, including countries belonging to NATO, whose purpose is (at least since the collapse of the USSR) not defensive (as is pretended), but aggressive towards Russia.

    Another point is that there is little or no critical analysis of reports coming from the Ukrainian side. (However, I am glad to note that the BBC sometimes does add a caveat, to the effect that such a report “has not been independently verified”.)

    Related to the lack of historical context, and to the lack of critical analysis, is a disturbing tendency to promote truly infantile, black-and-white caricatures of Russians, especially Putin, as entirely bad and mad, having no understandable motives, and wishing not only to kill innocent civilians (as happens in all wars, including the ones we are expected to glorify, such as World War II), but also to take over the world, and/or to spread nuclear contamination all over Europe by attacking Chernobyl and/or other, still-functioning nuclear plants. (Perhaps this is meant to recall Putin’s alleged murder of Litvinenko using polonium, and/or his alleged attempted murders of others using comically ineffective “Novichok”.)

    The coverage is unbalanced, both in that it is shamelessly one-sided, and also in that it is sometimes so implausible that to me it sounds deranged and laughable.

    One can only conclude that the primary purpose of most of this reporting is to stir up hatred of Russia, to an even greater extent than has been done before.

    Sadly, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine also produces the same effect in a perfectly natural way, even without the propaganda.

    This is deeply confusing, and I personally find it hard to know how to react, or exactly what to believe about what is happening, or even what to feel about it.

    My own lifelong horror of war cannot make itself properly felt in the context of such an overwhelming barrage of hypocritical propaganda.

    Here I have simply tried to list some of the causes of my confusion and distress about this war and the way that it is being reported – and dare I say, marketed?

    I am pretty sure that many other people are feeling many of the same things (even though the great majority, sadly, are not).

    Have I missed anything out? (I’ve been feeling quite unhinged since the invasion started, and I’m not at all sure that I’m not twisting, exaggerating, distorting, or lying by omission myself; but if I am, no doubt someone will correct me.)

    • Crispa

      The problem with this tweet is the absence of the sequitur that should follow the “Those (Ukrainian atrocities) are very real too”, which is “those who believe otherwise are deluded”. This means that all those who take binary positions one one side or another are deluded which is probably the majority of people, which does not help anyone to make sense of what is going on. it is impossible to trust any msm evidence, which in our case is based purely on Ukraine perspectives and spokespeople, who are certainly not the harbingers of truth. But there is no reason to take what comes from Russia at face value. To make evidential judgments therefore is very difficult and you can just weigh up as best as you can with what you can find from different sources.
      In this respect one notes that the potential alliance between Ukraine nationalism, and the West was forged soon after the second world war with the beginning of the Cold War. The Banderites in exile were courted by the western intelligence services as allies against the soviet union and paid them for their cooperation.
      For Xmas 1950 MI6 evidently gave Stepan Bandera a present of a new car. I was n’t a taxpayer at the time but I would hate the idea of my taxes going towards such a cause, as I do to Johnson’s currently giving more weapons to prolong the conflict. This country once fought against fascism and now it is fighting for it, which perhaps says a lot about this country now.

      • Giyane


        Your last sentence might be correct, but I think Western intelligence have and would support any political allegiance that they thought they could use to divide and rule, or acquire money or land. I don’t think you can transfer the causes they support to Boris, and I don’t even think he’s much of a Tory either.

        In short the British ruling classes are single mindedly opportunist imho. Nothing has prevented Boris from hiking London property to Russian oligarchs, or British companies transferring manufacturing jobs to China. When it becomes ridiculous is the vox pops of fake conscience by all Western leaders when they appear to be losing ground in the battle for economic advantage.
        Kids fighting over toys. So violent and so childish.

    • Neil

      “Most of the reports of real or alleged Russian atrocities in Ukraine are from the same people who for years have been diverting attention from atrocities committed by other countries in other parts of the world.”

      Isn’t it possible they are witness statements from Ukrainians and the Western msm lie machine are really just journalists reporting these testimonies? I mean maybe it is all fake, but isn’t it possible?

    • MIO

      I have a lot of sympathy and agreement with your post Twirlip.

      My starting position is that the horrible situation we are in – a gathering momentum for war against Russia itself – is absolutely NOT in the interests of the majority of ordinary people in Britain, or anywhere else in Europe, or the world as a whole.

      It’s not in my interests, nor those of my family, friends, neighbours, community, nor even speech-community, for that matter.
      The war is not for our benefit, let alone the benefit of the people of Ukraine.

      (The anti-Russian psyop has been going on for some time – including, to cite just two trivial examples, in dramas like House of Cards and the BBC’s recent “Vigil.” Softening up the public for thought-control.)

      We already know whose interests provoking, prolonging and escalating the war in Ukraine serve. Craig and many commenters here already point these out.

      How do I make sense of it?

      A fundamental for me is that I do not trust “our” so-called leaders or “our” MSM. Colin Powell at the UN for example. They lied and lie for the most obscene and cynical reasons. They have my contempt for that.

      The war is a disaster for all of us.

      In my personal view Russia lost moral ground by invading Ukraine. I wish the Russian government had been able to maintain their patience. But they didn’t. I suspect because for them, this war is the absolute lesser of two evils.

      Now that there IS war, there will most likely be atrocities on both sides, and all sides will seek to exploit not only the atrocities themselves, but the perception of those atrocities.

      Nonetheless, from reading sources via Telegram, my belief is that some sections of the Ukrainian side are far more committed to faking and distorting the reality on the ground, and to a far greater extent. It’s in their interests to do so.

      I believe they also commit and video atrocities (and disseminate fake news productions) with far less command oversight or military restraint than the Russian authorities. Some are clearly sponsored and carried out by actual Nazis – behaving as actual Nazi’s behave, the world over, through time immemorial.

      It’s easy and natural to become emotional about such things (unless you’re a psychopath), and that is part of their intent. So I ask questions:

      Why are “we” not trusted to view Russian information sources? Are we children? Have we no judgement? Aren’t Britain and “the west” supposed to be liberal democracies?

      Why are “we” allied with Nazis?

      Why are “we” apparently attempting to cancel Russia?

      Why are “we” not pursuing a diplomatic course with absolute, passionate urgency, given that the stakes of increasing weaponsiation, militarisation, escalation and conflict risks total catastrophe?

      For me focussing on these questions helps judgement.

      P.S. I also noticed the absence of Tatyana, and miss reading her point of view.

    • Goose

      Does it matter, with a person like Starmer leading the official opposition i.e. opposition in name only?

      It’s most depressing how British politics has no one making the case for a ceasefire and diplomatic solution. Diplomacy = appeasement as far as most European politicians are concerned.

      I’m not saying there is an easy solution, and it’s understandable that few want to offer Russia an off-ramp that in any way can be presented as rewarding aggression. But it was Churchill who was quoted as saying “jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war.”

  • BrianFujisan

    The problem with MSM coverage is not that the atrocities committed by the Russians are fake.
    Most of them are very real, and those who believe otherwise are deluded.
    The problem is we are not shown the atrocities committed also by Ukrainian forces. Those are very real too.


    • fuddledeedee

      Yes Brian I tend to agree with that pov.
      A very real problem is where do we go once this conflict is over?
      Given the huge quantity of porn on Social Media and search engines, their algorithms will retain a heavy (American nut-job) bias for everyone who uses. How Giggle and FastBuck etc.rein everything back to “normal” is going to provide an expensive task which could be why Musk is sniffing about (money to be made). Of course they will not want things to get back to being what they once were as there is the political agenda to move populations to the right even further. Imagine when Biden appears to be as left-wing as Bernie Sanders.

      Something very wrong in the world

    • Ascot

      Increasingly, I am coming to the conclusion that the vast majority of atrocities are being committed by the Ukrainian forces. Often the posted videos are shown with no attempt being made by the perpetrators to hide what they are doing.
      There are some truly evil elements fighting against the Russians, while at the same time these are doubtless the same Nazis who are intent on keeping the less extreme Ukrainians ( Kolinskyy included ) strictly under their thumb. The more our own MSM keeps lying about the true state of affairs the worse it will be for all involved.
      A good summary of the media coverage failures comes from Eva Bartlett. See:

      • DunGroanin

        Yes and Zalensky regime even emptied the prisons of real crazies to form a psychotic regiment.
        Along with distributing weapons to all and sundry- to make them into an uncoordinated ‘army’ to go up against a real Army.
        It’s a crime under the Geneva Convention. The Red Cross has abdicated it’s pretences and so has every NGO and Charity with its many highly paid spook executives.

        Zalensky will get to play a violin as he beholds the burning.

        • Neil

          Hi Dun, could you specify whch part of your post is “a crime under the Geneva Convention”? The pardoning of prisoners or arming of civilians? Thanks.

          • DunGroanin

            Neil another plaintive hit and run fishing question?
            Are you tasked with collecting more info from me?
            Who the hell do you think you are kidding Mister?

            If you don’t believe that arming civilians, hiring mercenaries or creating groups of criminal thugs in uniforms is not a crime against humanity and allowed under GC then what do you think it’s there for ? And its various articles? Including civil war?

            Try this set of quotes from someone who is a real expert in that field, Jaques Baud in now a widely linked article which must be read by all who want a thorough perspective, not the MSM propaganda.

            “ Our media propagate a romantic image of popular resistance. It is this image that led the European Union to finance the distribution of arms to the civilian population. This is a criminal act.

            By arming citizens in a haphazard manner, as is currently the case, the EU is turning them into combatants, with the consequential effect of making them potential targets.
            …by delivering arms to a country at war, one exposes oneself to being considered a belligerent.

            The EU is repeating the disastrous experience of the Third Reich in the final hours of the Battle of Berlin. War must be left to the military and when one side has lost, it must be admitted. And if there is to be resistance, it must be led and structured. But we are doing exactly the opposite—we are pushing citizens to go and fight and at the same time, Facebook authorizes calls for the murder of Russian soldiers and leaders.”

            Got it Neil?

            & in Mariupol just in case you are still not clear, in these 6 underground floors of the fortress of steel where a bunch of nato officers and troops are undoubtedly trapped and about to be either vaporised or surrender to do a perp walk on the worlds stage :

            “ It is important to understand beforehand that it is not the Ukrainian army that is defending Marioupol, but the Azov militia, composed of foreign mercenaries.”


            Any more bleating questions on the subject please take up directly with that learned gentleman.


        • andyoldlabour


          “Article 51(3) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I provides that civilians shall enjoy protection against the dangers arising from military operations “unless and for such time as they take a direct part in hostilities”

          “The civilian population consists of all persons not belonging to one or other of the following categories:
          (a) Members of the armed forces, or of their auxiliary or complementary organizations.
          (b) Persons who do not belong to the forces referred to above, but nevertheless take part in the fighting”

        • Neil

          Dun, I’m worried about you. You seem a little hostile.

          An old man cowering safely in a bunker pays tens of thousands of armed men to illegally cross an international border to violently attack a sovereign country, and your concern is that the Ukrainians are contravening the Geneva convention by defending their land, property and people. Did you take a wrong turn somewhere in your life, because you seem to have lost the plot.

          • JohnA

            So Neil, instead of attempting to refute what dun says, you resort to ad hominem sneers. Pathetic. Must try harder 1/10.

          • DunGroanin

            Ah the ‘concern trolling’ , “you must be mentally ill” Stalinist line against dissent is scripted and being deployed – good little chinditz ain’t you?? for trying it out.

            Jonathan Cooks latest on how that attack line is formulated is worth everyone’s read as that makes it to MSM and friends and families get to gaslight us dissenters as we tell them the Empire is truly naked and how many pimples there are on its arse! You must be mad dear child the emperor’s presstitutes must be believed otherwise your a Russian Lover …etc

            The thing is following orders is not an excuse and non of the medals will ever be wearable with pride in the future – just like the Iron Cross and SS symbols aren’t now unless of course you were raised as a Nazi or Royal ????

          • Neil

            @John, I didn’t refute what Dun said because he provided nothing to refute. If you can explain how civilians taking up arms to defend against an aggressor is in contravention of the Geneva convention, I’m still curious. As for ad hominem …

            @Dun, bit confused by your reply. Something about me being a troll, a Stalinist, a Nazi, a member of the royal family…?

          • DunGroanin

            “civilians taking up arms to defend against an aggressor is in contravention of the Geneva convention”

            These civilians recruited as paramilitaries are designed to fail. And then be still be counted as ‘civilians’!

            They have been supplied by external belligerents. Say a bit like Libya selling weapons to the IRA.
            Or others.
            Is that ok in your book?

            These civilians are as capable of defending themselves with their pea shooters as a insect hitting a windscreen of a car travelling at speed.

            And you know of course the last thing that goes through that insects brain don’t you?
            That’s you that is

          • Neil

            @dun, so I’m assuming we’re now agreed that civilians being armed to defend against an invading army is not against the Geneva convention …?

            By the way, what makes you say the Ukrainians only have pea shooters? Any evidence of that? One minute Putiners are complaining about the deadly arms being poured into Ukraine, the next it’s only pea shooters…

          • DunGroanin

            You memory holing the crates of rifles being handed out on the streets to anybody?
            And the little Nazi granny being taught to fire it by actual Nazis who when asked by a reporter what’s going on? Replies ‘can not say’?
            How about the efforts to make petrol bombs with bottles?
            What about the militarising of children who are marching and singing in a very Hitler Youth manner?

            These who have militarised civilians and are supporting them even on boards such as this are war criminals – their days are numbered.
            Downfall awaits all these Nazi supporters as well as the Nazis.

    • Twirlip

      You don’t have to get very far through the article to see that his criticisms (many of which I agree with) proceed from a religious and political agenda, which is spelled out on The Postil’s “About” page:

      “The mission of The Postil Magazine is to recoup a fading vision of humanity, namely, Classical Humanism, rooted in faith and reason. In other words, we work for the return of Christendom.

      This is also the New Humanism, couched in the great tradition of Erasmus of Rotterdam and Sir Thomas More – deep learning, informed by deep faith.

      We seek to feed the mind with good ideas, in that good ideas are expressions of a celebratory soul. The West needs reseeding with good ideas because it is in the process of losing its soul.

      There is a heavy pall of cultural fatigue smothering the West. It is a true Dark Age, where wisdom is confused with information, truth is problematized as spin, faith is ridiculed as superstition, language is tightly controlled, and reason is shouted down by weaponized emotion.

      We recognize that human beings cannot live without ideals, without transcendence, without truth. In effect, there can be no humanity without God.

      There is a great hunger for deeper faith, for purer enlightenment, for greater virtue, for sharper reason, and for good ideas. In other words, a hunger for truth.

      Our task is to rediscover spiritual and intellectual excellence, as expressed in merit. And it is through excellence that humans achieve their greater, eternal purpose – moral beauty. In this way, civilization is the embodiment of both good ideas and virtue.”

      I actually agree with very nearly all of that, just not the bit about the return of Christendom, which is a very important bit.

      The author of the cited article seems to be trying to shoehorn the current events in Ukraine to fit a grand theory. This theory may well be of great interest, but it has to be taken with several grains of salt. There is more than a whiff of fanaticism about the whole thing. (Or rather, the small part of the thing that I have so far read!)

      • ET

        Jacques Baud originally posted this article in French at this site (where you use the drop down language thingy to get a google translation):

        It was presumably properly translated by someone called N. Dass (as stated at the end of the Postil post) and the Postil mag reposted it in its english translation. I posted that postil link because it was the first I found with the whole article not just quotes from it. I don’t think Jacques Baud has any association with The Postil.

        • DunGroanin

          It is a great article as is This absolutely marvellous logical and critical piece again by Jonathan Cook.

          Worth reading every word and reading again – I shall.

          We are – since Corbyn and Trumps grassroots supporters successes onwards, and through the MSM propaganda since Covid landed – being subjected to another insanity of the dying Empire: a projection of that insanity upon any dissent, just like the Soviet Commies used to do!

          Just a short quote for now:

          “The pathologization of dissent is not going away. It will intensify as neoliberalism faces crisis after crisis and social polarization grows.
          Those who claim to be liberals defending democracy will soon be only too ready to snuff it out. “

    • John Kinsella

      That is 30 minutes that I’ll never get back. Cristaudo’s “essay” is self indulgent rambling waffle.

      Any university academic would give it a D grade if feeling generous.

  • Antonym

    I can agree with a lot but not with :

    “I have consistently called for stronger and more effective sanctions, in response to the occupation of South Ossetia in 2008 and of Crimea in 2014. In 2008”

    The CIA’s Nuland/ Freeland Maidan coup of 2014 was worse than the Cuba crisis for the US: much nearer to Moscow and culturally also too close.

    I agree that Russia’s conventional strength has been vastly over estimated by US hawks paid by the arms industry etc. but then more emphasis should be given here to the illogical EU stand that they should buy more US weapons. If Putin can’t hold half of Ukraine how will he ever enter Poland, let alone Germany or France?

  • Jack

    Considering that west keep giving Ukraine more weapons (and more advanced!) I now believe the next logical step, for Russia, will be occupation in the eastern Ukraine, not the whole but parts of it, especially since Zelensky moving away from any deal in the talks.
    I therefore assume Russia will scale down the war but will hold on to land areas in the east and use that as a advantage in the talks.

    I also wonder if Russia know where all these weapon shipments from the west are arriving at? Seems weird that they are not taking out these shipments as soon as they reach ukrainian soil.

    • Auximenes

      According to RT they are taking out those shipments.

      Quoting from the article

      – In its regular briefing on the ongoing military action in Ukraine, the Russian Defense Ministry reported hitting a hangar “on the southern outskirts of the city of Dnepropetrovsk,” where “equipment from an S-300 battery supplied to the Ukrainian regime by one of the European nations” was hidden.-

  • DunGroanin

    If ever Zalensky Regime needed to be boostered up a bit as he may be feeling that the game is over.

    The carrot is Bozo on a walkabout in deadly under siege Kiev; just in case he falters the Angel of Doom – BH Levy passes through with a photo op with a boxer turned mayor and replacement if VZ can’t keep the act up.

    Meanwhile Imran gets the full on coup without any need for.Color – a civil war in Pakistan with an actual Pashtun winner and captain who defeated the Imperialists at their own game gets to do it in real life for the greater good of the peoples of that country. It is fine for them to stop being willing medieval mentality slaves for the West and Arabs and get aboard the BRI and SCO.

    Time for Pakistanis to throw off the CIA yoke and the diaspora controlled country.

  • Antonym

    Another CM angle here:

    The Ukraine is a bit like Scotland; the former is physically, linguistically and financially connected to Russia and the latter to England, plus both still want independence. England should not keep Scotland as a shield, as Russia shouldn’t use Ukraine as such in that analogy. No invasion / special operation / occupation.
    The US goes scott free as 3 sides are protected by vast water bodies. The privilege of natural protection misused by messing around the rest of the globe.

    • Wikikettle

      Antonym. With huge Eastern and western seaboads of the Atlantic and Pacific, USA does not face any land threats. However its global outposts numbering around eight hundred are now no longer castles to control those countries. Whats good for the goose, is good for the gander…Arming Jihadists and Nazis with killer drones, stinger anti aircraft missiles and anti tank missiles, training them in urban warfare. Russia has resisted arming Syria with S400 and the likes of shoulder mounted stinger and anti tank missiles up till now. Iran has demonstrated its ballistic missile capability against US bases in Iraq. Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States have no choice but to stop their war against Yemen, or face all their oil refineries being droned. Even if US Regime change in Saudi Arabia, they cannot protect the oil infrastructure with their Patriot missiles. Israel failed to stop homemade rockets from Gaza. Small cheap shoulder mounted stinger type missiles, anti tank missiles and killer drones are no longer the sole weapons of choice of Nazis and Jihadists. Eight hundred castles very vulnerable. The land threat to US will come from within its own revolting population.

  • Jack

    What is so stupid and dangerous with the warhawks is that they are dominating the media, they are dominating in the political sphere, still, they are hysterical about so called russian influence and dissent…. that is nowhere to be found! How could these people possibly claim that Russia is spreading propaganda or being brainwashed considering the warhawks own activities dwarf any russian measure on this topic? Talk about being brainwashed.

    “McCarthyism re-emerging stronger than ever in Ukraine policy debates
    Zealous anti-Russia voices are actually demanding that anyone opposing their views be silenced, and even criminally prosecuted.”

    • Pears Morgaine

      Go back a page and you’ll see that Lancaster is anything but independent or honest. He’s been involved in some of the most disgusting fakery imaginable.

      • Ascot2

        I’ve followed him now for weeks.
        In the beginning he tried to get local residents to say that at least some of the bombing and shelling of civilians was being done by the Russians….. after a while it became obvious that just about all the violence was coming from the local Nazi Ukrainian forces. Still, unlike most MSM reporters he still asks investigative rather than predictive questions.
        Our politicians and media seem to have no shame.

  • muttman

    My lord, the Russophobia in the UK is absolutely amazing. Very, very disappointing to read this ‘evil Russkies!’ take.

    Also, to say you aren’t a military expert, by any stretch, is a massive understatement. All kinds of statements of facts about the evil, incompetent Russkie scum and the evil things they are doing, based on what beyond proven liars in the Ukrainian security services and Western MSM say.

    You’re swallowing the narrative with apparently not noticing you’re gulping it down.

    • Twirlip

      The Russophobia in the UK is indeed amazing, but it is equally amazing that you think Craig is part of it! Can you support your generalised smear with a refutation of some specific statement in the article? And do you yourself have any criticisms to make of Russia, or of Putin? I understand only too well how difficult it is to make such criticisms, amidst such a storm of shrieking anti-Russian propaganda. But Craig’s article does not seem to me to be part of that propaganda, and I honestly do not see how anyone can honestly read it in that way. He’s bound to be wrong about some things, but you haven’t said anything specific. Your description of the article is a ludicrous caricature. Can’t you do better than that, if you’re so sure it’s all wrong?

  • Tatyana

    Hi, friends, thanks for remembering me! I really am busy with family affairs, and tomorrow is another big day!
    Some of you may know my son’s name is Yuriy, and this is because he was born April 12, the cosmonautic day. My husband and my father-in-law both are professionals for space engines, so, when our son was born on this day, there seemed to be no other option to pick a name for the newborn:-) well, I don’t mind. My boy is a good boy, with kind soul and high intellect, healthy and merry young lad 🙂 he is 16 tomorrow.

    I dropped for a moment to comment on Kramatorsk. Pikabu discusses the caseКраматорск&st=3translation (Russian to English)

    Looks like Western media blurred the photos of the missile?

    Here Pikabu say ‘thank you’ to Italian journalists, for publishing photos with clearly seen number. (Russian to English)

    It’s Tochka-U, used by Ukraine, also, here is many other of these missiles launched at Donbass, with the serial numbers differing just in several ending digits. (Russian to English)

    I’ll be back soon!

  • Tatyana

    P.s. this week I expect chemical attack news. Azov Mariupol Telegram channel had always started spreading messages, preparing folks.
    Btw, more and more news come from Mariupol, saying the intercepted talks are in at least 6 european languages. Some sources develop wild theories about NATO military ‘instructors’ got caught in the blocade together with nazis from Azov batallion.

    • Dawg

      Liz Truss broke the news on Twitter:

      Liz Truss @trussliz
      Apr 11 @ 9:54pm UTC

      Reports that Russian forces may have used chemical agents in an attack on the people of Mariupol. We are working urgently with partners to verify details.

      Any use of such weapons would be a callous escalation in this conflict and we will hold Putin and his regime to account.”

      No doubt there will be claims and counter-claims of fake news and false flags and so on. It won’t be immediately obvious who’s telling the truth, but people will come down on one side or the other depending on their preferences and prejudices. It will take days to get a better idea of what’s really going on, and we may never get a consensus. It’s the fog of war.

      An earlier tweet further down the page gives a sickening impression of what Truss is really like. On Apr 9, 7:06pm, she writes “NEW: Additional UK lethal aid to support Ukraine against Russia’s continued illegal assault:” – right next to her gormless grin in the profile picture. ‘Hooray!’, cheers Liz. ‘More lethal aid!’ She seems to be looking forward to all the killings and maimings with relish; you can just imagine her Killary-esque cackle. It’s ghoulish.

      • Shaun Onimus

        It’s a bit tiring listening to bloodthirsty ‘diplomats’. Has any Western leader actually offered peace talks instead of just pouring more weapons to ensure more blood? Has anyone questioned war crime claims and weren’t labeled Russophiles?
        Putin seems to be executing his game plan, according to Baud’s latest post*. They also state that UAF were planning a heavy attack (mid Feb) on Donbass despite our host’s ‘zero credible evidence'( I’m glad the Kremlin had the evidence needed).
        I wonder how many more ‘atrocities’ the West will spin up before doing something much dumber. Deny deny deny- first step in many playbooks. Sadly there are new suckers born every day to believe these fairy tale narratives. I am curious about those multi-lingual soldiers hiding in Mariupol. I also wonder how we, through our screens only, can accept evidence as credible? Do we wait for all of our Western journals to align the message before we yell for blood? It comes down to personal beliefs in the end, and I cant find anything credible the West has pushed in the past two decades. What makes them credible *this time*? They are losing the plot, this scares me a smidge, but it would be scarier if they were not. Time will tell. Good luck to the innocent.

        • Tom Welsh

          “It’s a bit tiring listening to bloodthirsty ‘diplomats’. Has any Western leader actually offered peace talks instead of just pouring more weapons to ensure more blood? Has anyone questioned war crime claims and weren’t labeled Russophiles?”

          Uncle Sam wonders why China isn't helping to put out the flames in Ukraine, while he is squirting it with gasoline

        • Neil

          “Has any Western leader actually offered peace talks”?

          Yes, I believe Zelensky many times asked for talks with Putin …

          • DunGroanin

            Z doesn’t want peace he stalled the Minsk agreement process that require him to talk to the two regions that resisted the Nazi assault.

            Z’s a clown who used to make Putin laugh with his homoerotic S&M performances.
            Z would piss himself if he came anywhere near Vlad in person again never mind ANY Anti-Nazi Russian cleansing Europe of these throwbacks – again.
            Talks lead to agreements which the Leaders meet in person to declare.

            The talks that sultan Erdo supposedly organised haven’t progressed because the Nazis have been instructed by their WH controllers not to negotiate anything.

            Neither did these which were held some weeks ago which resulted in Nazis executing their own negotiators for refusing NATO’s orders.

            There are no ‘good Nazis’.
            There are no ‘ex- Nazis’
            There are just Nazis, their backers and their handmaidens – which one are you?

        • Stevie Boy

          Truss has no knowledge about anything: geography, science, art. You name it, she knows flick all about it. She is just another vacuous, tory self promoter.
          This government must rate as the most stupid collection of half wits on the planet.

          • Jack

            Yes the whole of western world have been taken over by incompetent war hawks, we need more people like this man below now to de-ecalate:

            “Path to World War III”: Merkel’s ex-advisor against delivery of heavy weapons
            Foreign Minister Baerbock also wants to supply Ukraine with heavy weapons, which former Brigadier General Vad categorically rejects. Merkel’s ex-adviser advocates getting out “of this logic of military escalation” and entering into new negotiations.


        • cimarrón

          OK, Mods, thanks for the info.

          When I saw his handle, ‘Pears Morgaine’, obviously a derivation of Piers Morgan, and considered his twitter handle, Harry Johnson, apparently derived from Prince Harry and Boris Johnson, and I put this together with his frequent derogatory comments and Habbabkuk’s long and persistent obsession with Craig’s blog, I just had to have a pop.

          Incidentally, I don’t know where to put the info, but I daresay many who visit here would be pleased to know that Mary is OK. I read it on The Lifeboat News,

          [ Mod: Thanks for the info on Mary. I don’t think there’s any need to announce it unless someone specifically asks. (If they do, I’ll post the link.)

          By coincidence we did get a Habbabkuk sockpuppet today, using the name ‘Yartle’ – but it didn’t get published. ]

  • Jack

    Zelensky security forces have today jailed the biggest opposition leader in Ukraine Mr Viktor Medvedchuk
    He seems to be have been violent assaulted by the photos Zelensky shared himself on social media!
    Lets see how the hypocrites in the west will spin this. Let me guess, Zelensky will label him a Putin agent (as he have done many times) and the west will buy it.

    • Wikikettle

      Aaron Maté on The Grayzone interviews Jacques Baud from Nato, with a comprehensive overview of the war and not from the usual suspects.

    • Shaun Onimus

      My guess: it will see limited time on the airwaves, a footnote in a report somewhere. Similar to the attempted genocide on Donetsk these past 8 years. This guy is really trying hard to be Hitler, I am sure giving more aid will only help! /s

      • Wikikettle

        Only a minority of population watch and seek out Independent media. There are however big audiences for Tucker Carlson, George Galloway and Jimmy Dore who question the prevailing narrative. Thus the majority cannot complain when their comfortable lives suddenly fall apart. No doubt they will be steered by the well practiced media to blame the other rather than our political class. We are fools if we think we can keep on going to the shops and buy things from around the world from fully stocked shelves for much longer. Lock downs and rationing sooner than you think. Interesting talk on Renegade Inc about food insecurity and the simple fact that we don’t have an Agricultural Ministry. We do have the BBC The Ministry of War and “Truth” however.

        • John Kinsella

          That Medvedchuk?

          In the fall of 2013, Ukrainian Choice ran an aggressive anti-gay ad campaign warning against “decayed values” in the Western world.[6] Some of the ads claimed that association with the European Union would mean the legalization of same-sex marriage.[3] At the time, Medvedchuk described the European Union as the “modern heir to the Third Reich.”[6]

          “Ukrainian Choice” is also accused of anti-Semitism for articles on the organization’s website, which accuses Jews of allegedly owning all power in Ukraine.[13][14]

          • ET

            None of which warrants arrest and detention John. It may be that such views are heinous but not sufficient grounds for arrest. It’s isn’t that long ago that same sex marriage was opposed by N.Irish so called leaders and still is by the catholic church as is being gay. I didn’t see any DUP leaders arrested. Remember this change in the law was brought in by Westminister after the collapse of Stormount which had steadfastly opposed it.

            Whether Medvedchuk (or his view) is likeable or not doesn’t diminish the fact that Ukraine is arresting oposition leaders and banning opposition parties. That is the take away point. Neither do I imagine that many in the azov battalion would be overly tolerant of homosexuality or same sex marriage. Do you?

          • Clint

            Those who are the most intolerant of homosexuality tend to be driven by a fear that they are in fact homosexual themselves. And, indeed some of them are.

          • Pears Morgaine

            Medvedchuk claims Putin is his daughter’s godfather so the link is undeniable. He was previously under house arrest but escaped.

            No thoughts on the arrests and widespread sackings in Russia?

          • ET

            That’s rather the point. Arrest and detention of political opposition leaders, whether it be in Russia or Ukraine or anywhere else, is wrong. Or am I missing something?

    • Shaun Onimus

      Appeals to emotions and sabre-rattling is kinda old by now. The effort is what counts I supppse, good for you! I am glad you started comparing Zelensky to other war criminals at least, you are somewhat on the right track, there is hope.

    • mark golding

      Who would blame Lana Estemirova for being acrimonious as a result of the murder of her mother, human rights activist Natalya Estemirova, who was assassinated in Chechnya in 2009 when Lana was fifteen years old. An investigation questionably revealed she was murdered in a proxy killing by a terrorist who was acting on orders and payment from the Chechnya security services and later gagged forever.

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