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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  • Mochyn69

    ‘BBC warns of fake video claiming Ukraine carried out Kramatorsk attack’

    See what they did there??? The video is fake, not the claim. The BBC and the Guardian are the most egregious of Western propagandists which is very worrying.

    The fact HMG is pushing the narrative for more arms for Ukraine is abhorrent. Where’s the public push for negotiations and an end to these dreadful military actions?

    • M.J.

      The BBC is warning of forgery. Unlike Russia, people don’t get jailed for calling a counterfeit by its name here.

      A joke for the times.
      Russian answer to question ‘Isn’t there a war in Mariupol?’
      ‘By no means. But there is such a struggle for peace that no building will be left standing.’

      Слава Україні!

    • Dawg

      “See what they did there???”

      Yes: “they” being some tuber on Telegram who mocked up a spoof video and slapped the BBC logo on it (which is very easy to do), along with Russian state TV which broadcast it as if it were an authentic BBC report. And because the Russian press and internet access is so strictly controlled, the average Russian might not learn about the deception. Heinous fibbery!

      “The video is fake, not the claim.”

      Correct. Don’t you think the BBC are in a pretty good position to know what they’ve produced and what they haven’t? Let’s face it, the story’s hardly based on hearsay or vague doubts. And it isn’t even a high quality mock-up: an average British viewer could spot the forgery straight away. Moreover, the BBC News has been countering the Russian propaganda that the Kramatorsk missile must have been Ukrainian because the Russian army doesn’t use Tochka-U missiles any more (they’ve actually used them several times in the last few weeks), so the story wouldn’t even be consistent with their editorial line.

      Only a total fool would be fooled by it. Only a pro-Putin shill would promote it as the truth despite being aware of the deception.
      Which is it in your case, Mochyn69?

    • mark golding

      Biden used the word genocide to explain in a speech the actions of Russia in Ukraine. Genocide means mass murder, holocaust and massacre most likely staged in Bucha. This conflict, this move and this absurd assertion is a manipulation of truth, an immoral. unjust and illegal declaration made by a patriarch in a position of power when it is known by the intelligence community, interrogation of spies and importantly personal accounts from folk witnessing Ukrainian and terrorists violations to spawn propaganda in an attempt to sway public opinion against Russia.

      Does not the BBC, the Guardian and other British MSM including ITV comprehend especially after the lies told to legitimize the Iraq war in the minds of an ethical yet exploited public, understand we have reached a pivotal moment in confidence, in faith, in hope in trust of our Establishment.

      We are governed by imbeciles, liars and mentally defective humans addicted to selfishness, greed.and power.

      • Wikikettle

        Mark Golding. Indeed, as we lose the hegamon dominion over the world, our cretinous masters, distorted in their blind lust to cling onto their countries, estates and servants, now have only armies of media fabricators to convince us of their fast disappearing world.

      • Tom Welsh

        “Does not the BBC, the Guardian and other British MSM including ITV comprehend especially after the lies told to legitimize the Iraq war in the minds of an ethical yet exploited public, understand we have reached a pivotal moment in confidence, in faith, in hope in trust of our Establishment”.

        I would humbly suggest that no, they have not realised it – because, sadly, it is far from true. Those industrial liars are taking the vast majority of the British people with them. Even decent, intelligent, educated people swallow everything they are told and then regurgitate it on demand. There seems no point in arguing with them.

        Those organs of government are succeeding in their ghastly mission because, as the pioneers of propaganda (and marketing) explained, you can get any lie accepted – no matter how grotesque – if you simply keep on repeating it and prevent anyone from ever contradicting it publicly.

  • Jack

    Russia cannot afford incidents like this one below to happen:

    BREAKING. Russian Black Sea Fleet’s Flagship Moskva Experienced Explosion Of Ammunition. Damages Sustained. Crew Evacuated

    Like, if Ukraine could get this hit every now and then, they will feel no need or pressure having peace talks with the russians.

    • Neil

      Jack, your logic is back to front.

      If, as you say, “Russia cannot afford incidents like this to happen”, then
      clearly “if Ukraine could get this hit every now and then,” it will be Russia who will feel more pressure to have peace talks.

      If Russia doesn’t like such incidents, we all know what it can do.

  • Chris Barclay

    Do not assume that people behave rationally. This is especially true if the leader, as in Putin’s case, surrounds himself with people who dare not disagree with him or, as in the case of the US, there is group think in the leadership of the dominant group, which is clearly no longer the political elite but the military-intelligence-industrial elite. No one pointed out to Putin that an invasion would alienate Ukrainians in the same way that no one in power in the US in 2003 indicated that any democratically elected government in Iraq would be pro-Iranian.

    My guess is that Putin is motivated by a belief in Russian imperialism and that his aim is to return Russian frontiers to those that existed in Tsarist times. Future historians may see the political changes of the socialist era as an irrelevance and instead view the history of Russia over recent centuries as an unbroken period in which Russians attempted to expand their empire.

  • DunGroanin

    If the missile cruiser was hit by Ukrainian missile , it is a fair attack, there have been many launches of missiles from Russian ships.

    If it was an attack by nato or Western mercenaries, it would mean a desperate attempt at escalation by reprisal from Russia.

    As thousands of soldiers surrender and the secrets of Azovstal and its denizens are inevitably revealed a transfer of attention to such a incident at sea or even directly upon Russian land is not a surprise.

    Let’s not forget that the Mediterranean is where the naval face off is. Anything that trips up there means mass destruction and inevitable escalation to a uncontrollable full scale war between West and the RoW – it stops being a Special Op – and escalates what has been a proxy war to full scale world war.

    That would mean an end to not only Nato but the EU and mass poverty for us westerners as there will be no imperial lands to Rob to keep us subdued at home.

    There are these who do want to see Armageddon.

    Fantasising idiots who believe that their experience and success at shooter-up video games means they are great (armchair) warriors, if they could control robot weapons, they might be right.after all Obama escalated such drone deaths, the killers would do from their clean offices during their 9-5 days. Shoot up kids before picking up their own from school.

    Others are :
    Rapture idiots. Racist idiots. Loser Nazis. The Great Wizards.

    That a publicised gathering of the MIC at the Whitehouse is announced is significant. As is the announcement of more weapons to Ukraine – who exactly is going to physically receive these weapons from the nato countries? The cauldroned Nazis, a few thousand crazies at most left? The equally nearly cauldroned Ukrainian army, many tens of thousands of these sacrificial soil enrichers?
    How are they going to get anything hundreds of miles from the European borders?

    It is obvious we are entering the final stages of certain defeat for the West in their proxy ‘war’, as the myth of the new ubermensch is snuffed out before it gathers steam over the next few years, as the whole plan seemed to be

    It is the last attempt this century to invade Russia and break it up and take its riches and to stop the BRI new silk roads western reach to retain control over the wealth it would generate. The first lot who did that made themselves fantastically rich, these traders made nations and bought kings and launched empires under various guises to get control of the eastern end of the original Silk Road. They invented new names for their dynasties which still possess us in Europe and the West so that we do not even believe we are their slaves!

    A sunken battleship does have effect on public moral – remember what happened in the Falklands – but it won’t change the outcome of the special operation.

    I expect all Nazis to be officially destroyed on the 18th. No more bonkers AH worship.

    Peace and prosperity for all humankind is possible but only at the expense of humiliation of the fantasists.

    • Lapsed Agnostic

      There’s plenty of Ukrainian neo-Nazis outside of Mariupol, DG: Azov have new chapters in Kharkiv & Ivano-Frankivsk – and probably other cities; then there’s Aidar Battalion (now 24th Separate Assault Battalion of the Ukie Army, of course); Dnipro-1 Battalion; Dnipro-2 Battalion, etc etc. Since by now most of them will have a pretty good idea of what’s likely to happen to them if they surrender – providing slave labour in Siberia at best – I’d imagine that most of them will be fighting to the death.

      On a related note, I don’t want to give them any ideas, but I wonder if the banned UK neo-Nazi group National Action (who I call ‘the thinking-man’s Combat 18’ due to their policy of targeting universities rather than sink estates, if that’s of any interest) have thought about changing their name to ‘National Idea’ and their logo to a wolfsangel. That way, instead of jailing members for up to six years for merely advocating violence to achieve their political objectives – something one or two commenters here have done in recent months – the powers that be might let them have their own stalls at freshers’ fayres, as well as throwing money at them.

        • Lapsed Agnostic

          Thanks for your reply Giyane. Even though I’ve only spent a few months in the US, I use the word ‘chapter’ in the American sense to mean a local branch of a larger organisation, e.g. the Hell’s Angels. For example, the sentence: ‘In 2017, the Wagner group mercenaries got their arses handed to them by the Mozambique chapter of ISIS’ is something I might say or write. I didn’t mean it in the sense of a new beginning for them or anything like that.

          On a vaguely related theme, I asked you on another thread if you were originally from Kurdistan, but I’m not sure if you ever saw it. Hope you’re having a Ramadan Mubarak.

          • giyane

            Lapsed Agnostic

            Thanks for your reply. I was born in tranquil Hertfordshire. Thanks, I am using an online Arabic Qur’an which translates any word you mouse over. e.g. Chapter = US proxy, quasi religious, terrorist-recruitment cell.

    • Neil


      “If the missile cruiser was hit by Ukrainian missile , it is a fair attack”


      “If it was an attack by nato or Western mercenaries …”

      Unfounded speculation.

      “As … secrets of Azovstal and its denizens are inevitably revealed a transfer of attention to such a incident at sea or even directly upon Russian land is not a surprise.”

      The unfounded speculation is now fact, proven by (new unfounded speculation) the west’s desire to cover up unspecified Azov secrets.

      A perfect though unwitting example of how conspiracy theories are born.

      You know what? It was probably just a Ukrainian missile.

        • Neil

          Speculation backed up by checkable evidence plus most likely probabilities plus in accord with previous precedents plus simplest explanations, as opposed to evidence-free, improbable, unprecedented and overly complex.

          The ship being hit by a Ukrainian missile adheres to the former, the sinking being carried out by nato agents to distract from nazi secrets ticks all the latter boxes.

  • mark golding

    I cited the atrocities of the Iraq war a number of times here on this thread. These crimes and others are now being exculpated, cleaned and forgotten by the blatant censorship, propaganda and emotions provoked by the horrors of the so called war in Ukraine, unprecedentedly shown to the public by the Western media which typically ignores carnage and victims of wars waged by Western countries and their allies. Even bloodthirsty warmonger Mr Blair has risen from his tomb strengthened and revitalized by the hype of another war antithetical to the Iraq massacre.

    A so far secret plan to reinforce the Western lying machine and prolong the endless quagmire in Ukraine, towns and villages in Britain will be asked to prepare services for the Ukrainian dead at War memorials throughout the UK. This powerful overture will ensure the English will remain entrapped inside a completely closed system of propaganda about this war,

    The multiple benefits of this conflict to Western power and weapons manufacture guarantees belligerents will be silenced, screwed or even jailed if one dares to challenge the disinformation.

    • Giyane

      Mark Golding

      In the aftermath of the Iraq war it did not take long for Iraqis to consciously suppress their emotional outrage at General Petraus’ false flag intersectarian market place bombs. However much they were enraged by them, they quickly came to understand , with actual evidence, that these Sunni Shi’a provocations were perpetrated by the US enemy.

      And this in turn quickly united the country which Petraus had tried to split. So the question is , how long will it take for the penny to drop in Britain that the blanket propaganda about Ukraine is suspect?
      A more politically aware population here would be a very good thing, and extremely dangerous for the deep state, which at present has the entire population dancing to their tune.

      • mark golding

        Giyane – Agreed this arena of deception that completes the picture of US/UK enemy operations is not noticed by UK folk. With UK special forces in Ukraine (some disguised as Russian correspondents) and US satellite imagery of Russian movements given to Ukraine forces as supplied to foreign fighters in Syria, President Putin is trusting Syrian combat know-how to counter Western intervention such as planting IED’s by UK mercenaries.

        • Giyane

          Mark Golding

          The Deception is vaster than you describe, and people are wise not to step in and get stung by it.
          If we extend the comparison with Syria, the US eventually completely destroyed their proxies in Mosul, as I’m sure they will destroy their Nazi proxies in Ukraine. They will suddenly discover that Nazis are bad.

          If I was Biden, which I have carefully taken life choices to avoid, I would be weighing up in my mind whether to allow Russia to destroy the Ukranian Nazi army now and save the expense of doing it later, thus completing my propaganda that Russia is universally bad. Or whether to save them by negotiating peace and Ukranian neutrality which is what Russia has asked for all along.

          The US knows better than anyone the importance of having a coast to coast railway and road across a continent. This war in Ukraine is primarily about who owns the Chinese railway/Road. Ukranian Neutrality would mean China owns it, while Nato membership would block China’s ambition of coast to coast control.

          Biden’s the man to decide the destiny of the world. Does he sacrifice his proxies now, surrendering control of Ukraine to Russia and China, or does he sue for peace and retain his Nazis intact and use them as a permanent irritant to China’s silk road?

          A choice which is thankfully above my pay grade. But it does demonstrate why Brits have learnt to ignore geopolitical wargames.

          • mark golding

            Giyane – The silk road is an interesting viewpoint and the Eurasian rail link, which China is confident will play a critical role in opening up the long-ignored Central Asian economies on China’s Western borders, has seen traffic disrupted.

            The belt and road network does provide a critically important bulwark in an unstable world albeit I think the short-term loss of some container traffic on the Eurasian railway will not keep Beijing leaders awake at night as sea routes although take some two weeks longer are cheaper and air freight is used for time critical components.

    • Tom Welsh

      “…Mr Blair has risen from his tomb strengthened and revitalized…”

      Now that’s a good idea! Why don’t we call him “Imhotep” in future?

    • Neil

      Mark, out of interest, why is the war in Ukraine “so called”?

      Re Iraq, isn’t it possible that the Iraq war could be wrong AND the Ukraine war be wrong?

      • Tom Welsh

        The point is that the war in Iraq and the deliberate escalation in Ukraine since 2014 or earlier have both been engineered by the same revoltingly cruel, dishonest, selfish, and cynical gang in Washington DC. If they were in the wrong in Iraq – which they obviously and emphatically were – they are most likely in the wrong in Ukraine.

        The Iraqis and the Russians – like the Chinese, the Iranians, the Syrians, the Afghans, the Venezuelans, the Yugoslavs, the Libyans, the Yemenis, the Somalis, the Sudanians and scores of other peoples – are guilty of the same “crime”: disobliging the Washington gang. Washington has only one response to any resistance: steadily escalating violence.

        The gang has now overreached itself. Rendered fatally over-confident by 170 years of consistently successful aggression and bullying, it has suddenly found itself on the very brink of war against Russia – with the prospect that, if matters escalate, Russia would be joined by China, Iran, and perhaps many of the other US victims of yesteryear and today. The list of nations whose citizens have offered to go and fight for Russia in Ukraine is impressive, and has been growing.

        • Neil

          It’s OK to be critical of the West (luckily in the West, such criticism is not illegal) but you seem completely blind to Russia’s wrongdoings. Why is that? Either you’re biased, or Russia is a paragon of virtue. Which is more likely?

    • Neil

      Mark, you might benefit from this article…

      Although maybe not. As the guy says,

      “There are certain people [here] who would defend Russia no matter what, because it fits with their world view that anyone who’s against the US or the West must be good. They bend over backwards to excuse Putin’s war crimes because they see him as against the West, so he must be OK.”

      • Tom Welsh

        Nobody ever benefits from reading The Telegraph, or any other of the mainstream media. Although some of them do have decent Sudoku and crosswords.

      • Natasha

        Neil, The Telegraph quote you offer is pure propaganda of the ‘you’re either with us or against us’ puke-inducing variety. Further ‘Bellingcat’ cannot be trusted as impartial. People and politics come in many shades. By far the best tool is ones’ own critical thinking.

        • Neil

          Natasha, with all respect, when an investigation provides masses of freely accessible and checkable evidence in the form of online open source info, social media posts, satellite imagery, photos, video, official reports, documents, statements, etc etc to back up its conclusions (the way that Bellingcat does), how does it make sense to simply write it off as “impartial propaganda”. Critical thinking doesn’t exist in a vacuum. To form critical opinions you need information. Clearly, information backed up by empirical evidence is more trustworthy than information that comes out of a state which bans independent media and outlaws dissenting opinions.

        • Neil

          Natasha, thanks for the links. I read the article titled, “Evidence that the missile of the Kramatorsk station massacre is not Russian, but Ukrainian”.

          Contrary to the article’s title, it was merely a series of statements by the author (e.g. “Only the Ukrainian Armed Forces have Tochka-U missiles. Russia does not have any since 2019: they have all been deactivated…” and so on and so on. Not a shred of evidence in sight, just assertions that demand blind faith in the author’s word.

          I tried another article, but only got this far… “The Western sanctions against Russia, decided unilaterally by Washington …” That’s clearly nonsense. Different countries have reacted differently, some have refused to impose sanctions, some have been far more hawkish. Some countries have badgered the US to do more (if I remember rightly, the US was initially reluctant about the swift banking sanctions but was eventually persuaded.) Sanctions have evidently not been “decided unilaterally by Washington”.

          I’m always happy to read articles which challenge my biases but that kind of writing isn’t very persuasive, unless you happen to already agree with the author, in which case it’s simply an exercise in groupthink affirmation

  • ET

    “The multiple benefits of this conflict to Western power and weapons manufacture guarantees belligerents will be silenced, screwed or even jailed if one dares to challenge the disinformation.”

    Janet Yellen, US treasury secretary, in a speech to the Atlantic Council one week before the world’s finance ministers and central bank governors meet in Washington for the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group’s annual spring meeting warned of major consequences for countries that undermine the sanctions that the U.S. and its Western allies have imposed on Russia over the war in Ukraine.

    “The unified coalition of sanctioning countries will not be indifferent to actions that undermine the sanctions we’ve put in place….”

    In the same speech she also said:

    “Going forward, it will be increasingly difficult to separate economic issues from broader considerations of national interest, including national security,” Yellen said. “The world’s attitude towards China and its willingness to embrace further economic integration may well be affected by China’s reaction to our call for resolute action on Russia.”

    There is that “National Security” catch all laying the foundation for you to be “silenced, screwed or even jailed if one dares to challenge the disinformation.”

    Some of the rhetoric we are hearing is how if Russia were to succeed in Ukraine it might embolden China to invade Taiwan. In an article entitled “Deterrence, China, and the U.S.” by United States Foreign Service Officer (retired) Peter Van Buren he addresses the Taiwan geopolitical situation and how it isn’t comparable to the Ukraine geopolitical situation. He compares how NATO’s more rigid alliance structure helped cause the Ukraine situation whilst the less formal, more open to interpretation US/Taiwan “association” has meant that things can carry on as they have been for both China and Taiwan.

    • mark golding

      ET – Interesting links – Is Russia China’s big hard dog barking and biting as necessary to influence events around the world? Of course it is. China holds the world’s economic keys, just witness her strong commerce exchange with Taiwan betwixt strategic ambiguity and here lies the rub for US dominance, control and influence chiefly as the Sino-Russian relationship between their countries’ would have “no limits” and “no wavering,” this according to a Chinese government description of the Feb.4th Beijing Olympics meeting.

      The US want this mean Russian dog neutered. It understands an impotent Russia weakens China especially her operations in earths solar system where Russian knowledge is comparable to America and expertise is a controlling influence on world affairs (remember Reagan’s star wars defense program for instance) and advances in ram-jet propulsion.

      The badly needed new world order complete with a new trading and monetary in the balance and the US/UK alliance is hell-bent on preempting and opposing this perceived travesty.

  • Harry Law

    What most writers view as “the annexation of Crimea” is wrong and that everything done was illegal. This view was rightly challenged in the article linked below. Craig Murray views the army being present in Crimea as the important factor in the referendum being illegal. The article linked below refutes that notion.
    In 2014, the West called Crimea’s secession from Ukraine and its annexation to Russia an annexation and began an aggressive anti-Russian policy. But was it annexation from a legal point of view? The author of the article, Wolfgang Bittner, proves that there is not, referring, among other things, to the lawyer and legal philosopher Reinhard Merkel. It was not Russia that violated international law, but Ukraine.

  • Obnna Emmanuel

    This is a rather interesting analysis.
    The media’s attempt to portray Ukrainian leaders as shining beacons of morality and stifling all mention of their corruption is ridiculous. I understand that claims of Ukrainian corruption are often used to defend the Russian invasion but this stupid campaign to pretend it doesn’t exist rather than addressing them and explaining why it doesn’t justify an invasion. This is just another event eroding trust in the media.

    • Courtenay Francis Raymond Barnett

      A few thoughts recently came to mind and I share here.

      I make my point by reference to the US, Iran, Venezuela and Russia. I start with the US and follow a common thread linking oil and gas to sanctions and the consequences arising therefrom.
      The US is in the privileged position of having the world’s reserve currency and being in control of the financial architecture of the world and therein controlling the SWIFT system.
      So, first to Iran. In 1953 the US CIA assisted by British oil interests overthrew the democratically leader of Iran, Mohammad Mosaddegh, in a coup. The Shah of Iran was installed to America’s advantage. The coup occurred because the US and UK were disapproving of the nationalisation of Iranian oil. The Shah proved unpopular and in 1979 there was a new form of government established in Iran which exists to this day. Following the Iranian revolution sanctions were imposed on Iran which was barred from the SWIFT system. The effect of the sanctions was that Iran could not trade its oil freely on the world market and thus the general impact was to lessen the aggregate of available global oil and negatively impact the price and sales of Iranian oil.
      Next, Venezuela. The election of Hugo Chavez brought change in Venezuela by way of the nationalisation of Venezuela’s oil. The death of Chavez saw Nicholas Maduro being elected. The US response was to reject Maduro’s legitimacy and despite a UN vote of two thirds of the General Assembly acknowledging Maduro’s legitimacy the US still wanted its choice of Juan Guido to be appointed as Venezuelan President. Again, consequences arose of the US imposing sanctions on Venezuela and Venezuela was barred from the SWIFT system. The effect of the sanctions was that Venezuela could not trade its oil freely on the world market and thus the general impact was to lessen the aggregate of available global oil and negatively impact the price and sales of Venezuelan oil.
      And finally, Russia. Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this year. The US response was the imposition of sanctions against Russia. Russia was barred from the SWIFT system. The effect of the sanctions was that Russia could not trade its oil freely on the world market and thus the general impact was to lessen the aggregate of available global oil and negatively impact the price and sales of Russian oil.
      The repetitive similarity is clear in each instance. My point is not about the political rights or wrong of the sanctions but rather leads to the global inflationary consequence of the imposition of such sanctions in the oil market. As a short diversion, I reference Joe Biden’s pronouncement to the people of the United States that the current rates of inflation being experienced in America is due to ‘Putin’s war’ in Ukraine. Additionally, Biden has been urging the European countries to impose sanctions against Russian oil and gas. In both instances he is wrong. The volume of Russian oil bought by the US from Russia amounts to about 3%. So, the impact of sanctions has precious little impact on the sum total of American imported oil and by extension on domestic oil prices in America. By contrast, some European countries are dependent on Russian oil and gas to as high as 40%. The request by Biden, in such a situation then amounts to an invitation for such countries to commit literal ‘economic suicide’. In all of this, again by contrast, I find it particularly interesting that the US does not hesitate to continue normal and quite significant oil purchases from Saudi Arabia while simultaneously making substantial arms sales which the Saudis have been using against Yemeni civilians. But so be it – do as I say – not as I do.
      In the wider scheme of things it seems to me that the available oil and gas which the countries of Iran, Venezuela, Iran and Russia combined, command, constitutes a substantial portion of global oil supplies. Thus, if the aggregate of that oil and gas supply were released and made available on the world market, the consequence, I assume, would be to reduce the cost of energy, which would be a desirable result for the US and the rest of the world. Surely, if Europe, and especially Germany, were thinking in clear and enlightened economic terms then Nordstream 11 and quite affordable Russian oil and gas would be a rational decision for Germany and the rest of Europe to make. So, last but not least, the appeal by the US to moral conduct, principles and pure values seems to me to be laughable, if one but reflects on the number of illegal wars the US has launched – not least in Iraq and bombed Libya to smithereens while still being illegally in Syria and continuing active oil trading with Saudi Arabia. Why, I ask myself, would any rational European leader want to harm the welfare of their own people? Come winter, is it Putin to pay the price – or – will the suffering be felt to greater degree by the mass of the European population? Do the sanctions not actually negatively impact the innocent civilian populations within the sanctioned countries?
      I raise these few points all to say that despite what the mainstream media may preach ( may I say selectively preach and likewise selectively focus on) – there is another reality worthy of consideration when the world’s population at large has to contend with the practical question – how am I to live and survive?

      Over to you – any thoughts.

      • Giyane


        My monthly energy bills will rise as a consequence of the covid interruptions in oil production from £20 per month to £50 per month. An email arrived from the supply company suggesting £60 per month

        And I presume these increases will be repeated after Ukraine. Ofgem has put a one tear one off levy on every household of £68 to pay for unpaid energy by bankrupt energy companies which could also be repeated after Ukraine.

        Our Tory government sold off much of our storage capacity, confident in their ability to access energy supplies. In a mad market world I suppose this is all gesture politics because our energy suppliers will simply buy fuel from third parties who buy Russian oil and gas.
        Gangster capitalism will survive and prices will normalise. Of course that could not happen if Russia put in place their own sanctions to prevent their oil being sold on to Western countries.

        Tories move fast and break everything. The drastic increase in prices is deliberate and vastly profitable to all gangsters on all sides.

      • Harry Law

        Courtenay Francis Raymond Barnett, thanks for your considered views which I think are generally correct, according to the comment by ET up thread “The unified coalition of sanctioning countries will not be indifferent to actions that undermine the sanctions we’ve put in place….” Janet Yellen, US treasury secretary, what this amounts to are threats to sanction other states who trade with Russia. These threats are illegal since the only threats or actions which can be put in place are by the United Nations. Yellen and the US government by pass the UN and International Law by invoking the US made up “Rules based order” i.e. we [the US] make up the rules, the rest of the world follows those rules…. or else!

        • Bramble

          The words protection racket and hypocrisy come to mind. If we were really opposed to aggressive imperialism and the deaths of civilians we would be sanctioning the USA (and ourselves). Tens of millions have died in the name of the “rules based order” since the end of WW2.

      • Crispa

        From Jake Sullivan’s comments today about keeping the whole hauls, sanctions are just a modern form of highway robbery.

  • ET

    Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney met his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba in Kyiv on Thursday.

    “Ireland was advocating for a “maximalist” approach to sanctions on Russia as a “deterrent to the continuation of this war”, Mr Coveney said. “We believe we need to move beyond what has currently been collectively agreed by the EU to include an oil embargo in a sixth package of sanctions,” he said.”

    EU, lame from shooting it’s right foot now aims gun at it’s left foot.

    The Minister reiterated that Ireland was “not neutral on this war or on this conflict”, adding he brought a message of solidarity from the Irish Government and the Irish people.

    A hundred years of neutrality, since the inception of the modern Irish state, trashed in one sentence.

      • ET

        I am sure Clare Daly will vociferously protest but she is a Member of the European Parliament not the Irish Dail. Whilst neutrality isn’t constitutionally mandated previous Irish Supreme Court rulings would suggest that a referemdum would be required to give away powers the constitution gives solely to the Irish Government in a way that might bind future governments’ hands such as NATO membership.
        Coveney went beyond his mandate I think, perhaps with an eye on future party leadership. We shall see. I am surprised I am not seeing more blowback but it’s early days yet.

        Sorry mods, I realise this isn’t really on topic.

        • Giyane


          With all EU members grovelling to Biden’s demands for unity, it surely is on topic. Unity does not mean obeisance to the overlord. It means agreement on all sides without fear or favour.
          Victor Orban is as disgusted by Biden’s authoritarianism as he was by Soviet authoritarianism.

          No EU leaders should have gone along with Biden’s demands to arm Ukraine, an openly Nazi country, on the pretext of unity or anything else.
          I’m sorry, I just don’t understand why there is any duty on any member of the EU to help a non EU, non Nato third party which has decided or been persuaded to rock European security with Nazism.

          Except in pursuit of US geopolitical hegemony , meaning USUK new obsession with controlling the Pacific side of the world.

          This is , as DunGroanin says above , fantasy imperialism , on a par with crazed Roman emperors. It has to be said , that compared with the Biden Democrats, Trump is the continuity of normality Potus, not Biden. Which raises the question again as to whether the American people actually voted for him, or he was installed by the US politburo.

          • ET

            As it happens Giyane, an IPSOS poll reported in the Irish Times today shows overwhelming support for the retention of Ireland’s current model of military neutrality. Two thirds of those polled wish to keep things as they are.


            That, at least, is heartening. Sinn Fein are leading in the polls (currently, and that in itself is a momentous change) and their position would be to retain neutrality. However, as the next general election in Ireland is scheduled for 2025 there is a lot of time for change.

            “Except in pursuit of US geopolitical hegemony……….”

            So far, in my estimation, everything that has occurred consequent on the Ukraine/Russia conflict is advantage to USA. Like it or not, the USA have played this to their advantage so far in the short term. I am not so certain about the medium to long term. Whatever the final outcome of this conflict is in Ukraine, Russia will be diplomatically and economically isolated from the west/EU for a decade at least. Europe and especially Germany has been diminished politically and they are falling over themselves to spend more of the diminished economy the EU will have on defense all the while proclaiming their unity with USA.

            In the above poll a large a majority of voters (70 per cent) support tougher sanctions even if it results in higher costs here (in Ireland).

            In a previous post I said:

            ” I don’t want Ireland dragged into a war because the EU parliament, where Ireland has 13 MEP’s out of 705, legislated it. “


            One of the questions in the poll was:

            “I am worried that Ireland could be dragged into a war so it is important for us to stay neutral in Ukraine”

            65 per cent of voters said they agreed. Just 29 per cent disagreed.
            I’m off to my new job designing IPSOS poll questions ….:D

          • giyane


            As Putin has said, US support for Nazis in Ukraine means that conflict has always been inevitable. He has decided to confront US tyranny , as Ireland once decided to confront British tyranny. Ireland now belongs to the EU. so Putin will find out in due course whether his alliance with China is advantageous or not. But in the meanwhile the act of Russia standing up against the US bully is exhilarating and empowering and most of the world feels the same.

          • ET

            I am not feeling exhilarated nor empowered by war giyane. War devastates lives and livlihoods and destroys homes and infrastructure. It has caused a hardening of positions and will hinder further progress towards a more peaceful world.

    • remember kronstadt

      Sadly, Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald on a ‘rising’ memorial in Belfast out shouted the Dail with loyalty to ‘Ukraine’.

  • Jack Russell

    Whilst a great deal of what you write makes sense and is in all likelihood true.
    Having said that the levels of Putin’s invasion – its savagery, brutality and destruction – were thousands of times worse than any Western shenanigans.

    Living in South Africa your article resonated – the West’s behaviour here was not dissimilar.

    • Courtenay Francis Raymond Barnett

      Jack Russel,

      Please let me respond:-

      “Having said that the levels of Putin’s invasion – its savagery, brutality and destruction – were thousands of times worse than any Western shenanigans.”

      So, let us now think and analyse:-

      1. Let us do a comparison with the 2003 invasion of Iraq, media coverage then and then week for week compared to the present war – then ask – where were the ‘humanitarian corridors in Iraq – where was there the images on CNN of the grieving mothers when the US bombed the Iraqi civilians to the level of one million Iraqis dead etc. Do you get my point.
      2. Indeed Iraqis are not humans – they are not White – are they?

      Vis – a vis – ” its savagery, brutality and destruction” – and so compare the death toll and way of conduct of the two wars – then revert to me with the death toll.

      Say something sensible – please!

    • Tom Welsh

      The two Western invasions of Iraq are reckoned by an authoritative source to have caused over 3 million deaths, before counting the maimed, injured, bereaved, and displaced.

      By your reckoning, for “Putin’s invasion” to have been “thousands of times worse”, the Russians would have to have killed billions of Ukrainians by now. I mean that literally: billions.

      Actually, the number of Ukrainian civilians (who were not fighting against the Russians as partisans) who have been killed can be counted in the low thousands – about a million times less than the fantastic figure you propose.

      The only way I can make any sense at all out of your post is to assume that you are racist, and consider one Ukrainian death to be worse than thousands of Iraqi deaths.

      Or would you like to revisit your arithmetic?

      • fonso

        Maybe Jack was thinking of the West’s casualty-lite shenanigans in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Indonesia. Or those in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria…

        • Tom Welsh

          At a rough (and rather minimal) estimate, the US attacks on Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq were each responsible for at least 3 million deaths and corresponding numbers of injuries, bereavements, homelessness, and exile. Almost all of those victims were harmless civilians. That’s the first 10 million or so… then we can add the scores of other countries Washington has attacked and severely harmed.

      • Pears Morgaine

        A lot of ‘whataboutery’ here comparing Ukraine with the invasion of Iraq.

        The point being missed is that the overwhelming majority of deaths in Iraq occurred in the eight years after the invasion as a result of a breakdown in law and order and infrastructure and opportunist insurrections. Events in Ukraine haven’t reached that stage yet; and hopefully never will.

        The military invasion of Iraq resulted in 13,122 deaths: 9,200 Iraqi service personnel, 3,750 civilians and 172 allied troops. By anyone’s estimates the failed invasion of Ukraine has been far more costly in human life and is still ongoing. The invasion of Iraq was completed in 42 days.

        The major similarity between Iraq and Ukraine is that both invasions are illegal under international law.

        • Shaun Onimus

          ‘Whataboutery’ is important in such big events, especially when the West holds such a selective memory of who they are ruled by. The conveniently called ‘Defense Departments’. How did you react when you discovered Santa wasn’t real? I assume you eventually forgave your parents. Same thing these slimeballs rely on, it’s all for the greater good you see? The greater good!

        • Tom Welsh

          The ridiculous made-up word “whataboutery” flies directly in the face of normal human ethical judgment.

          In a society where murder, torture, rape, and robbery are normal, no one worries much about a little fraud or political trickery.

          However in a society ruled by law, where all those acts are agreed to be crimes, even the slightest wrongdoing is noticed and stigmatised. If the justice system is working, it leads to arrest, prosecution, and punishment if the case is proven.

          Perhaps the first famous person in Western history whom you should accuse of “whataboutery” was Jesus Christ.

          “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye”.
          — Matthew 7:5

          “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her”.
          — John 8:6

  • Tatyana

    I’m experiencing some difficulty to understand the fluctuating world around me, and my place in this world. I revise the image of ‘an average Russian in the eyes of an average Westerner’.

    This feels like an existential crisis. Rare, but well happened to me already several times. Never mind. Scary, but still curious adventure. I’m happy to confirm again I’m not a shrinking violet :-)

    Brave young man makes an analysis of the video from ‘the Sun’. Explaining the sense of some symbols.
    I’d like to post it here especially for those who had never had any interest in nazi symbols. As well as for those who cannot tell a swastika from a swastika. (sign-in required)


  • M.J.

    According to the BBC the Russian warship Moskva has sunk. Good news and a moral boost for the Ukrainians. Let Putin/RT try to explain that as “everything going according to plan”. It gives me an idea for a joke.

    There’s a huge explosion at a Russian space rocket launch site. The RT newsreader says:
    “We are pleased to report that the speed of our new rocket Staraya Politika broke the previous world record, although for technical reasons the rocket went in the opposite direction intended.”

    слава україні!

    • glenn_nl

      I’m still waiting for the Russians to complete their retreat, which the BBC have been assuring me has been underway for weeks now.

      Just a bit of kindly advice… leave the jokes to the professionals, at least until you’ve had a lot more practice. Please don’t practice on us any more, though.

    • Laguerre

      As all qualified commentators have pointed out, the sinking of the Moskva makes zero difference to the actual war. Funnily enough the MSM haven’t mentioned that the much more serious loss of RN warships in the Falklands from missiles (serious in the sense of putting the British position at risk) didn’t lead to the loss of the war by Britain, although a very parallel situation.

      • Pears Morgaine

        However the sinking of the ‘Belgrano’ resulted in the Argentinian Navy retreating back to the safety of its harbours and not playing a significant role in the rest of the conflict.

        • Bruce_H

          Why am I not surprised that you appear to support this murderous decision? This totally unnecessary act resulted in hundreds of deaths. It can”t be considered a war crime though apparently which rather shows how futile it is to try to apply laws to wars.

          • Pears Morgaine

            Just stating the facts. It wasn’t unnecessary though as the ship, it’s two escorting Exocet-armed destroyers and the another group centred on the Argentine’s aircraft carrier were planning a ‘pincer’ attack on the British task force.

          • Laguerre

            It’s been well known for years that Belgrano was leaving the scene when sunk, not engaged in an attack. The Belgrano was withdrawing because the Argentine Navy was already outnumbered, and couldn’t outfight the RN. The important effect was the political one for Thatcher of commitment to a military solution, not some imagined military effect. Here, in the Russian case, even British military commentators are saying there will be no effect on the war.

          • Tom Welsh

            The UK Defence Journal is certainly a reliable source for the inner decisions of the Argentine government.

            In a similar way, Westerners today seem absolutely certain of what “Putin wants” or “Putin plans”, even while the same people loudly suggest that Mr Putin is insane.

            A much simpler explanation is that they are profoundly and wilfully ignorant.

    • Tatyana

      2 or 3 days ago there were reports on Romanian PMC Nordstarsupport Group. They were to arrive at a suburb of Odessa to a NATO monitoring group, with equipment that allows to determine the exact coordinates of any ship in the Black Sea. Ukrainian missiles Neptun were reported. The death of the ‘Moscow’ ship may be the result of this activity.

      The crew of the ship is reported as rescued, every of the serviceman. So, I share the joy you feel M.J. 🙂

      By the way, some militaristic people here support your motto, but with a little addition:
      Слава Украине в составе России 🙂

        • Tatyana

          I cannot speak for all 140 million Russians, only my personal opinion – “as part of Russia” is a trolling joke.

          I perfectly understand the aspirations of Ukrainians to have their own independent state, their hopes for a better future for themselves and their children. This is a very understandable human desire. Perhaps nothing in this world is more desirable than freedom.

          But the method that they consider acceptable to achieve their goal is doomed to failure.
          Because Ukrainians believe they are fighting for independence from Russia. At the same time, Russians believe that they are fighting for existence.
          That’s why:
          Russia’s aim is the de-Nazification and de-militarization of Ukraine. Because Ukraine in its current form is a military threat to the Russian state and to ethnic Russians. The common understanding is that we did not start this conflict. We are intervening to end what started in 2014, by the new Ukraininan government. Russia has been counting down this conflict since the moment when the legitimate government was forcibly changed in Ukraine and an anti-Donbass military conflict was started by the Ukraininas.

          Ukraine, in its turn, starts the countdown from February 24, 2022, as if inviting the whole world to forget about everything that the Ukrainian state has been doing against ethnic Russians inside its country and against the neighboring state of Russia all these long years.
          I believe that many ordinary Ukrainians were not following the events, because me myself was not following it either. So they had no chance to realise the bigger picture, or to influence the development.

          Again I make a reservation that I express only my personal opinion – I welcome a free independent Ukraine. We have lived side by side for many years, had friendly relations and respect for each other’s right to independence. It was good time and nobody expected any troubles.
          Hatred, humiliation, hostility, suppression appeared as if from nowhere.

          • Goose

            I think celebrating death and destruction on either side is obnoxious behaviour. If Russia responds with more indiscriminate bombing, then the sinking will be Pyrrhic victory for Ukraine.

            The cruel irony of this conflict, is that had Ukraine not resisted, and had Zelensky fled to exile in a nearby NATO country. Russian forces would have rolled into Kyiv and installed a puppet govt. Then Ukrainians could have removed that Russian imposed administration easily with daily large scale peaceful protests involving millions on the street. They probably could’ve won by now without any destruction. Has Zenlensky never heard of Gandhi, and what he achieved with a strategy eschewing violence and direct confrontation, against a vastly better armed foe in the form of the UK army?

            As it is, 5 million Ukrainians have fled to surrounding countries and whole Ukrainian cities look like blackened husks. Incalculable costs to Ukraine’s economy and infrastructure and lives. The US and UK + Europe say “pump in more weapons,” but Russia will prevail, if only due to geographical proximity and the ability to cycle/refresh forces. The battles and losses(warship) merely create the impression of a ‘fair fight’ legitimising the war to the Russian public. Much as token Palestinian resistance in the form of small rockets does for the Israeli public opinion.

            Some, supposedly on the ‘anti-war’ left have really been exposed by this war. Paul Mason has been shilling nonstop for NATO. The west feels like a ‘thought prison’ at the moment with anyone calling for a ceasefire and diplomacy shouted down.

          • giyane


            Putin has never had the least intention to roll into Kiev. He stopped his forces there to hold up Ukranian forces so that he could concentrate on de-nazifying and de-militarising Ukraine.
            A noble cause and a sensible precaution against further threats from NATO aggression..

          • Pigeon English

            Don’t get me wrong but this is IMHO one of your best comments.
            BTW which wine do you drink when stressed now? ?

          • Lapsed Agnostic

            Whatever the rights and wrongs of the conflict are, Goose, Russia will only prevail if they’re prepared to use nukes. Their BTGs are currently so battered that they won’t be able to launch any major ground offensives until late summer at the earliest. Jomini has put in another Stakhanovite shift (clever reference no?) to furnish us with a Twitter thread about it:


            Even if they can somehow manage to take all major Ukrainian cities in the autumn, the Ukrainians will just go into insurgency mode – and look at the toys they’ve got. Can you imagine what would have happened in Helmand province if the Taliban there had had access to Javelins, NLAWs, sniper rifles, anti-materiel rifles, drones, Switchblade 600 loitering munitions, night vision optics etc? The British Army (plus the Royal Marines who are nearly special forces standard) wouldn’t have lasted eight months before both it and the British public would have had enough, let alone eight years. They might not have even lasted eight weeks.

          • Goose


            So the Russians say.

            They were probably testing the water as to whether they’d encounter much resistance and its scale. Had there been none they’d have rolled on to Kyiv. You don’t gather that much force to do a huge circle back round to the East. Trying to stretch Ukrainian forces by forcing them North does makes sense as a secondary objective, but I doubt that was the primary aim.

          • Goose

            Lapsed Agnostic

            Maybe I should have limited that to ‘prevail in the East.’

            I don’t see any easy way out of this either, or a vague outline of what any peace settlement would look like. And the west seem to have a collective political class in no mood for compromise; not only wanting to humiliate Russia militarily(understandable), but also bankrupt the country, as if anything good can come from that?

            I assume it’s going to get very dicey and dangerous. The world will be lucky if this ends without major escalation and catastrophic loss of life. Simply because of the levels of self-righteousness on all sides.

          • Andrew H
            1. “The crew of the ship is reported as rescued, every of the serviceman.”.
              This is, in fact, a Russian untruth. I don’t think there is value in minimizing people’s deaths – be they Russian or Ukrainian. Given explosions of munitions it is impossible that there were no significant losses of crew. The captain is already confirmed dead by Russian sources.
            2. “Perhaps nothing in this world is more desirable than freedom.”.
              That is what Ukraine is fighting for. Please try to remember Russia invaded Ukraine. Ukraine has never invaded Russia. If Ukraine had not fought back – it would simply have been absorbed into the Russian state and would have ceased to be a sovereign nation. If Putin is now fighting for his survival, that is something he brought on himself. Russia itself will likely continue to exist – nobody in the west is even thinking of an invasion of Russia. It seems there is little danger of further disintegration of Russia?
            3. “Hatred, humiliation, hostility, suppression appeared as if from nowhere.”
              Firstly, please review some of the stuff being aired on Russian tv.
              If Ukrainians now hate Russians – you only have to look at the stuff done in Bucha to understand why. You can’t invade another country with tanks without creating hate. It will last 40 years (minimum). The kind of brotherly love Ukraine is receiving from Russia, might be compared with the brotherly love England gave Scotland/Ireland centuries ago – this is not appropriate in the 21st century.

            To Goose:

            “Russia will prevail, if only due to geographical proximity and the ability to cycle/refresh forces.”.

            Again this is Russian propaganda and not supported by the facts. The Russian army has already lost 1/3 of all tanks (more than combined total of UK + Germany) – it has no ability to cycle/refresh forces. It is already >75% committed.
            Rob Lee has a pretty good analysis –
            At this point USA is just going for the kill (they are not even bothered by announcing the delivery

          • Goose

            giyane ,

            Did you catch : Starmer says “unshakable support for Nato” is a “very clear” requisite for being a Labour MP.

            How authoritarian is that?

          • Goose

            Andrew H

            And you’re repeating unfiltered Ukrainian propaganda.

            Here’s the problem, the media outlets have become too involved and jingoistic, to the point whereby every piece of emerging information is automatically suspect. And things seen as damaging to Ukrainian morale are suppressed. Just getting objective, factual news has become difficult.

            The people who can confirm things : the US DoD and UK MoD, with all those expensive military satellites(incl. infrared), refuse to release, fearing revealing capabilities that are already known and well-documented. So it’s all left to people to trade insults and possible misinfo, online.

            The DoD and MoD will know precisely the scale of the fire and how long the ship took to sink.

          • Andrew H


            “And you’re repeating unfiltered Ukrainian propaganda”.

            Not at all. I primarily follow open source Oryx ( with regards to military tank losses. There are photos to support every loss. [Both Ukrainian and Russian sources are inaccurate]. In any case, we are going to find out in the next couple of months. [you guys were all saying the war was going to be over in 3 days, now you are saying it could go on for years – I find the open source predictions of a couple of months most believable]. Putin will soon have to decide if he will lose the first war ever or whether he will escalate to nuclear. (those are the 2 choices).

            The link I gave to support Russians hating on Ukrainians was Russian tv. How is that Ukrainian propaganda? (or are you asserting those clips are not from Russian tv??)

            The Bucha stuff has been seen by many international journalists and there are international investigators on the ground. [I’m not suggesting every Russian soldier is raping, murdering, looting – as I understand it there were plenty soldiers who were even apologizing to the locals about the behavior of some of the others – however, the total lack of discipline stands out]. Only in some Orwellian universe can such evidence be dismissed as fake.

          • Giyane

            Lapsed Agnostic

            ‘Russia will only prevail if they use nukes’

            Russia doesn’t want to prevail over Ukraine. All it wants to do is to reverse two offensive threats from the US, 1. Nato nukes 2. Nazi recidivist politics.

            The US must understand that siting Missiles capable of carrying nukes to Russia will always be destroyed immediately, as will Nazi politics.

            The US only understands force and it doesn’t like it up it. I think the Taliban worked that out right. Those who live by the sword will die by the sword. There is no legality whatsoever in the US pointing nukes at Russia from Eastern Europe, nor paying Nazi proxies. These two acts of US military aggression will not be deterred by diplomacy ever. Russia is only asking the US to use its brains, for once. Some hope.

          • Laguerre

            Andrew H

            Your “open source” is openly pro-Ukrainian, like BellingCat. Typical statement: ‘If Mariupol falls…’. Well Mariupol has already fallen, except that Ukraine won’t admit it. Except for a handful of scattered holdouts in the steelworks, essential for propaganda purposes. The last Western TV reportage I saw from there was under Russian authorisation and protection, though the reporter curiously failed to tell us.

          • Andrew H


            Yes Oryx supports the Ukraine cause, but I don’t ask you take their entire blog as fact. (By the way they refused to add Moskva sinking based on Ukraine’s reports – and waited until Russia confirmed several hours later). The only thing you need to watch is ( Specifically the number of Tanks (507 at the moment). You can verify the pictures yourself. When that number reaches 1500, Russia will have no operational tanks – in practice we might guess/hope that Russia will fold when that gets to say 1000 tanks (2/3 gone, but I don’t make that claim – but it is clear that the days are numbered and this war is not sustainable in its current form, so Ukraine has no reason to change its current tactics).

            I am also not suggesting that Ukrainian losses should be compared equally with Russian losses, even Oryx doesn’t say they have all images of lost Ukrainian military hardware. However, I’m assuming Ukraine will not run out of weapons given the way it is being supplied by US and Poland. In some cases they appear to be running around in private cars / even on foot, so are not totally dependent on tanks to conduct a successful insurgency. One destroyed tank at a time will eventually hit the magic number – in case you are wondering, Russia can manufacture around 50 new tanks per year (or about 1-2 days worth of attrition).

            In any case, you don’t need to take my word on this – everyone needs to come to their own conclusions – mine are based on what I consider to be objective evidence and people who seem to have a clear understanding of the facts (rather than unfiltered propaganda as was claimed). If you disagree, we don’t need to argue.

          • Laguerre

            Andrew H

            What you really mean is that Oryx is willing to falsify facts in their support of the Ukrainian cause, as I demonstrated.

          • Lapsed Agnostic

            Thanks for your reply Goose. If Russia prevails in the East, the ensuing insurgency will just be confined to there – it will more difficult for the Ukrainians because there’s less forest cover, but still doable. I agree with you that the world (or at least Europe & North America) is becoming a much more dangerous place. The Centre for the Study of Existential Risk at Cambridge University put the odds of a full-scale nuclear exchange between NATO & Russia this year at 1 in 80. If the worst occurs, it will likely mean 90 – 95% of the populations of the US & UK dead within 12 months (though in around two-thirds of cases only because they lack basic survival skills in an environment where the food & fuel supply systems have collapsed1).

            Thanks too for you reply Giyane. Even if they can conquer the whole of Ukraine, the Russians will find it almost impossible to de-Nazify. Look at Iraq, where several years after the allied forces levelled Mosul, ISIS still have thousands of fighters on the loose, particularly in Anbar & Diyala governorates, the best-equipped having PKMs & RPGs (in addition to their calling-card suppressed M16A4’s, of course) as well as heavy machine guns on their technicals.

            1 Basic survival skill No.1: Make sure you have at least enough food in safe places for 12 months (e.g. per adult: rolled oats* – 200kg; salt – 2kg, multivits & minerals pills – 400; 1000mg omega-3 fish oil capsules – 400; 400mg calcium pills – 800; 100mg choline pills – 800; 1000IU vitamin D pills – 200**) and means of keeping warm (e.g. minus 20 deg.C sleeping bag & fire-lighting equipment (e.g. Zippo lighters plus fuel & an axe for chopping wood). *oats contain complete protein plus sufficient carbs & omega-6 fat; **only need them in autumn/winter

          • Andrew H


            “What you really mean is that Oryx is willing to falsify facts in their support of the Ukrainian cause, as I demonstrated.”

            You have demonstrated nothing. Do you even know what the word ‘demonstrate’ means? In order to demonstrate that the facts have been falsified you would need to provide some evidence. (images that you can show that Oryx modified or faked, or intentionally double counted). Demonstrate – means YOU providing proof. Please take this up with Oryx rather than me. [I’m convinced that the pictures that I have seen of burning and destroyed Russian tanks are for the most part real]

            It would, however, be truly wonderful if Putin could convince all his people that all these burning tank pictures are fake. Obviously you have been convinced, perhaps enough other Russians can also accept. Russia could just leave Ukraine today, go home, tell everyone nazis and military destroyed, mission accomplished, and any news stories to the contrary are fake (5 years in jail for anyone suggesting the opposite). It would be a win-win.

          • Neil


            “the aspirations of Ukrainians to have their own independent state”

            The word “aspiration” refers to a future event Ukraine already has an independent state.

            “Russians believe that they are fighting for existence.”

            Ukraine never threatened Russia’s existence. If you/Russia think NATO threatens Russia’s existence, then go ahead and attack NATO. Why pick on Ukraine? (The answer of course is that Ukraine is smaller than Russia, just as Taiwan is smaller than China. Bullies only pick on those smaller and weaker than themselves. They think it shows they are tough, but really only shows they are cowards.)

            Russia says it is fighting for its existence, then it says it is fighting nazis, then it says it is fighting for Ukrainian neutrality, then it says it is defending Russian speakers in Donbass, etc etc. The fact that it constantly jumps from one excuse to another reveals all.

            “the legitimate government”

            If Russia thinks the democratically elected government of Ukraine is illegitimate, then Russia should attack itself. It should attack every country in the world, as clearly it must view every government as illegitimate.

            In my home town recently a drug dealer stabbed a guy who owed him £40. I imagine the dealer saying stuff like, “But the guy was a bastard. He kept telling me he was going to pay me and lied about it every time. He was laughing behind my back. He called my sister a “fat bitch” etc etc.

            The pro-Russian contingent in this comment section remind me of this, constantly finding excuses, all of which may be true, to justify the inexcusable.

            Yes, the Ukrainian government is not perfect, but no government is. Russia itself is a highly imperfect country. Nothing justifies what Russia has done, invading a sovereign country that posed no military threat to Russia, causing destruction of infrastructure and economy, millions of refugees, tens of thousands of deaths and probably hundreds of thousands of injuries.

          • Giyane

            Lapsed Agnostic

            You mention the fact that thousands of ISIS members are still in Iraq. That makes daily life in Iraq dangerous. It was the US that unleashed Al Qaida on Iraq and the US that trained and supplied ISIS. Even if they guessed they might be able to control the terrorist threat by helping them, it was a bad guess, based on the idea that they didn’t care if they couldn’t. As bad a guess as Tories feeding offal to herbivores. They didn’t care about the consequences until after they happened.

            Islam doesn’t accept that cop out, well we thought we could contain it. International Law probably cannot prosecute that cop out., that we meant for the best. Islam says that if you took a known risk of a bad outcome of your behaviour you are fully responsible for it.

            This is based on the idea that if you wait, you may find a better way to achieve your ends.

            Moving on to US proxy Nazis in Ukraine, the US has taken a massive risk, that in supporting a potentially terrorist opposition to Russia, they might in fact ignite an opposition to European Democracy. This is what appears to have happened, when a Bulgarian MEP gives a Hitler salute in the EU parliament and only gets fined.

            Obviously nobody can hold the US to the rules of Islam, but its up to people to come to their own conclusion when the superpower is interfering with things they don’t care about, don’t think about and don’t understand.

            When the American settlers exterminated the native Americans , it was the same gung ho attitude. They dismissed an entire culture as irrelevant to their needs. I am sure China is doing the same.

            The US potentially has ignited not just a war against Russia which could turn nuclear but a war in Europe between democracy and Fascism which could turn global.

            The industrial arms complex should be dismantled, because its only logic is to expand. Why do we have to de- carbon to save the planet while they are hell-bent on destroying it? This has to stop.

            When Boris stands up in Glasgow one day and bans new oil explorations and them brings them forward the next day because of the craven stupidity of the industrial arms manufacturers, the next generation will not stand by and accept this blatant hypocrisy.

            In effect the US, and China , and any other superpower in its turn, are saying they absolutely do not care or understand about anybody else but their own interests. In fact future generations of human beings are the main enemy, their biggest challenge, because their interests of preserving the planet are directly opposite to the global arms trade which seeks to destroy it.

            No ifs or buts, this so called international Law is completely unfit for purpose, both for the present, and for future planning. Imho. It must be changed.

          • Lapsed Agnostic

            Thanks again for your reply Giyane. The US didn’t train ISIS, and didn’t fund them either – except perhaps inadvertently if weapons were diverted to them from the Islamists in the Free Syrian Army that the US funded through Operation Timber Sycamore. Most Native Americans in the 18th & 19th centuries died from diseases that they had no immunity to, rather than through violence.

            I agree with you about the potential for the rise of fascism / Nazism in Europe. As an example, look how popular Le Pen is with the young in France, and remember that nearly half of French people would wish for democracy to be ended by a military coup if necessary, i.e. prevents an Islamic government from being elected.


      • Andrew H

        “Glory to Ukraine” is no different to “God Save the Queen”, or “Rule Britannia”. When invaded by foreigners it is natural for a nation to have a rallying cry – it is anything but nazi. What to do the Scotts shout when the English come a ransacking? (its a while since I watched Braveheart)

        • Crispa

          It did originate as a fascist expression. The salute has been dropped because it is a give away on what it actually means.

          “OUN was indeed a typical fascist organization as shown by many of its features: its leader principle (Führerprinzip), its aspiration to ban all other political parties and movements, its fascist-style slogan (Slava Ukraїni! Heroiam slava!), its red-and-black flag, its raised-arm salute, its xenophobia and antisemitism, its cult of violence, and its admiration of Hitler, Mussolini, and other leaders of fascist Europe. What’s not fascist here?”

          Rossolinski-Liebe, Grzegorz. Stepan Bandera: The Life and Afterlife of a Ukrainian Fascist: Facism, Genocide, and Cult (p. 533).

        • Bruce_H

          I don’t see many people shouting God Save the Queen in the street or finishing their internet posts with Rule Britannia!

          All your posts “demonstrate” that you are trying to push the Western government line so it would be too long and oh so tedious to reply to each point, the Bucha massacre is the easiest but would still require 10 or 20 lines and as neither of us can produce real proof it would be time wasted so we’ll just have see how things pan out, won’t we?

          I have been out most of the day so I assume Mariupol has surrendered by now, it will be interesting to see if any British, US or French spooks have been captured alive in the cellars of the steel works… would it be negative or positive for Macron tomorrow I wonder.

        • Bruce_H

          > it is natural for a nation to have a rallying cry

          Is it? In the world I live in it isn’t, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone in amy 70+ years of existence shout a rallying cry. Which only proves as your posts do that you are a militant nationalist, on the Western or Ukrainian side, which is your right but it explains your lack of objectivity and justifies that your readers can take what you say with a pinch of salt.

        • Crispa

          Here is a clearer definition showing that anyone who uses the slogan is either a fascist or a complete ignoramus,

          “Slava Ukraїni! (Ukr.): “Glory to Ukraine!” was a Ukrainian fascist greeting invented by the League of Ukrainian Fascists and taken over by the OUN. The OUN-B extended it while adding Heroiam Slava! (Glory to the Heroes!) as a response.

          Rossolinski-Liebe, Grzegorz. Stepan Bandera: The Life and Afterlife of a Ukrainian Fascist: Facism, Genocide, and Cult (pp. 577-578).

      • Neil

        “Isn’t “Glory to Ukraine” what the Ukrainian nazis shout?”

        I believe you’ll find that non-nazis shout it too. It’s a free country.

        • DunGroanin

          ‘Rule Britannia’ ok with you too?

          How about ‘God Save The Queen’ ?

          Or ‘NO SURRENDER’ !??

          I’ll slap down anyone who even tries a Zieg Heil Hitler in my hearing as much as anyone trying to get away with N word or other racial slurs.

          Many of us live and grew up , married and have children in a multi ethnic, multi National city – including Russians – and the crass racism against all things Russian being built into the cultural dna is as bad as anything the Nazis did or even our own Imperial Propaganda authors such as Victorian Ponsenby.

          The Narrative manufacture attempts here and in the wider social media are failing.

          People have started taking down their dumb stand with Ukraine posters.

  • M.J.

    Bill Browder, whose lawyer Sergei Magnitzky was tortured and murdered in Russian prisons, has brought out a new book, “Freezing Order”, about Russian money laundering, state-sponsored murder and Putin’s influence in the USA. I look forward to the paperback edition. Speaking of which, I found Madeleine Albright’s “Fascism: a warning” so good that I’m reading it through for the second time.

    Conversation in a Russian arms factory.
    ‘Did you hear that our director was awarded the Order of Merit of the Fatherland?’
    ‘What for?’
    ‘A disgruntled employee tried to set fire to the factory with one of our matches, but he couldn’t …’

    Слава Україні! May all Russian weapons be as efficient!

    • glenn_nl

      I’m not sure this is the place for untalented comics to practice their racism, sorry, routines.

      I’m not sure I would be so fascinated and impressed by a murderous war-hawk like Albright either. She cared nothing for the literally millions of people her polices killed. The 500,000 Iraqi children she was openly on the record of being proud of having put to death is a gross under-statement. Those 1/2 million counted were only those from 0 – 5 years and only during a time period of 3-4 years during her cruel sanctions imposition.

      She cared nothing for Palestinians either – anyone suggesting concern for the Palestinian cause was subjected to slurs by her that they were anti-Semites. There is plenty more that this wretched murderess also had attached to her record. But hey, maybe you’re good with all that too.

      • Tatyana

        There’s general misunderstanding about Magnitsky’s field of expertise. His profession is called ‘auditor’, which is Russian for accounting. His job was to check the accuracy of primary accounting documentation. That is why he revealed the theft of money.
        I guess the word ‘auditor’ means something different in the West, hghly likely something connected to the law.
        And, yes, he wasn’t tortured. He had health conditions and he was left witout proper medical help when in prison. Pretty well may qualify as torture, but again, it’s about exact wording to describe what has happened.

      • M.J.

        I recommend Bill Browder’s earlier work “Red Notice: A True Story of Corruption, Murder and One Man’s Fight for Justice” on this subject.

    • Frank Hovis

      Browder was siphoning millions out of Russia with the help of Magnitsky who was not a lawyer but an accountant. It was his job to “cook the books” for Browder’s nefarious embezzlement schemes which was why he ended up doing porridge in a Russian slammer. This was at the same time that Russian WW2 veterans were selling their WW2 medals on the streets of Moscow to feed and clothe themselves because the Russian government at the time couldn’t afford to pay their pensions.

  • Jack

    Many western states have begun to reach a critical level where they cannot give Ukraine more weapons because they will need those weapons themselves in their own arsenal:

    “Amid the ongoing Russian special operation to “demilitarise and de-Nazify” Ukraine, Western countries are facing a stark choice between continuing to send weapons to Kiev’s forces or shoring up their own depleted defences, reported Bloomberg.The Pentagon has reportedly warned that Kiev has been “blowing through” a week’s worth of deliveries of antitank munitions daily, while also facing shortfalls of usable aircraft as Russia continues its special operation reported the outlet.Moscow’s airstrikes and Ukraine’s combat losses have been taking their toll, with Kiev’s forces ostensibly running low on ammunition. However, the US has already supposedly provided one-third of its overall stockpile of Javelin anti-tank missiles to in response to President Volodymyr Zelensky’s pleas. If the US were to deliver any more, it would risk leaving its own armouries badly depleted, stated the report.”

    For what have the arming of Ukraine by west really resulted in? Nothing! Instead the west could have made efforts for real peace talks. They picked war, weapons, death and destruction instead.

    I thought the western politicians, media, populations and so on would make up its mind the further the conflict was going but the west have only become more hysterical, anti-russian in my view and everyone of those hawks is of course an expert on Ukraine/Russia all of a sudden!

    • Bruce_H

      I would guess, not being a military person, that these shoulder-fired anti-tank missiles are fairly short range and quite effective so the Russian reply might be to reduce its policy of keeping civilian deaths as low as possible and return to what we are told is their traditional policy which is to flatten the areas in front of them with artillery before advancing, as the US army usually does with air strikes. The result being bringing civilian deaths in Ukraine up to the habitual level of those considered normal by the USA.

      Isn’t this a bit of an own goal as far as the population of Ukraine is concerned?

      • Squeeth

        When the Russians begin the second part of their operation, they will be fighting the US-Ukronazis in the open. The US-Ukronazi remants will try to retreat into towns and cities; some of them might succeed but most won’t. Plenty of US-Ukronazi troops have surrendered in Mariupol so the rest might call it a day, in defiance of their US overlords and the US-controlled nazis.

    • Goose

      Probably a case of use ’em or lose ’em too?

      Storage and logistics(transport) must be a nightmare for the west and Ukrainian forces. As they can’t risk a single Russian strike taking out a large quantity of say supplied shoulder-fired missiles. Due to the risks there’s probably stuff stored all over the place, i.e. a serious risk of advanced western weaponry being stolen by criminal gangs, of which Ukraine, notoriously have plenty, and/or falling into terrorists’ hands.

      The whole western approach seems utterly futile, dangerous and since then end result will be more deaths, evil. Ukraine had limited weapon manufacturing capability before this war and with the bombing of industrial plant machinery it’s likely gone completely. Media talk of how long Russia can keep going, how long can Ukraine?

    • Pears Morgaine

      “Many western states have begun to reach a critical level where they cannot give Ukraine more weapons because they will need those weapons themselves in their own arsenal:”

      To fight against who exactly? Anyway Russia is in a similar if not worse position, despite the propaganda this invasion is going on longer and using up more equipment than planned and whilst the US and NATO can afford to replenish their stocks of Javelins, NLAWs etc Russia will struggle to replace all the tanks and APCs it has lost.

      • Andrew H

        Indeed. The UK military was replenished and sustained by US manufacturing power throughout WWII – more than anything this probably determined the outcome of that war.

        Today, the US is already committed and isn’t going to allow itself to be embarrassed by lack of manufacturing capability – least of all in the arms business. (of note there was a pentagon meeting a few days ago with all the top arms manufacturers).

        Even western analysists were initially surprised at how the Ukranians have been able to effectively take on Russia, but now that this is clear, the US will support Ukraine with whatever weopons it needs – a shortage of weopons for Ukraine is not going to be the problem that determines the outcome – ultimately Russia and Ukraine will need to reach a peace settlement, when both sides feel enough blood has been spilt – it is not for the US or the west to determine that.

        It is clear from the way the Ukrainians have shown themselves capable, that the USA now sees this as a golden opportunity to wipe out Russia as a military power, without even putting US troops on the ground. I also very much doubt sanctions will be lifted before there is systemic change in Russia and it substantially gives up its nukes – we have been threatened just too much over the past months, so I would personally struggle with the concept of going back to business as usual even after Ukraine/Russia reach peace.

          • Pears Morgaine

            So why are they still fighting and dying 50 days later with no end in sight?

          • Laguerre

            Everybody knows the Russians went in lighter than they could have (or the Americans would have) to avoid unnecessary destruction. That didn’t work, and they’ve had to turn to American-style wrecking of infrastructure (and ignoring the Ukrainian use of human shields). After all the US doesn’t care how many Ukrainians die in the pursuit of American war objectives. That’s why they won’t let the Ukrainians make peace.

          • Giyane


            ‘Won’t let them make peace’

            The carrot of Nato membership and clothes peg over Nato’s nose at using Nazis et al as proxies , is only an incentive. The reality is that the US president’s son revelled in Soviet style corruption in Ukraine, and the President has refused to allow Nato to intervene in the fighting..

            The West has Used and abused Ukraine and their leader is abroad , making money from spin. Clapping the nurses during covud didn’t give them a pay rise. The euphoria of Westerisation may eventually wear thin.

          • Jack

            Piers Morgaine

            50 days are not a long time for a war. the american/british Iraq invasion ended with them being there for what, 10 years?

          • Pears Morgaine

            Everybody knows that the Russians were expecting it to be a walkover and they weren’t alone. Your Scott Ritter was predicting that it would all be over in a week but the strength of the Ukrainian resistance surprised everyone. Except possibly themselves.

            The US led military invasion of Iraq was done and dusted in 42 days. It was the occupation phase afterwards that dragged on for eight years and which saw the bulk of the deaths. Ukraine has not yet entered that phase and as I say, hopefully never will.

          • Jack

            Piers Morgaine

            Russians have never claimed this would be an easy war , that is a made up claim by “your” BBC and other similar parties, again 50 days are not much for a war and quite a large part of the goals have been accomplished with Ukraine’s army being destroyed and no sign of Nato membership. Now the russians are focusing on protecting the eastern part of Ukraine.

          • Pears Morgaine

            The Russian army went in with 5 days rations and no forward maintenance bases were set up. They were expecting a quick victory which hasn’t happened. The Ukrainian army is far from destroyed, the country is still a long way from being ‘de-nazified’ or ‘de-militarised’ and far from limiting NATO expansion the alliance has gained one new member, possibly two, and existing member states are strengthening their defences.

            Not the outcome Vlad wanted, but the one he should’ve expected.

          • Jack

            Pears Morgaine

            No the war was not supposed to be over in 5 days, nowhere have the russians claimed that, I dare you to source such a claim. Do it!
            Zelensky beg for more arms from the west per every day (to the extent that west run out of weapons themselves!), what does that tell you? I tell you, it tells you that Ukraine is low on arms. Why? Because as I said Russia have destroyed a great part of it.

            Already one month back Ukraine backed off from Nato membership

            “In nod to Russia, Ukraine says no longer insisting on NATO membership”


            Nor have Nato admitted Ukraine to become a member during this war. Go figure why now before you answer.

        • Lapsed Agnostic

          Good post Andrew – but, to be fair, I think it was the Soviets that, more than anything, determined the outcome of World War 2.

  • Neil Munro

    There are big crimes and small crimes. The invasion of Iraq in 2003 was a big crime and, though we did not see trials of George W. Bush and Tony Blair, both leaders and their factions lost power (indeed, the Labour Party lost Scotland), there was some exercise in lesson learning in Parliament and a great deal of handwringing in the media. The second invasion of Ukraine in 2022 was another big crime, and though it is still early days, we are unlikely to see any accountability whatsoever within Russia, neither in the Duma, nor in the media, nor in elections, unless and until Putin is overthrown, and the form of accountability then exercised by whoever replaces him will not have anything to do with justice. So, while there are two sides to any story, and diplomats and spies of all nations practice the black arts, we should not lose our ability to distinguish different shades of grey (with no reference to the successful porn series intended).

    • Shaun Onimus

      >though we did not see trials of George W. Bush and Tony Blair, both leaders and their factions lost power

      I dont follow. Bush was re-elected and the same warhawks never left their comfortable positions, hence why we are training Nazis in Ukraine. Is that supposed to be their trial and consequence? They definitely had it hard then, are you suggesting Mr Putin should go to the Hague, since these Western leaders ‘paid’ for their actions? I’m no mental gymnast but that seems Gold medal worthy.. I would be tearing up with laughter if this provoked war wasnt so disgusting.

      • Neil Munro

        Bush lost in 2008, and his faction lost power within the Republican Party. Labour lost in 2010 (and Blair was pushed out before then), and the Corbyn faction got in briefly. Every state has its permanent civil servants and generals who don’t have to face elections. No, I am not suggesting Putin go to the Hague. It is not a realistic prospect anyway. Far more likely is that he will be shot to death by one of his own bodyguards. As to provoked war, well, I am assuming you mean the part where Putin said ‘move NATO back to 1997 borders, or else.”

        • Squeeth

          Faction? There is a boss class which hands out soft landings to those lackeys temporarily out of favour. This is not justice, it isn’t even a crumb of comfort. The Russians have been preparing to face American Caesar’s wrath ever since Putin et al. re-estabilshed Russian sovereignty and now it has begun. If the Russians prevail we will all be safer, the the seppoes win we might as well dig our own graves.

  • Courtenay Francis Raymond Barnett

    Good people,

    Maybe to understand the dynamics of the war in Ukraine – we all should spare some time to listen to what this man has to say:-

    Scott Ritter on the reasons for the Ukraine war as to the whys and wherefores from an insiders view.

    It is long and detailed and runs for about an hour.

    • Pears Morgaine

      He claims ” we slaughtered the Iraqi civilians ” and compares this unfavourably to Russia’s so-called softly-softly approach in Ukraine.

      Just under 3,700 Iraqi civilians died as a result of the Gulf War; 3,700 too many I grant you but I’ll lay good money that more have died in Ukraine and it’s not over yet.

      Ritter has been so wrong about this campaign, early on he spoke of the Russians moving at ‘lightning’ speed and that it would all be over inside of a week.

      • Courtenay Francis Raymond Barnett

        Pears Morgaine,

        Without taking sides while looking for the truth, it seems that the figures you state are in actuality higher:-

        ” The Iraq Body Count project (IBC) documented a higher number of civilian deaths up to the end of the major combat phase (May 1, 2003). In a 2005 report, using updated information, the IBC reported that 7,299 civilians are documented to have been killed, primarily by U.S. air and ground forces”

        And from Wikipedia:-

        ” Classified US military documents released by WikiLeaks in October 2010, record Iraqi and Coalition military deaths between January 2004 and December 2009.[9][10][11][12][16][17] The documents record 109,032 deaths broken down into “Civilian” (66,081 deaths), “Host Nation” (15,196 deaths),”Enemy” (23,984 deaths), and “Friendly” (3,771 deaths).[14][18]

        • Pears Morgaine

          Ritter was talking about the first Gulf War in 1991.

          Even so I suspect the number of civilian casualties in Ukraine may approach if not exceed those killed during the major combat phase of the Iraq war in 2003. The mayor of Mariupol has claimed that 10,000 have been killed in that city alone although how that accurate that is remains to be seen.

      • Tom Welsh

        “Just under 3,700 Iraqi civilians died as a result of the Gulf War;…”

        In both Golf Wars, you can multiply that by 1,000. Your figure is ludicrously low.

        • Pears Morgaine

          Only if you include the 8 years of the occupation that followed the combat phase. The combat phase in Ukraine hasn’t ended yet. You’re not comparing like with like.

          • Tom Welsh

            I do include everything that followed “the combat phase”. If you fight a man and break his neck, you are responsible for his physical state in following years.

            The Pottery Barn Rule applies. “You break it, you own it”.

          • glenn_nl

            TW: Your point is well made, but for the sake of accuracy, it should be noted that John Kerry was incorrect – there is no such rule in the Pottery Barn.

            In addition, a John Hopkins/Lancet study determined that over a million excess deaths had occurred in Iraq as a result of our quite illegal invasion and occupation of that country.

  • Roderick Russell

    It is not possible to make sense of our involvement in the Ukraine war. On a cost benefit basis, it seems to me incredibly stupid that we would risk a nuclear holocaust for an issue like Ukraine that few of us know much about and with whom we have no treaty obligation.

    Nor is it a repeat of the Cuban missile crisis. This has already gone much further to the extent that at least one great power cannot withdraw without loss of face. In the Cuban crisis nobody was killed. To date in this crisis thousands have already died and there is billions of dollars of infrastructure destroyed.

    The sad truth is that while Ukraine is a major issue for Russia and itself, it is not a major issue for us. It has been said that those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad. It is appropriate that we should contemplate this Armageddon under the leadership in the West of a man who has cognitive problems.

    • mark golding

      To deprive Russia of income from oil & gas do this:

      Take shorter showers and cold showers.
      Do not take European flights.
      Do not use your car.
      Remember the Ukrainian crisis is intricately linked to global warming.
      Take note not only fossile fuels are evil amongst themselves but the place they come from is also evil.
      Save the planet – save humanity.

      Don’t cry over lost skepticism.

      • Giyane

        Mark golding

        In your expert Naval opinion, does the possibility that the Russian ship was hit by a British submarine as well as a Ukranian missile, mean that we are at war with Russia?
        Boris is bonkers enough to do it, since he was bonkers enough to lie about boozy garden parties. He apparently has no comprehension of the consequences of his actions. I am thinking that it may have contained provisions for Russian troops, Boris being quite a lot stupider than Joe Biden and gambling on not getting caught out, like the shooting down of MH17.

          • Giyane

            Mark Golding

            USUK exceptionalism. We can sink your ships, but if you sink our ships it’s world war 3. Exceptionalism is self-assigned. The biggest losers will be those who thought they were doing good , when they were actually doing evil.. last verses of Qur’an,
            chapter 2.

            The British moral compass points only towards what’s good for British interests..
            If Heil Hitler is in our interests, Heil Hitler is our tune.

    • Giyane

      Roderick Russell

      Hi. Nazism is a direct threat to Western Democracy and very much our concern. Biden’s personal cognitive problems are nothing compared to US state cognitive problems that they have never seen fit to consult the people , having been founded by religious fundamentalists who needed to retain absolute power to themselves.

      End result a superpower that has one set of rules for everybody else, and circumvent those rules themselves by terrorist proxies. Its difficult to imagine a world situation worse than the Pilgrim Fathers controlling the world. The hypocrisy of it. The Self-Delusion. The recklessness . The psychotic unawareness of their own delusions.

    • Courtenay Francis Raymond Barnett

      Roderick Russell,

      “Nor is it a repeat of the Cuban missile crisis.”

      In one sense the two situations – Cuba and Ukraine – have the same root cause. In Cuba the Soviet Union/Russia had noted the placement of missiles in Turkey and then surreptitiously they placed missiles in Cuba. With nuclear war being the next step if the stand-off was not resolved then sensibly both sides found a solution. The behind the scenes solution was that one side would remove the missiles from Cuba which would be reciprocated by the missiles in Turkey being removed.

      By contrast, in Ukraine with strategic concerns about NATO there was not a solution effected ( i.e. no NATO membership for Ukraine and hence no likelihood of NATIO missiles ultimately being placed in Ukraine). To that extent – one would assume as with the Cuban missile crisis – there would be a resolution of the strategic concerns problem. PEACE – instead – WAR!

      • Giyane


        It is a Western security services fabrication that Russia wants to retain an Empire. They are not invading Ukraine for their own imperial interests, but for the interests of China and its New Silk road.

        The Russians and indeed all Europeans have an existential threat in USUK funded, proxy militant Neo Nazism. That is the sole purpose of Russia entering Ukraine. We should support them 100%, not torpedo their expensive toys.

        The same Democrats who attacked Libya and Syria with their proxies, have inextricable links with Chinese manufacturing and Chinese banking. That is why Russia did not choose China as a banking partner to re-float their currency.

        Of course it would have been profitable for Russia to own the land on which the Western end of the Silk Road sits. But usuk/ nato were Never going to permit Russia to benefit from the Silk road.. The US can easily ship goods from China to its Eastern ports and deliver them to Europe without a Silk road.

        The US is pathologically opposed to left wing ideologies in South America, for no geopolitical.purpose at all, just dogmatic loathing of socialism. It hounded Corbyn out of office, and poisoned many left wing leaders in its own back yard.

        The Cuban crisis took place at a time when reason prevailed in the White House. It left a long while ago.

    • Tom Welsh

      Roderick, it is not a matter of our national interests, but those of a tiny super-rich clique. They want to break up the Russian government and Russia itself, so that they can go in and plunder its huge natural resources.

      • Neil

        Tom, France gets on with Japan, Japan gets on with Australia, Australia gets on with Canada, Canada gets on with Taiwan … But no one gets on with Russia. Why is Russia so unpopular these days? What could possibly be the reason?

        • Tom Welsh


          Although if you can hack arithmetic and geography, about three quarters of the world’s people are backing Russia.

          Just not the bankers.

          • Tom Welsh

            It’s simple enough, Pears. The only nations that are completely under Washington’s thumb are the USA, Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. That adds up to far fewer than 2 billion people. The remaining nearly 6 billion are either behind Russia or neutral. China, which backs Russia to the hilt, alone accounts for 17.8%, and India, which is benevolently neutral, another 17.3%. That’s 35.1% already.

            Virtually all of Africa and Latin America are behind Russia – they have all suffered far too much from the depredations of Uncle Sam. Needless to say, so is most of Asia.

            UN votes don’t mean much, since the UN is located in the USA. Senior UN officials have publicly described how their families were threatened by US bosses if they voted the wrong way.

            No one likes a bully.

          • Pears Morgaine

            China’s official position on the war is one of neutrality, it has denied Russian appeals for supplies of weapons. In South America only Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela have come out in support of Russia, the rest either remaining neutral or condemning the invasion. In Africa it was only Eritrea.

            ” No one like a bully “

            You seem to be head over heels in love with Vlad Putin.

    • Neil


      “for an issue like Ukraine that few of us know much about”

      It’s plastered over the media, 24/7. I think it’s safe to say people know what’s going on. Seeing is believing.

      One of the strengths of democracy is people have the power to kick out the government. It’s also one of its weaknesses, in that democratically elected politicians are in effect competing in a popularity contest which makes them reluctant to ask the people to make sacrifices or give them bad news.

      As far as Ukraine goes, it’s pretty obvious that the populations of Europe and the US, not to mention many others, are appalled by what Putin is doing. It would be very strange if politicians in these countries refused to act.

      As far as Russia is concerned, maybe Putin too thinks he is carrying out the will of the Russian people. However, with news media so strictly controlled in Russia, it’s hard to believe that Russians really know what is happening. If Putin is so confident he carries the Russian people with him, why such Draconian crackdowns on independent media?

  • DunGroanin

    The ‘Farce is strong with him’ Luke Harding of the MI6 house journal the Guardian, reporting from somewhere that n Ukraine? Poland? Whitehall? He doesn’t say.

    ‘The mayor of Lviv has accused the Kremlin of genocide after four Russian missiles smashed into the western Ukrainian city on Monday, killing seven people and injuring at least 11.’

    – Which apparently means ‘genocide’ !

    “Andriy Sadovyi said there were no longer any “safe” or “unsafe” areas left in Ukraine. “What we see today is genocide. It’s a deliberate action by the aggressor to kill peaceful civilians,” he said, adding: “All our cities and villages are in the same situation.” “

    Where is Gonzalo, Luke?
    Why are there no reports of the confirmation of nato/western troops in Azovsta, as confirmed by the surrendered commander who saved his men rather than fight to the death in their Bunker on Hitlers birthday as ‘ordered’ by crazy cocained up Zalensky making stoned videos in the middle of the night? ??

    • Neil


      “as ‘ordered’ by crazy cocained up Zalensky making stoned videos in the middle of the night?”

      You wouldn’t be making shit up now, would you?

    • Wikikettle

      No one mentions that Zelensky was a “peace” candidate and the the majority of Ukrainian population did not want a war with Donbass or Russia. Everyone in the West thinks if they can kill Putin the Russians will rejoice and welcome in neoliberal privatisation and rape of Russian resources. The opposite is true, there will be ferocious response from the new leader and the population demanding retribution. Russia is not Iran and will not hold back as it did on the assasination of General Sulimani. We are now in a state of actual War against Russia. Listening to Alexie Martyanov, I also think the sinking could have been a diver/frogman/ mini sub operation by US UK teams. Sending in billions worth of weapons into Ukraine, seizing Russian assets, media blackout and open racist rhetoric against Russians and their culture is full scale Declaration of War. All the proxies we employ from Jihadists and Nazis and economic strangulation will now be mirrored and precedents set by us, only to be replied ten fold. There is no walking back, bridges have been burnt and now the Russian people want and demand Putin to finish this war and achieve the objectives and if Poland and the rest of Europe want a war, then let it be. Nato is no no position to help Ukraine or any European country to battle Russia.

      • Neil


        “I also think the sinking could have been a diver/frogman/ mini sub operation by US UK teams.”

        Do you think it could have been a missile fired by Ukraine?

          • Wikikettle

            Pears Morgan. Mossad gets its money from US tax payers. Mossad and Israel have also run out of road. Absolutely crapping themselves, waiting for Iranian retaliation on their nuclear facilities scientists and Generals. Cant do a thing against Hezbula or Syria. Just kill Palestinian civilians and steal their land. Their day will come and they can use their second or third passports.

        • Wikikettle

          Neil. Yes, I follow the possibilities Martyanov outlines that it could have been an accident, Ukraine missiles, UK supplied missiles, mines or divers. There are also underwater drones that all sides are developing. The days of ” Capital ” ships, aircraft carriers and tanks are over. To take and hold territory however, as Scott Ritter explains you need a combined forces manoeuvre army in numbers and in regular training . Russia has this capability and is about to demonstrate it in Ukraine. Nato and US does not. They have lost every major war so far.

          • Pears Morgaine

            ” Russia has this capability and is about to demonstrate it in Ukraine.”

            What’s taken it so long?

          • Tom Welsh

            Pears, Russia’s operation in Ukraine has taken less than two months so far. The first phase is more or less concluded: Ukraine’s armed forces are hardly a threat, Mariupol – perhaps the toughest nut – has been cracked, and the bulk of Ukraine’s front-line forces in Donbass have been surrounded. Tactically, Russia has already won. Why would they need to hurry?

            Meanwhile, the USA – supposedly the greatest military power that has ever existed – spent nearly 20 years in Afghanistan before being spat out like a rotten fig, having accomplished absolutely nothing. It has been in Iraq about as long, without accomplishing anything except destruction and death.

            You must always remember that one of Russia’s highest priorities is to avoid or minimise harm to civilians. That makes the present operation almost unique in military history. One can compare it only to the Russian operation in Georgia and the secession of Crimea from Ukraine.

            Whereas the American (aka “Western”) approach is usually to go in roaring like a gorilla and beating its chest, causing as much death and destruction as possible.

          • Pears Morgaine

            True, It only took ten years before Russia was spat out of Afghanistan having accomplished nothing.

            ” You must always remember that one of Russia’s highest priorities is to avoid or minimise harm to civilians. “

            Sure, go tell that to the survivors in Bucha or Mariupol. Why would Russia worry about the lives of people you claim are all Nazis anyway?

            The war in Georgia was over in 12 days and casualties low as a result. The longer this war goes on the more people are going to die.

  • Jack

    This is so stupid,
    UK holding ‘complex’ talks on Russian stars & Wimbledon participation

    “UK Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston has suggested that former world number one Daniil Medvedev and his compatriots must give assurances that they are “genuinely neutral” and are “not receiving money from Putin, Russia or Belarus [and] that they will not be making supportive comments of Putin, Russia or Belarus” in order to compete when Wimbledon kicks off on June 27.”

    Is this not exactly how it is in dictatorships? And a Tennis player getting money from Putin?? Where on earth do they come up with these paranoid ideas??

    • Greg Park

      To be fair to Nigel and the British political and media class, they also called for Britain and the U.S. to be banned from hosting or participating in international sports events after the unprovoked invasion of Iraq, as well as demanding the most debilitating sanctions on the British and U.S. economies. Even now they continue to shun the lying war criminal Tony Blair, insisting he be stripped of his property empire and be sent before the ICC. It’s why British politicians and media have such moral authority when it comes to condemning other countries.

    • Tom Welsh

      I hope the Russians and those sympathetic to Russia – and Djokovic – boycott Wimbledon. Grass is a relic anyway.

  • Giyane

    One thing in common we learn from Ukraine , Scotland, Syria ,in fact anywhere the evil Anglo saxon empire has succeeded in dividing and ruling for its ill gotten gains, is that the security services serve the function of finding the fault lines in each society. Each and every society is completely different. Hence the weird anomaly that USUK support Nazis against Western Democracy dreamers in Ukraine, but Takfir Islam against Tolerant Islam in Iraq and Syria. And gender issues in Scotland.

    Every society has a different fault line and every society must be divided and ruled by the “””””” security “””””” services, who are there purely to generate internal war.

    The fault line that is being g carefully crafted by our SIS is between Muslims and ‘ whites ‘. To those who are colour blind this is a strange distinction but it takes time to craft division to the point of strife. What we observe in Ukraine is half the population yearning for nato and the West and the other half hating democracy all things foreign. We would do well to observe this moment well, because the same extraordinary moment of excruciating tension is going to be our fate, in our own way, before long.

    What I observe as a Muslim , living amongst Muslims is that our security services fund and control extensive, illegal spying by Muslims , feeding on historical tensions, and our security services are also fostering Brexit style xenophobia. With none other than chief Tory Gonk , Gove, hosting the Ukranian refugee invites, I see a an oven-ready plan to absorb a hefty chunk of Ukranian Neo Nazi nationalism into our country.

    Already , the spineless MSM watching classes give total uncritical obeisance to the concept of Nazism being bad. If the thinking classes are doped, duped or dumbfounded by the BoJo charm offensive for Ukranian Nazism, what will they when one day soon they wake up to conflict on the streets? Turn to government to resolve , exactly the same conflict the government is busy creating.

    Most of all we MUST take note now, looking at the crisis in Ukraine, that this will be our situation soon, but obviously with our fault lines, not theirs. Did anybody think War would happen in February. Well some serious observers here saw it coming . But most, including me , were taken by surprise. Imho , it will come to us when we leasr expect it.

    • GFL

      Your point is quite profound and very worrying, especially when you consider the amount of high-tech weaponry flooding into Ukraine. Some of these weapons will, inevitably fall into the wrong hands and be sold to the highest bidder. God only knows where they will end up and for what purpose they will be used

      • Giyane


        “fall into the wrong hands”

        Vast quantities of weapons made their way from Libya to Syria by Nato. You must be correct in thinking that after Nato has released these weapons , Nato will then forward them to another front against Russia, claiming that they have already been destroyed. I seem to remember that the US Ambassador to Libya was caught up in that transfer of weaponry and got killed.

    • mark cutts


      I’m not sure of your views but in Pakistan I see the old view of the West that they think that they can literally install a government of their choice similar to Egypt.

      Our Muslims.

      But despite religion classes and class politics will out.

      The poor have always been done wrong – across the globe and the Western media relate every incident as a blow to their freedoms ( white freedoms – Imperialist freedoms ) and defend it accordingly.

      The Yanks view these freedoms within the US as white freedoms and attack anyone who challenges that view.

      The attacks on The Middle East and its consequences are there for all to see.

      Iran describes the US as ‘ The Great Satan’ and as an atheist I can certainly see the point despite the non belief.

      The US is responsible for the vast majority of wars/invasions and general trouble in the world and they will continue to stir the pot as long as we let them.

      The Western media will go along with this crap as their salaries and livelihoods depend on it but facts are facts and reality is reality but to recognise that you have been duped is a hard call.

      I sometimes think that like the guy parading around with his’ The End of the World is Nigh ‘ placard may be wrong – but as a kid I used to beg the question: What if this bloke is right?

      We are sadly heading that way.

      • Giyane

        mark cutts

        Not I think Our Muslims but our Politicians, bribable , but not as completely bribable as our ones in the West, who actually believe the rubbish they have to spout.

  • Twostime

    Craig, after many years subscribing and buying you a couple of shots on occasion and supporting you with large lump sums during your confinement, it would appear you have lost your way. Cheerio, with my best wishes to you and yours. I hate N a z i s and that is the theme in the current Ukrainian regime. Not for me.

    • Giyane


      If , like me , you are shocked at Western msm condoning Nazis, surely its time to take a step back and hate the politicians and the msm manipulators who literally manufactured these Nazis like props on a film set?

      We wouldn’t walk out of the Good the bad and the ugly and say ‘ I hate Mexicans ‘ because we know we’ve been for a ride on an emotional roller coaster by Warner Bros.
      Yes, Craig clings onto international law and I cling onto Nazism is evil, but both values are missing the point, that our security services are manipulating us mercilessly, creating division, hatred even, and tickling our tummies with the idea that our politicians are doing a fantastic job at keeping us all safe. Gladio Mark 2.. drama fest. Oscars.. Clinty rides alone into the desert catharsis. With apologies to Oscar.

      A little 5 year old boy came into the shop where my wife works with a dummy in his mouth. She said ‘ you’re a man now , you don’t need that’ and took it out of his mouth. He started to cry saying ‘ I hate my dummy. I hate my dummy. And that was that. We hate our emotional dummies that the state is looking after us. They are definitely not. They want chaos, and fear, to steal everything that moves from the state while they are in office. Time for the British to get a grip on politicians and politics, before they grip us with their hungry teeth.

    • Neil

      When Putin throws a red herring, you don’t have to go chasing after it like a well trained little terrier. As Eugene Finkel states,

      “Neo-Nazi, far right and xenophobic groups do exist in Ukraine, like in pretty much any other country, including Russia. They are vocal and can be prone to violence but they are numerically small, marginal and their political influence at the state level is non-existent. That is not to say that Ukraine doesn’t have a far-right problem. It does. But I would consider the KKK in the US and skinheads and neo-Nazi groups in Russia a much bigger problem and threat than the Ukrainian far right.”<\p>

      • Beware the Leopard

        Neil, in Ukraine there are highly organised ultra-nationalist groups that routinely challenge the state’s monopoly on violence with impunity. Do you seriously mean to dispute this?

        The same cannot be said of the KKK in the contemporary United States. To claim otherwise is delusional.

        I suspect Professor Finkel’s assertions about neo-Nazis in Russia are similarly inflated.

        But do let us know when the National Guard of Russia incorporates a neo-Nazi regiment.

        • Neil

          Beware the Leopard,

          “I suspect Professor Finkel’s assertions about neo-Nazis in Russia are similarly inflated.”

          Try googling “Russian nazis” or “Putin’s fascists”, and give the info you find the same credence you’d give articles about Ukrainian Nazis.

      • Peter

        @ Neil

        Sad to see that for all the time you spend on this site Neil you’ve learned little or nothing.

        Providing cover for Nazis and neo-Nazis is really not a good look, frankly, you should be ashamed of yourself.

        Naziism and neo-Naziism is a huge and profoundly troubling problem across Ukraine, as anyone who takes the time to look will know. But don’t take it from me, take it from the BBC. They may be in full pro-America propaganda lying mode now but in the past they have reported widely on the problem.

        Try this from 2014: threat in new Ukraine (BBC Newsnight, 28 Feb 2014) – YouTube, 6m 48s

        Or this from 2015: far-right group threatening to overthrow Ukraine’s government (BBC Newsnight, 23 July 2015) – YouTube, 9m 54s

        Or this from 2018: On patrol with the far-right National Militia (BBC Newsnight, 3 Apr 2018) – YouTube, 9m 59s

        If that’s not enough for you try watching Yevhen Karas of C14 boasting about enjoying killing people and their influence at national level:

        Alex Rubinstein @RealAlexRubi
        27 Feb 2022

        Watch Yevhen Karas the leader of Ukraine’s neo-Nazi terror gang C14’s speech from Kiev earlier this month. Straight from the horses’ mouth, he dispels the many narratives pushed by the left, the mainstream media and the State Department.

        And if you want to run the argument that neo-Nazis can’t be such a big problem in Ukraine because they have a Jewish president, then see here on how Zelensky has accommodated and supported them (then ask yourself how come he has over $600k in an off-shore bank account):

        How Zelensky Made Peace With Neo-Nazis (Consortium News, 4 Mar 2022)

        While Western media deploys Zelensky’s heritage to refute accusations of neo-Nazis in Ukraine, the president now depends on them as front line fighters in the war with Russia, report Alex Rubinstein and Max Blumenthal.

        Want to see photographic evidence? Try this from The Guardian before it fell, like the BBC, into full propaganda BS mode:

        Ultranationalism in Ukraine – a photo essay (The Guardian, 11 Apr 2019)

        The growing presence of far-right groups in Ukraine leaves the west in a quandary. The ultranationalists have played a key role in fighting Russia-backed separatist rebels and are now challenging government corruption. But they are pushing for changes that go against democratic ideals.

        If you’re still not convinced just try googling ‘Ukraine neo-Nazis’ there’s mountains of deeply disturbing evidence.

        Talk of there not being a profound Nazi/neo-Nazi problem in Ukraine is poisonous, deceitful nonsense. You should have no part in it.

        If you choose to continue prating such nonsense one can only assume that you support neo-Naziism, which pretty much makes you a neo-Nazi yourself.

        Think about it.

        • Neil


          “you should be ashamed of yourself”

          Don’t you mean Professor Finkel should be ashamed of himself?

          As for this:

          “Sad to see that for all the time you spend on this site Neil you’ve learned little or nothing.”

          Well, one thing I have learned is that the bbc is a bastion of Western msm propaganda, and yet here you are recommending the bbc to me. Don’t you find it strange that the msm is completely untrustworthy until it provides confirmation of your opinions, and then suddenly it’s perfectly reliable …?

          • Shaun Onimus

            Well Neil, you kick and scream ‘Russian propaganda’ if the source is non Western. Now you put your hands to your ears saying LaLaLaLa bbc bad when your own propaganda actually converges with the other side. Sounds reasonable to me..

          • Peter

            @ Neil

            I don’t know of Professor Finkel but if he is providing the same deceitful cover for Nazis and neo-Nazis that you are then he most certainly should be ashamed of himself.

            Regarding the BBC, clearly they’re telling a different story now to the one they told before. Unprecedented propaganda is now the order of the day.

            Times change and so should you.

            Sadly, I take it from your reply that you are happy to continue giving cover to Nazis and neo-Nazis so I don’t suppose you’re going to anytime soon.

            Shame on you.

          • Dawg

            It isn’t that people are being selective about which news stories to believe. The links show that the BBC has switched from reporting ‘evil-Nazi-threat-in-Ukraine’ to ‘Azov-defenders-of-freedom’. They’re clearly downplaying the nastiness of the Nazi mess in Ukraine. The question is: Why, and why now?

            The obvious answer is that the organization has chosen to back one side in the Ukraine conflict, as a high-level political choice, and they’re filtering news stories to trumpet government war propaganda while downplaying reports that are more sympathetic to Russia’s narrative. That’s still only an explanatory hypothesis unless and until somebody leaks an internal BBC memo ordering their journalists to toe that political line. Other narratives may be available – though it’s difficult to envisage a more plausible alternative. I reckon Peter’s right that “Unprecedented propaganda is now the order of the day.”.

            Instead of digging trenches around this debate and launching shame mortars at each other, I think it would be sensible to pay attention to the more sophisticated analysis in the article above by Craig Murray (remember him?):

            “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.”

            Craig is of course aware that his analysis will prompt a lot of criticism from entrenched keyboard warriors, but he does at least acknowledge the different ideological motives on each side of the conflict and the moral complexity of endorsing either of them.

          • Neil


            “The obvious answer is that the organization has chosen to back one side …”

            I disagree. A more obvious answer is that Ukraine (like many countries, including Russia) having Nazis is one story, and Russia’s unprovoked aggression is another story.

            The bbc has in the past reported on American Nazis. After 9/11, the bbc sided with the US. By the logic of a lot of commenters here, that means the bbc condones American Nazis, or that the bbc pretends American Nazis don’t exist, or that the bbc has “chosen to back” American Nazis.

            It’s a nonsensical argument.

          • Dawg

            A more obvious answer is that Ukraine (like many countries, including Russia) having Nazis is one story, and Russia’s unprovoked aggression is another story.

            Well, that’s an alternative narrative, but the reason it doesn’t qualify as an answer is that it doesn’t explain the phenomena in question: Why is the BBC currently downplaying the role of Nazis in Ukraine – when they now have a much greater military and political influence on the government’s decisions, and the country’s fate – in comparison to its coverage prior to the conflict?

            Typical BBC reports prior to 2022 (inc. those cited by Peter):

            The BBC is now downplaying the issue mostly by dodging any mention of it, even when interviewing people from neo-Nazi battalions. They tried to brush it aside by making their head boy Ros Atkins issue a qualified denial in patronising Newsround style:

            • Ukraine war: Ros Atkins on… Putin’s false ‘Nazi’ claims (BBC News, 26 Mar 2022)
            • It also appears on their page on Russian disinformation – Ukraine crisis: Is Russia waging an information war? – under the heading “Portraying Ukraine as pro-Nazi”

              “Suggesting that Ukraine is a country aligned with Nazism has been a regular feature of Russian media coverage.”
              “the far-right remains a small minority in the country – during the 2019 elections, candidates and far-right groups such as Svoboda fell far short of the 5% minimum needed to gain entry into parliament.”
              “Since last November there have been big spikes in stories linking Ukraine to Nazism, according to Logically, a technology company which has been tracking hundreds of pro-Kremlin social media accounts.
              Russia is “swift to label its adversaries and victims in Europe as Nazis”, says Keir Giles, an expert on the country, who wrote a Nato report on its information warfare.”

            So according to the BBC it’s a false claim circulating round the internet. Why? Well, obviously, again, it’s Russia’s fault.

            You can read more about the BBC’s deceptive tactics in the Skwawkbox – Exclusive: BBC claims Ukrainian nazis are exaggerated – but shows video of Bowen with nazi unit or various blogs: e.g. Why has the BBC and the Media Whitewashed the Role of Neo-Nazi militias in Ukraine?, or Watch the BBC Debunk its own Denial of Nazis in Ukraine.

          • Neil


            “Why is the BBC currently downplaying the role of Nazis in Ukraine?”

            It’s not, it’s simply reporting another story, a bigger story, about ordinary Ukrainians having their lives torn apart by an unprovoked aggression.

            By the way, the first link you provided proves the opposite of what you intend. It begins, “the Kremlin has characterised the new leaders in Kiev as a “fascist junta” made up of neo-Nazis and anti-Semites, set on persecuting, if not eradicating, the Russian-speaking population. This is demonstrably false.” That was the bbc in 2014, that’s the bbc now. Where is the volte face?

            Like a lot of commenters here, Putin thinks he’s taking out the bad guys when he’s mostly taking out decent, ordinary, blameless people. He might be killing a few psychopaths too, but he’d probably achieve the same success rate if he bombed St Petersburg like he has Mariupol. Every country has its share of psychos.

            What’s really telling about Putin is his complete disregard for the Russian boys he’s sending to be slaughtered. He claims to be acting for Russia, but that throwing away of Russian lives so cheaply shows the contempt he has for ordinary Russians, shows he’s simply acting for his own petty obsessions. And the world and his wife know that he’s only doing it because he gets to stay safe in his bunker. Of course he thought Zelensky would flee to the US. He projected his own moral cowardice onto Zelensky. That was his biggest mistake. Now he must pretend he simply cares about people in the Donbass, trying to portray himself as a noble saviour. If that were the case, he could have simply opened Russian borders to Donbass refugees to escape “Ukrainian genocide”. No need for an invasion at all. But that wouldn’t have given him the strongman look he so clearly craves. Why did he crave it? My guess is because he knows deep down what a twisted little coward he is.

          • Dawg

            “By the way, the first link you provided proves the opposite of what you intend.”

            No it doesn’t. You’re doing precisely what the article warns against: filtering stories in a partisan way. The report actually criticizes both extremes. Here’s what follows that opening paragraph:

            “But Ukrainian officials and many in the media err to the other extreme. They claim that Ukrainian politics are completely fascist-free. This, too, is plain wrong.”

            There are two competing extreme narratives here, one overhyping the Nazi influence and one underplaying it: “demonstrably false” vs “plain wrong”. The BBC report focuses on the risks of hushing up the story of the neo-Nazi influence – which, ironically, is the path they’re now choosing to follow. Here’s the conclusion of that report:

            “There are significant risks to this silence. Experts say the Azov Battalion, which has been widely reported on in the West, has damaged Ukraine’s image and bolsters Russia’s information campaign.
            “And although Ukraine is emphatically not run by fascists, far-right extremists seem to be making inroads by other means, as in the country’s police department.
            “Ukraine’s public is grossly under-informed about this. The question is, why doesn’t anyone want to tell them?” (my italics)

            Good question. Why are certain news platforms failing to report what’s really going on? The answer is suggested earlier in the same article:

            “As a result, the question of the presence of the far-right in Ukraine remains a highly sensitive issue, one which top officials and the media shy away from. No-one wants to provide fuel to the Russian propaganda machine.” (my italics)

            And there’s the reason for the current lack of MSM criticism of Ukrainian neo-Nazis: the journalists are wary of validating the Russian “de-nazification” agenda. It’s the same reason that the US voted against the UN resolution to ban the glorification of Nazis. By choosing to cloak the extent of the far-right influence in Ukrainian politics, the BBC is sadly ignoring their own warnings about the perils of biased reportage.

            This is the danger they wanted to alert the public to in 2014:

            “Run by the extremist Patriot of Ukraine organisation, which considers Jews and other minorities “sub-human” and calls for a white, Christian crusade against them, it sports three Nazi symbols on its insignia: a modified Wolf’s Hook, a black sun (or “Hakensonne”) and the title Black Corps, which was used by the Waffen SS.
            “Azov is just one of more than 50 volunteer groups fighting in the east, the vast majority of which are not extremist, yet it seems to enjoy special backing from some top officials.”

            Both extremes are distortions – “demonstrably false” and “plain wrong” respectively. The truth lies somewhere in the middle; the dispute is really about the extent. The BBC previously tried to draw attention to the growing problem of neo-Nazi influence, but now they’re intent on trivializing it. It’s a noticeable change of tone, a reversal of news policy. Craig Murray seems to have got the balance about right, highlighting the threat from sinister far-right elements in Ukrainian politics while condemning the Russian invasion. It’s sad that the state broadcaster is shying away from reporting the moral complexities of the situation, ironically for the reasons heralded in their earlier reporting.

            Putin seems to have succumbed to the megalomania and paranoia that tends to afflict leaders who’ve held autocratic power too long. The film “The Death of Stalin” portrayed the complex power dynamics behind Stalin’s command, and it’s probably a similar story for Putin at the moment. If only these dictators could learn to let go instead lashing out with psychopathic brutality to tighten their grip on power. The omens aren’t good for a smooth transition when he finally steps down – or more likely now, gets deposed.

          • Neil

            Dawg, mostly agree but still think the bbc has not so much changed its tone as moved on to a far bigger current news story. A few nazis in Ukraine is really not the story of the moment. However, even if a bbc journalist wanted to write such a report, I agree that there might be some editorial decision at the top not to do so at this time so as to avoid giving succour to Russian propaganda. I wouldn’t call that censorship or condoning Nazism, I’d call it a natural response to events. As to the extent of Nazism in Ukraine, it seems far right parties perform worse in Ukraine elections than most other Baltic states. Also, as I understand it, Ukrainians’ relationship with the Azov battaliion for example is rather complicated by historical reasons, something about the battalion fighting bravely in the past in defence of Ukraine. I don’t know much about that except that you certainly couldn’t call the guys fighting in Mariopul “cowards”. Maybe they also adore Hitler and want to build gas chambers and wipe out the Jewish race. I’ve never seen any evidence they are “that” kind of Nazis. I could understand given the circumstances if Ukrainians who have no sympathy with Nazism nevertheless feel conflicted about Azov. I’ve also read reports of Putin cozying up to far right extremists…


            I don’t always agree with Craig but I learn a lot from reading his articles. One important lesson, things are not usually black and white.

        • Neil

          Peter, why doesn’t Putin bomb St Petersburg? Try this

          Meeting the ultra-nationalist skinheads of Russia (BBC News, 1 Sep 2012)

          For several months, opposition protests in Russia have given liberal anti-Putin Russians an opportunity to make their feelings heard. However, it is not just liberals who have been out on the streets but other groups too, including far-right nationalists.

          Or this

          Putin’s fascists: the Russian state’s long history of cultivating homegrown neo-Nazis (The Conversation, 21 Mar 2022)

          Many commentators have already debunked Russian President Vladimir Putin’s absurd claim to be waging war to “de-nazify” Ukraine.
          Some have pointed out the far right received only 2% of the vote in Ukraine’s 2019 parliamentary elections, far less than in most of Europe. Others have drawn attention to Ukraine’s Jewish president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and the efforts of the Ukrainian state to protect minorities like Crimean Tatars and LGBTQ+ people, who are subject to brutal persecution in Russia.
          What has received less coverage is the Putin regime’s own record of collaboration with far-right extremists. Even as Russian diplomats condemned “fascists” in the Baltic states and Kremlin propagandists railed against imaginary “Ukronazis” in power in Kyiv, the Russian state was cultivating its own homegrown Nazis.

          Want to see photographic evidence? Try this…

          Etc etc.

          Yes, I know, your links are all true, mine are all lies.

          Like I said, Putin throws a red herring …

      • nevermind

        Says Neil, who knows everything about right wing fascists and how they work.
        The CIA had a project AERODYNAMIC since 1953 and consecutive leaders of the not so free world have carried this project through, a slow infestation that worked on young generations of Ukrainians for decades.
        You think there are small numbers when they errected more than 1000 monuments to murderous fascists keeping their SS fanaticism alive.
        They are in charge of Volodemir Comedians, in Ukraine in the KKK/alt.right, in Canada’s large Ukrainian runaway nazi’ s who formed the bulk of fleeing ww2 refugees going there.
        Now, due to our utter racist policies here, we are at pains to differentiate between blond blue eyed refugees from Ukraine ‘ueber alles’, whilst being asked to pay for African refugees from Libya, Eritrea, Sudan to be forcefully removed by an immigrant Home sec. with a stone heart.

        Nazis are organised all over Europe, from golden Dawn, the AFD to solo artists Breivig modelling himself on fascists and their hate for others who dont think like them.
        You hate Russia because they still have, a now much smaller, empire with just about every resource we want.
        And for that purpose of an easy steal we are being worked on by the combined western 5 eyes MSM and those that pull their strings. That is why we are going to face a threat of nuclear war in Europe.
        I hope that there is a dead mans switch will ensures that the USUKIS axis get their fair share of retaliation. I have hated Nazis since the UK denazification program send young children on a day out with the class, visiting an extermination camp to make sure we understand.
        We will never forget Sophie Scholl!

  • Beware the Leopard

    The part of Jacques Baud’s article dealing with the outbreak of war – here he describes the military situation just prior to the 24 February 2022 commencement of the Russian operation – comes to mind when I re-read the passage in Craig’s present post which begins thusly: “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”…

    …then continues for about four paragraphs regarding a handful of perceived Russian diplomatic successes or indications of progress toward addressing certain of the Ukraine-related Russian grievances, before ending with:

    “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.”

    However nicely certain issues (far from all issues, mind) may have been shaping up diplomatically for Russia, what was happening on the ground? Diplomacy only matters insofar as it gets implemented.

    That is, if you win Honorable Mention in the salon but lose on the battlefield, the Nazi’s dont care and neither will anyone else. If you are marginalised in the salon but prevail on the battlefield, you’ve won.

    What Baud describes in “Part Two: The War, section 1. The Outbreak of War” looks to me like a Ukraine that accepts this principle. Diplomatic embarrassement wasn’t keeping them from beginning an offensive against the Donbass.

    On February 17, President Joe Biden announced that Russia would attack the Ukraine in the next few days. How did he know this? It is a mystery. But since [February] the 16th, the artillery shelling of the population of Donbass increased dramatically, as the daily reports of the OSCE observers show. Naturally, neither the media, nor the European Union, nor NATO, nor any Western government reacts or intervenes. It will be later said that this is Russian disinformation. In fact, it seems that the European Union and some countries have deliberately kept silent about the massacre of the Donbass population, knowing that this would provoke a Russian intervention.

    Was Russia supposed to sit by and allow Ukraine to alter facts on the ground in Donbass with a military offensive? Craig says Yes. The president of Russia said No.

  • Stevie Boy

    The UK is happy to support the Nazis in the Ukraine but would prefer that the British public don’t know anything about it. Conclusion: The UK Government don’t want the war to end and don’t care about the Ukrainian people.

    “In a report published by the Times newspaper last Friday, Ukrainian troops admitted they received­ ­training from British troops. But in an effort to stop this information from getting out, the Security Media Advisory (DSMA) Committee sent a (D) notice to Socialist Worker and other media outlets asking them not to print the story.”

    • Bramble

      It is very worrying that British troops are perfectly happy to work alongside avowed Nazis. Reminds me of the generals prepared to launch a coup if Mr Corbyn won the election (or of squaddies using Mr Corbyn’s photo for target practice). How much of our military is already fascist?

        • Bramble

          They are recruited (the forces work hard at being a presence in schools) from the streets of every town in the land, and return to them. Bringing with them what attitudes? None I am comfortable with, for sure.

          • Squeeth

            I work with a few, the ones from the Pay Corps are Daily Express readers but the one with the most obvious trouble with his mental health is an ex front line soldier. I have a lot of sympathy for him because I think he suffers for being a human being with a strangulated conscience. I gather that a grateful state will always provide a warm shop doorway of a prison cell for them.

      • Pears Morgaine

        British troops have to do what they’re told whether they’re happy about it or not. The SAS were sent to Cambodia to train forces allied with the Khmer Rouge at a time when the EU and the US recognised them as the legitimate rulers.

        • Giyane

          Pears Moregaine

          “have to do what they’re told”

          You are scratching the earth on the grave of truth by talking about soldiers obeying orders.

          Britain and America have used torture prisons in Eastern Europe, in Syria, Libya, Egypt,, in Pakistan and Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, on torture prison ships, to torture, drug and brainwash hundreds of thousands of Muslims, turning them into violent proxies for fighting against Sovereign countries which USUK is not allowed by international Law to invade.

          Scratch away. The truth is buried six foot down and any journalist rooting for worms on the surface is quickly sent to Belmarsh gaol.

  • mark golding

    True to say this place called Earth where we conduct our lives is ordered and structured increasingly by an autocratic monolithic enterprise. Big corporations nestle within this bureaucracy and build on its life blood. As an example consider Google’s domination of the Internet.

    Lebensraum evolved into manifest destiny and American/British exceptionalism, arguing that their values, political system, and historical development are unique in human history, often with the implication that these countries are destined and entitled to play a distinct and positive role on the world stage. This perception determines the nucleus which establishes the subjugation of any entity that opposes this supercilious destiny, a path that manifests in vassalage, pushed buttons of revolution, contrived regime change and proxy war.

    It is at this point we realise Russian identity was formed in reaction to the great power interactions of Western Europe. That identity and resistance were built within a muted messianic consciousness in the absence of Islam, Confucianism, Hinduism etc., and came from the overlap of orthodoxy with socialism.

    It is at this point an enigma lurks as we try to decide if collectivism or capitalism is a way forward. Does the community spirit that exists in our villages abrogate the idea of the dominion of primacy, the heel of the boot in Russia’s face, of slaughter, of intentionally fueling a conflict, fueling chaos, fueling misery, famine, disease and distraction sub-rosa – that is, an engineered pandemic, nuclear intimidation, by a so-called ‘war on terror’, a multidimensional campaign of almost limitless scope, or by repeating lies to form truth within a closed frame of media rule and sway? Perhaps suddenly doubt may become clarity, belief, hope, and trust returns as Russia defies and flies in the face of her death.

  • SA

    I am posting this interview with Andrey Babitsky, I Russian opposition Journalist who worked for Radio Free Europe until 2014 when he expressed views that clashed with what he was supposed to say. This pertains to the Crimea and the Donbas and I would like Mr Murray to read this because it shows why the peaceful ‘annexation’ of Crimea was actually the right thing to do at the time.

    The relevant bits are :

    “AB: I have a special relationship with Crimea. We have a house there. My wife is a native of Crimea, and her parents – former military – still live there. We go there every summer. So I know that many Crimeans have always regarded Ukraine as a foreign state. Crimeans never felt at home there. They were annoyed by Ukrainization policies. They had the Ukrainian language forced upon them in place of Russian. Ever since its independence, Kiev has carried out an incorrect national policy towards minorities, first and foremost, in regards to the Russian one. During this time period a lot of insults accrued, and people felt it was injust and feared that in the future things would become even worse.
    Crimeans’ feelings are informed by experience: Once again nobody knows what the hell’s happening in Kiev, and what awaits us. The reaction that followed was, in my view, completely normal and even legal. You see the hand of Putin everywhere, but in Crimea people simply revolted in defense of their rights. Just as, in your opinion, did the residents of Kiev. You, like the rest of my Western colleagues, like to argue that in Kiev people were genuinely fighting for their rights and freedoms, while in Crimea and Donbass it is all a conspiracy behind which stand Putin and the Russian secret services. But this isn’t true. The entire peninsula was overtaken in horror by what awaited it, so the separation was an unequivocal reaction to the threat that Euromaidan represented to Crimeans. Doesn’t Crimea have the same right to rebel against injustice and suppression as the Maidan?”

    “But Putin isn’t Russia! Russia – it is history and rich tradition. Pushkin is Russia. Apart from that, it must be said that Russia today resembles a European country to a much greater extent than does Ukraine. Yes, Russia has its nationalists, but that is a problems of deviants. But in Ukraine, nationalism has become a state doctrine. Nationalism, be it Ukrainian or Georgian, leads to Hitlerian Nazism. Russia is a multinational country, where nationalism doesn’t have a future.”

    “Crimea escaped the bloody drama that Donbass didn’t. There were 20,000 Ukrainian soldiers on the peninsula, if some fool in Kiev had given the order, the conversation would have been overtaken by heavy artillery, and Crimea would have been completely destroyed.”

    • mark golding

      SA – Thanks – I hope this further extract might be pertinent, hopefully helping to modify the British perspective towards a logical explanation that the American and European political leaders deliberately pushed the Ukraine into a conflict that they knew was lost in advance. The US and Britain once again used terrorists for the sole purpose of dealing a political blow to Russia viz firstly the objective to close the North Stream 2 gas pipeline, announced on February 8th, by Joe Biden, during the visit of Olaf Scholz; and which was followed by a barrage of economic sanctions and theft of Russian assets held in foreign banks to pay dues thus forcing default.

      “AB: When I was still working at RFERL, I asked the managers to send me to Donbass. I went there and worked as I usually do in a warzone. On September 2, 2014, I filmed the exhumation of four corpses: Two civilians, and two insurgents. According to the locals – not the militias, but ordinary residents of Novosvetlovka – these people had been executed by Ukrainian volunteers from the Aidar battallion. I didn’t provide any commentary on this, just filmed it and sent it to the Moldovan division of RFERL. The video was published online. After this, the nationalists in the Ukrainian division of RFERL became hysterical. There was a big scandal. All this, just because I had published a video, which only recorded what I saw with my own eyes, without any additional commentary.”

      • Wikikettle

        On India Today there is a detailed interview in English with Sergey Lavrov. He outlines the long road from end of WW2 to the Special Operation intervention.

  • SA

    From Wikipedia

    “In February 2022, sanctions imposed on Russia as a result of their 2022 invasion of Ukraine heavily impacted the ruble. Tinkov lost the majority of his net worth, retaining under $1 billion.[1]”

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