Diplomacy Is Always an Option 418

You are conditioned to believe that killing more people is a better solution than negotiating a compromise. This is despite the fact that it is self-evidently a psychopathic notion. Let me give you a homespun analogy.

I have this week been dealing with an incident where somebody feels their share of a limited income should be increased, due to the amount of work they have put in. Others felt the person was underestimating the amount of work they had also put in. It became quite a difficult discussion. Happily in the end a compromise has been reached that everyone can live with. At no stage did anybody turn to me and say “we should kill them, that will solve it”. (And to anticipate the trolls, no I do not get any income myself from it).

There may be differences of opinion within a village on whether a wind turbine should be built next to it. The matter will be resolved, one way or another. Nobody suggests the answer is to smash anybody into bloody pulp on the ground with bombs and automatic weapons fire.

Yet when the question is whether that village ought to be in Ukraine or in Russia, inflicting horrible, painful death on those who disagree is seen not only as legitimate, but as heroic and noble. Boasts are continually being made by both sides about how many of the “enemy” have been killed, as though they were orcs rather than human beings with their own hopes and dreams, no different to those they are fighting.

I do not wish to understimate the differences between being in Ukraine and being in Russia. But they pale compared to the difference between hundreds of thousands of people being alive, or hundreds of thousands of people being dead. The problem is much more comprehensible when you accept that there are a significant minority of people within Ukraine’s official borders who really do want their district to be in Russia, and in some limited number of eastern localities they are a majority. That is not a Russian invention.

Diplomatic solutions to territorial solutions always end with a certain amount of population movement to areas where people can be with “their” side in perceived greater safety and comfort. The second world war shifted territorial boundaries and moved populations to an incredible degree. Western Ukraine was historically Polish. Western and much of northern Poland was historically German.

The simplistic narrative that the Donbass is Russian is just untrue. Pre 2014 the urban populations in the Donbass were very largely Russian. Urban populations are more visible and easier mobilised. But a substantial minority were Ukrainian, almost all rural. While only a small percentaage of those Donbass Russians come from families settled there pre 1946.

The Crimea is even more difficult. The population was historically majority Tartar – Crimea was within living memory a Muslim land – and the Krim Tatars were deported brutally by Stalin. This is not ancient history. Much of the deportation did not happen until the 1950’s. I cannot understand those who join me in wanting the Chagos Islanders to get their country back, but do not take the same view of the rights of the Krim Tatars.

(The same people tend to dismiss the human rights abuses against the Uighurs. Muslim Central Asia is a serious blind spot for many on the left).

Thankfully, diplomatic channels to Russia through Turkey remain open in the Ukraine war, as witness the recent prisoner exchanges. I am happy to see the British mercenaries back home safe in the UK, not least because now we won’t need to hear any more lies about how they were not mercenaries but new Ukrainians who had permanently settled in Ukraine.

Western powers should have used the limited but real advances made by the Ukrainian military in the last fortnight to reach out to Putin at a point where he might have been persuaded to accept a deal based on the ceasefire lines as they existed in 2021. Instead, they have ramped up the Russophobia another notch and persuaded themselves that the total destruction of the Russian army can be achieved and Putin brought down by a colour revolution.

The grim response from Russia, with mass mobilisation, is all too predictable. I am afraid that the notion that opposition to the draft will see Putin ousted is totally unrealistic. It underestimates the power of nationalist propaganda within Russia, and misreads the national psychology.

It really doesn’t help when the Ukrainians paint swastikas on tanks.

Do you believe that the Russians are propagandised into supporting this war but westerners are not? Here is an interesting experiment you can repeat. Go to google and do a google image search on “Swastikas on Ukrainian tanks”. I get this, and I suspect you will get something very similar:

Google Image Search “Swastikas on Ukrainian Tanks”

The large majority of those images link to articles claiming that the “Z” symbol used by the Russian forces is a (previously unnoticed) Nazi symbol.

The one thing google does not give you is any swastikas on Ukrainian tanks, which is what you asked for.

Now go to yandex.ru and enter an identical image search for “Swastikas on Ukrainian tanks”. This is what I get:

Yandex Image Search “Swastikas on Ukrainian Tanks”

That is a rather strikingly different set of images, is it not?

Now which one looks more like what I asked for?

Crucially, the first two images top left on the yandex search link to the German NTV station report that captured the swastika on the Ukrainian tank which Max Blumenthal had tweeted about. That is what I was searching for, to check on Max’s facts. Google hides this; I have no doubt whatsoever that this is deliberate.

It is also worth noting that while the Google results totally exclude any material about Nazi symbols used by Ukrainian troops in the current conflict, the yandex.ru search does include images from pro-Ukrainian sites that claim to debunk these images, rightly or wrongly.

In other words, while the google search results are highly censored to exclude the Russian viewpoint, the yandex results include pro-Ukrainian viewpoints and appear to be much more what you would expect on a random, uncensored internet search on the subject.

As I said at the start, if you are in the west you are being conditioned to support the war, to at least as great an extent as people are being conditioned to support it in Russia. That little experiment with google is the tip of an iceberg of suppression: on twitter, on facebook, by paypal defunding, and by all of western TV, radio and newspapers.

On any matter relating to any aspect of the Ukraine war, you are seeing one side of a story. Russians are seeing only another side. The space for truth is very limited, as the world crashes into full dystopia.

I might add that the chilling effect is so great that I personally have serious qualms about publishing this article, in case its querying of aspects of the western narrative lead to cancellation of social media and paypal accounts.

Many of my regular readers are annoyed when I point out that Russia is far too weak a country to be a military superpower that can challenge NATO. It has an economy the size of that of Spain or Italy, and a military crippled by corruption. It has an economy that is not only small but woefully undeveloped and reliant on raw commodity export, be it energy, cereal or mineral.

To historians, the most significant thing about Putin may be his failure to develop manufacturing industry at a time when China raced into world manufacturing domination.

What limited military power Russia does command was used very effectively in Syria, where I credit Putin for ending the momentum of Wahabbist jihadi violence, promoted by the USA and Saudi Arabia, that had so traumatised the world for the first two decades of the twenty first century. But those who extrapolated that into a general ability for Russia to counterbalance the USA were very wrong.

For my entire lifetime, the western military industrial complex and its national and NATO functionaries have exaggerated systematically the “Russian threat” in order to justify their own bloated budgets. I have explained this throughout the Ukraine crisis and again and again I have said that Russia does not have the ability to conquer Ukraine – it is therefore utterly ludicrous for NATO propagandists to claim we have to squander fortunes to defend against Russia sweeping through all of western Europe.

What I have always found bitterly amusing is western left-wingers who do the NATO propagandists’ work for them by exaggerating Russian power.

The logical fallacy of western politicians cheering Ukrainian advances around Kharkiv, and in the same time saying that still trillions more need to be spent on defence against Russian invasion by the USA, Germany, France, UK and others, would be obvious to a five year old. Yet peculiarly I don’t believe I have ever seen or heard the fallacy queried in the media.

Putin’s reaction appears to be escalation. The conscription is a huge statement internally which probably does make major military reverse not politically survivable, even for Putin. The proposed referenda in occupied districts also make any backtracking very problematic.

No reasonable person can believe that a time of war and military administration can be adequate conditions for a referendum vote. The situation now is even more extreme than when the Crimea “referendum” was held in 2014. No doubt we would see similarly risible 97% referenda results now. In real life, in a genuinely free vote you would not get 97% on a referendum for free ice cream. Yulia Timoshenko won about 18% of the vote in Crimea in the Ukrainian presidential election of 2010, on a stridently Ukrainian nationalist and pro-western platform.

While I knew the Russian military to be far weaker than we were being told, what is more surprising is the spectacular failures of Russian intelligence services, which were traditionally very good.

The spectacular failure to predict the Ukrainian counterattack around Kharkiv is worth considering. Given the scope and range of modern surveillance techniques available, from satellite, drone and aircraft imagery through computer hacking and communications intercept, that Russia did not pick up the build-up of Ukrainian forces for the north-eastern attack is, in this day and age, very strange.

It follows the massive Russian intelligence failure at the outset of this invasion, where both the strength and morale of Ukrainian forces around Kiev were massively underestimated, as was the attitude to invasion of the Ukrainian people. Vast sums given to the FSB to bribe key Ukrainian politicians and officials proved to be wasted (and the Kremlin believes to a sgnificant extent the funds were purloined by corrupt FSB personnel).

So what is the solution? Borders are not immutable. The borders of sovereign Ukraine only lasted 21 years before Russia annexed Crimea. A Ukrainian victory that retakes Crimea from Russia would involve a long war and a death toll rising into the millions.

There really are – and remember I worked over twenty years in British Foreign Office, six of them in the senior management structure – people in NATO, and in all western governments, who have no problem with the notion of hundreds of thousands of dead people, particularly as they are nearly all Eastern Europeans or Central Asians. They are not even particularly perturbed by the risk the conflict could turn nuclear. They are delighted that the Russian armed forces are being degraded and vast sums pumped into western military budgets. That is worth any number of dead Ukrainians to them.

I do not believe the USA, UK nor NATO has any political will for peace. This is a disaster. The question is whether the economic pain their populations will feel this winter will force the western politicians to consider the negotiating table. This war can only end with at least de facto international recognition of Russian control of Crimea, and with some kind of special status for the Donbass. The alternative is a war so destructive as to bring disaster across the entire world economy, with the possibility of nuclear escalation.

China remains remarkably unassertive on the world stage as it increases its economic dominance. If there were ever a time for China to assert international leadership it is now. There are no signs of such initiative at present.

How many thousands of people is it right to kill for control of Izium? How many millions of people worldwide should plunge into dire need for the same cause?

There is a solution that leaves a free and now much more united Ukraine with the vast majority of the territory it has enjoyed in its very short current existence, and lets go some populations who determinedly do wish to be Russian. People need the courage to say so.


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418 thoughts on “Diplomacy Is Always an Option

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  • Republicofscotland

    “Do you believe that the Russians are propagandised into supporting this war but westerners are not? “

    You may find this interesting on propaganda, and it’s even more surprising who was involved in discovering it, and reporting on it.

    “A covert online propaganda operation said to be the world’s largest promoting “pro-Western narratives” has been found to be operating primarily out of the United States, targeting Russia, China and Iran.

    “We believe this activity represents the most extensive case of covert pro-Western IO [Information Operation] on social media to be reviewed and analysed by open-source researchers to date.”


    The report:

    Unheard Voice: Evaluating five years of pro-Western covert influence operations” (33.3MB pdf) – Stanford Internet Observatory, Policy Research Center

  • john

    Comparing Russia Today (RT) with online newspapers in UK and Norway, I have to say I find RT to be WAY more even-handed in their reporting of world events than their UK/Norwegian peers such as Guardian, Independent and Aftenposten, which are saturated with Russophobic, neo-liberal viewpoints.

  • ET

    Mid August approx:

    “The governments of Estonia and Finland are leading an initiative that seeks to close Russian tourists access to the Schengen zone of free transit, which includes 22 EU members as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
    “It is not correct that Russian citizens can travel, enter the European Schengen zone, be tourists, see the landscapes, while Russia is killing people in the Ukraine. That is wrong,” Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin told a news conference in Oslo on Tuesday.
    Her stance was seconded by Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, who wrote on Twitter: “Visiting Europe is a privilege, not a human right.” She then added: “It’s time to end Russian tourism now.”


    “The president of the European Council has called on Europe to open to fleeing Russians in the wake of President Vladimir Putin’s mobilisation order.
    Charles Michel urged Europe to show an “openness to those who don’t want to be instrumentalised by the Kremlin”, according to Politico.
    “In principle I think that … the European Union [should] host those who are in danger because of their political opinions. If in Russia people are in danger because of their political opinions, because they do not follow this crazy Kremlin decision to launch this war in Ukraine, we must take this into consideration,” Mr Michel said.
    He added: “I agree on the idea that we should very quickly co-operate and co-ordinate because this is a new fact — this partial mobilisation.”

    Is it “a privilege” or an escape route from “instrumentalisation? If it wasn’t so serious it’d be funny.

  • Phil Espin

    I always respect Craig’s view but I also like to form my own view on the facts and I have to ask is this issue about Russia and Ukraine? I don’t think so. Russia made its position on its own security concerns very clear in draft treaties it put to USA in Dec 2021.

    Russia wants the removal of “NATO” potential first strike missile bases in Poland and Romania and NATO to pull back its forces to 1991 borders. For NATO read USA.

    To show their contempt for these concerns, USA goaded the Ukrainians to attack the Donbas in Feb 22 and had Zelensky talk about joining EU and NATO and creating his own nuclear weapons. This wrecked the diplomatic solution on the table, Minsk 2, and provoked the Russian invasion which Russia and countries comprising a majority of the world population believes is legal and NATO and Craig think is a war crime. There was also the murky issue of US biolabs in Ukraine on Russia’s borders.

    Whatever you think, the real politik is that most states with significant militaries would not tolerate such a situation on their border. As Scotland would find if they separate from UK, victimise their English minority, seek to acquire nuclear weapons and join the Shanghai Co-Operation Organisation to form the western node of the one belt initiative (the latter would be a smarter economic move than joining EU). I assume Scotland would have the good sense not to take these steps, but who knows in an era where top politicians appear to be bought by powerful interests.

    The Russian people following months of western Russophobia, the Nazi activities by Ukraine, and Russia’s own propaganda now appear to believe they face an existential Nazi threat. It doesn’t matter what we believe. Until their security concerns are realistically addressed there is unlikely to be a diplomatic settlement of the war in Ukraine.

    People will continue to die until the west stops supporting Ukraine and removes potential first strike missile bases from Poland and Romania. The rest is probably negotiable. It is extremely foolish to underrate the capacities of your opponent and I fear from their daily lamentable propaganda output this is exactly what the British MoD are doing – and Yes, Craig, you are doing that too – but I agree we definitely need a diplomatic solution to ensure Russia does not follow the DIY approach to address their stated concerns. If that happens the consequences in terms of nuclear brinkmanship don’t bear thinking about.

    I fear we here in Britain are in for difficult times ahead and the “budget” yesterday shows the insanity of our leaders which extends across all Government briefs not just the economy. Our military are not resourced for winning a war in Eastern Europe with the Russians so why do we seem to be being propagandised into one? The answer seems to be that some rich bastards seem to think they can make a lot of cash dismembering Russia. Even more than they can make dismembering UK and Germany, which will be a useful second prize if the main aim fails. Delusional thinking is the order of the day, and I say that knowing that some will opine that the position I put forward is delusional itself.

    • Neil

      “USA … had Zelensky talk about joining EU and NATO”

      So Zelensky/Ukraine don’t want to join the the EU or NATO, but the USA forced them to say they did.

      That makes perfect sense. After all, why would Ukraine want to be part of a defensive organisation when Russia is such a peaceable, trustworthy neighbor? What could Ukraine ever have to fear sharing a border with a country ruled by a nice, reasonable guy like Putin?

      • Jack


        Defensive organisation? Libya? Yugoslavia? Pouring arms over Ukraine that destroy Donbas and kill civlians?
        You believe the US would be OK if Russia set up a “defensive” military pact on their border?

      • fonso

        Nato, a defensive organisation run by nice, reasonable guys. I’m unsure if this take even rises to the level of a child’s perception of the world.

        • Neil

          Fonso, you’re right, the Ukrainians don’t really want to join the eu and NATO. And if you talk to them, and they say they do, they must be a liar, a spy, trying to spread misinformation on behalf of the military industrial complex. Yes, your worldview makes perfect sense, no matter how tortuously you have to work to try to resolve all the contradictions.

      • Phil Espin

        Zelensky is an actor. He speaks the lines his director pays him to speak. What the Ukrainian people want has very little to do with it. He was after all elected on a promise of reaching a diplomatic resolution with Russia. I feel very sorry for all of the people of Ukraine who aren’t Nazi’s. I’d say people get the leaders they deserve but that would be an insult to 99.9% of the people of U.K. who didn’t vote for Liz Truss. NATO is supposed to be a defensive alliance but it fights wars of aggression to line its members pockets. To Jack’s list below I would add Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. If Russia decides that Ukraine has joined this list we are in big trouble.

        • mark golding

          Yes Phil, Zelensky literally wears the emperors new clothes. The US emperor indeed. Thinking about that idiom may well guide us to Japan and the detonation of TWO atomic bombs…

          Symbolically these weapons of mass destruction were dropped on Russia as a warning not to hamper US post-war designs.

          Reparation to Japan continues to this day big time to wipe out the shock wave.

        • Neil

          “Zelensky is an actor. He speaks the lines his director pays him to speak. What the Ukrainian people want has very little to do with it.”

          So Zelensky is a puppet and Ukrainians are his slaves. Yes, I seem to remember a Russian official saying exactly that. I must say, it’s fascinating to survey the “interesting” perspectives of those who actually believe such stuff. Just a pity innocent people are being literally ripped apart in the name of whatever you think it is you are arguing for.

          • Phil Espin

            Yes Zelensky is a puppet. I didn’t say the people of Ukraine are his slaves. They broadly follow their leadership as we do in UK and as do the people in most purported democracies. I am arguing for a realistic understanding of both sides in this war which is the only way a lasting diplomatic solution will be found. Innocent people are being killed all over the world by many states and breakaway groups. I deplore ALL that killing. The reality is that if a diplomatic solution is not found, the west will fight the Russians to the last Ukrainian and many more innocent people on all sides will be killed. The stark reality as I see it, is that in the absence of a diplomatic solution either Russia will win and Ukraine will be dismembered or there will be a nuclear war and most of us will not survive. Both these choices are unacceptable so there will have to be a diplomatic solution which will require developing trust between US and Russia. A big ask at the moment but that is what diplomats are for.

            You seem to have a different view and I would be interested to hear how you see this situation ending.

    • DamandaC

      Complete agreement with all your very well made points. I subscribe to Craig, & agree with a lot of what he’s says, but not on this issue. Are you on Twitter?

    • Jimmeh

      > Russia made its position on its own security concerns very clear in draft treaties it put to USA in Dec 2021.

      So it did. It expressed those concerns as demands, that Ukraine demilitarize, among many other outrageous demands; and it offered nothing in return. As you note, they were put to the USA, not to Ukraine. Those “draft treaties” were pure theatre.

      > For NATO read USA.

      Thanks, but I can read for myself. Would you care to substantiate the view, widely assumed around here, that NATO is synonymous with USA?

      • John Monro

        Come on. NATO is the Pentagon’s branch office in Europe. The US is NATO, other countries are mere associate members. I think what is now happening to Germany proves this, the US is deliberately undermining Europe, and Europe is going along with its own economic suicide. It’s almost certain the US was involved in the mining/sabotage of the gas pipelines to make it impossible for Germany to access Russian gas if there were to be an some sort of truce/agreement. . And that’s the whole issue. Presently the US administration is run by the murderous neo-cons, and is happy, as Craig tells us, that this war is the deliberately planned and welcome result of US interference in NATO and Ukraine. The idea being of course is that such a war would, along with the severest sanctions, bring down the Russian economy, cause a revolution in Russia and the overthrow of Putin and the break up and ransacking of the Russian Federation. Russia is an obsession to them. So far this has failed. So instead of reviewing this policy, we have doubled down on this. Doubling down is another way of looking at Einsteins definition of stupidity, doing the same thing more than once and expecting a different result. Another word would be political quackery – as in a quack doctor “doubling down” on his misguided treatment.

    • nevermind

      Indeed Jimmeh, directed at the US nuke fanatics who turned Hiroshima and Nagasaki into radiant powder and you trust every word these psychos say.
      It is the US and their MIC that are the button pushers, not anyone else. As for strutting her stuff, Mary E. Truss is cowardly tugging her forelock to these leviathan hegemonists and does as she is told by Biden.
      NATO IS CLEARLY NOT CONCERNED with Europe and their bases here are a target for anybody, as they have made a few enemies around the world. Still they want Russia’s resources whilst their voters are totally polarised into haves and have-nots.

      Hmmm what if all these bases are shunned whence Biden gets his deathwish granted and the hits are felt by those who have conspired to undermine our security here in Europe?

    • john

      Ukrainians of ethnic Russian identity probably got hold of this guy, who represents Ukraine’s neo-Nazi Azov Battalion that has terrorized them since the putsch in Kiev in 2014.

      “The historic mission of our nation in this critical moment,” said Andreiy Biletsky, founder of the Azov Battalion, “is to lead the White Races of the world in a final crusade for their survival, a crusade against the Semite-led Untermenschen.”

      The ITV news report from May 2014 linked below shows shelling of civilians in Mariupol by the Azov battalion.
      In the same month, dozens of Russian-speaking people were burned alive or suffocated in a trade union building in Odessa besieged by fascist thugs, the followers of the Nazi collaborator and anti-Semitic fanatic Stepan Bandera.

      Mariupol seethes with anger after day of deadly clashes (ITV News, 10 May 2014) – YouTube, 3m 4s

      Not much space for diplomacy here, I fear.

      • Neil

        Not much room for diplomacy, with the evil Ukrainian nazis ranged against the wonderful Mr Putin and his heroic whiter-than-white-souled freedom fighters sacrificing their lives just to try to spread a little joy and happiness in the world.

          • Neil

            I didn’t read what he said, just looked at the photos. Are you claiming they are photoshopped? If you claim everything is a lie, damning photos are all photoshopped, etc etc, how is it you decide every word the Russians say is the truth? What criteria are you basing that judgment on? Genuine question.

          • Jack


            Not sure what your point is with the photos. The people caught in that steel plant were soldiers from the “Azov regiment”, a neo-nazi group. You feel sympathy with that ideology?

          • Neil

            Jack, as I said, it’s a genuine question. It was put to Bayard, but if you’d like to take a stab at answering, I’m interested to hear your answer too.

          • Bayard

            “Are you claiming they are photoshopped?”

            No, but how do you know that what is shown is what it is said to be? We have two pictures of the same man, not taken at the same time. That’s all we can tell from looking at them. All the rest you have to take on trust, and I don’t.

  • Jack

    Good interview with Jeffrey Sachs on Democracy Now, he’s pointing out right that – “Diplomacy Is Always an Option” and not arms.

    “Jeffrey Sachs: U.S. Policy & “West’s False Narrative” Stoking Tensions with Russia, China”


    another good interview I want to share is with John Pilger on western media and their propaganda during this war:

    ‘This is a war of propaganda’: John Pilger on Ukraine and Assange


    Journalists in the west could have played such a important role in this war, to educate and to create paths towards peace, instead they have become lapdogs to their government and their foreign policy objectives and caused their audience to become rabid warmongers.

    • mark golding

      Good links Jack. Jeffery Sacks who I love says “we are driving to the precipice” and his words.his thinking and his intention can lead us, can guide us to a place where hope, faith and trust triumph. That belief and our realisation of that place will apply the brakes, will expose US dominion and convert the American power dream into a spiritless oversight.

      Thinking clearly about the British/American dynamics of this journey, this campaign, we might be aware you can only go to war if you can show your people the image of an enemy. In other words the US and Britain needed solely to create the image of an enemy and nothing else.

      Russia is that enemy.

      Most here were guided, were directed by the sign-posts along the journey. The rejection by the West of the Russian Covid vaccine. the sanctions imposed on Russia because of it’s so called ‘annexation’ of Crimea and alleged military presence in Dombas, the timely policy regarding Alexei Navalny, the Skripals and of course Novichok…

      All part of a preparation for war, penned in blood and entombed in the SIS vaults at Albert embankment in Vauxhall

  • domb

    “The Crimea is even more difficult. The population was historically majority Tartar – Crimea was within living memory a Muslim land – and the Krim Tatars were deported brutally by Stalin. This is not ancient history. Much of the deportation did not happen until the 1950’s. I cannot understand those who join me in wanting the Chagos Islanders to get their country back, but do not take the same view of the rights of the Krim Tatars.”

    This is a perfect example of how people fall for the narratives shaped up by western propaganda. Even people who are aware of the power of western propaganda (like Craig). The Russians outnumbered the Tatars in Crimeas at some point near year 1900 (which is hardly a living memory). In 1926, the census put Russian population in Crimea at 301K and Tatar population at 179K (and Ukrainian numbers at 64K).

    Source – https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Crimea

  • Michael

    Dear Craig,

    I largely agree with your political stance on the war, and appreciate your courage in speaking truth as you see it in the current warmongering media climate. You are one of the few voices calling for peace and a negotiated settlement or providing even the most basic journalistic objective analysis of geopolitical events. The mainstream media (MSM) are all just trumpeting the imperialist line, and unlike the Iraq or Vietnam wars there is now no room for dissenting voices, a point John Pilger made recently in an interview.

    However, this blanket of lies also extends to the military domain. I don’t know where you’re getting your information and analysis on the military situation, but I urge you to look for alternate sources e.g., Telegram channels (both Russian and Ukrainian) and analysis from sources such as the Gray zone and Scott Ritter (banned from twitter, but with a telegram account now https://t.me/ScottRitter). These sources will paint a very different picture of the military situation which have major implications for potential political outcomes and for how our governments in the west will likely respond.

    The Russian military is not the force you remember from the 1990’s, the 2000’s or even 2014 and is a lot more capable today with new weapons and tactics, designed to minimize casualties on their side. In short despite mistakes and setbacks, the Russian military has been systematically destroying the Ukrainian military and military infrastructure for months. This has been achieved at relatively low cost in Russian casualties, but at horrific cost in Ukrainian lives, largely covered up by both the Ukrainian government, western MSM, and also the Russian MoD to some extent.

    The Ukrainian army that existed on Feb 24 has largely been destroyed. In the meantime, Ukraine has slowed the Russian army down with masses of territorial army troops while they constructed a new army with NATO weapons which has been conducting the recent offensives. However, this new army will also be destroyed and is being so in its current mostly disastrous offensives. Even the success in Kharkiv is not quite as its painted. Where were all the photos of the dead and captured Russian soldiers? Destroyed and captured Russian vehicles? Very few such photos exist to back up the Ukrainian and MSM claims about huge Russian losses, mainly because the small number of Russian forces in the area withdrew in good order and are now holding the line with reinforcements at the Oskil river and in Lyman.

    The recent partial mobilization and moves to incorporate the 4 Oblasts into the Russian Federation is both an escalatory response to this new Ukrainian army and its successful Kharkiv offensive, and a hardening of the aims of the war. The new Russian forces will likely destroy the remaining Ukrainian with further massive loss of life, and Russia will then impose a peace deal on Ukraine, which now clearly means its dismemberment. Russia isn’t going to lose this fight, and there’s nothing the West can do to stop them winning short of a nuclear escalation – in which case, obviously, we all lose. Putin does not appear to be bluffing.

    Perhaps the above narrative is completely wrong and I’m just swallowing Kremlin kool-aid. Perhaps Ukraine is winning the war or will stalemate Russia indefinitely, while bleeding their army and economy as the West hopes.

    But what if this narrative is right?

    It would mean that the US/NATO is heading towards a strategic military and geopolitical defeat of the type not seen since Vietnam, and arguably worse. Combined with the backfiring sanctions, the energy crisis and the inability of the US/NATO to impose their will militarily, economically or politically, how will western states react? With extreme violence and more disastrous policies I fear.

    I think you should look again at your sources for the military assessment, because the implications of an incorrect assessment are very significant.


    • Squeeth

      Michael, you’re right, lots of people have seized on the Ukrainian success east of Kharkhov but land is meaningless in a war of attrition, the US-Ukronazis came into the open and were cut to pieces. While the Russians in the north had to make do, the defences of Zaporozhiye and Kherson were reinforced. The plebiscites have been held and the anti-terrorist operation is about to begin. I hope the Russians win quickly but know that they can’t lose.

  • Valerie Swales

    Of course any sane person would assume that the West, especially the US government would want to lead the world in reaching a peaceful solution. I am appalled that that’s not its ambition and equally appalled that thé EU is following the US and it’s Eastern European ex-Soviet countries, apart from Hungary, in its bellicose attitude to this situation. They all seem gripped by what Pfaff and Stillman called ‘The Politics of Hysteria’ in the book of the same name. They seem to be driven by a manic desire, even impulse – hence hysterical – to go to war.

    Additionally Putin has asked to join NATO, to not have nuclear arms on its borders, for Ukraine to not have nuclear arms, and has signed Minsk 1,2 and 3 to no avail. En plus 13000 people have been killed in the Donbas and Luhansk, with a real ramp up in the last week before February 24. What is Russia to do? It is fully aware that the US – and probably Germany – have wished to destroy Russia and control its mineral wealth since the early 50s. It’s all documented. I certainly understand why Putin and Lavrov say this is an existential threat for Russia.

    • Jimmeh

      > They [the EU and US] seem to be driven by a manic desire, even impulse – hence hysterical – to go to war.

      I must have been swept up by the Russophobic propaganda! I suppose, then, that there’s no truth in the news reports that:

      • Russia invaded Crimea without provocation
      • Russia backed armed rebels in Donbas
      • Russia invaded Ukraine from three directions, with the express goal of removing the government

      No I guess none of that is true; I guess the truth is that the USA moved troops and weapons to Ukraine, and then invaded Russia from Ukraine, forcing Russia to defend itself.

      > Putin has asked to join NATO, to not have nuclear arms on its borders, for Ukraine to not have nuclear arms

      They call Zelyinsky a clown; but Putin asking to join NATO was pure comedy. Meanwhile, Poland and Ukraine have nuclear weapons on their borders. Sauce for the goose?

      Russia’s current approach to international politics seems to be that Russia is exceptional, a geopolitical power that must be granted respect. Russia must have it’s own zone of hegemony, a circle of neighbouring governments that must comply with Russian demands or be toppled. As far as I’m concerned, respect is something you earn, and you don’t earn respect by beating up your neighbours; you earn contempt.

      • Jack


        You have it backwards.
        What does EU and US have to do with Ukraine? What does Nato? Ukraine is not part of EU nor Nato or the US but it was the EU, US, and Nato that forced their hegemony on Ukraine by toppling their leader in 2014. Exceptional? You bet and you supported it through and through.

      • Tatyana

        Ukraine is a big country with many people living there. You yourself said you’ve never been there, yet you say it is right to send them more weapons.
        I’m Russian and I don’t support wars and I’m all for a diplomatic solution.
        What I find silly in your position is being pro giving more guns. At the previous page we had a weird conversation, remember the quote? It was a pretty Nazi quote from the leader of the Azov soldiers. They started as marginal group and ended as an official Ukrainian Armed Forces, and they also have formed Civil Corps with wide support.

        We may disagree on Zelensky, but still he is not the person to hold the weapons you are ready to pay for. We may also disagree on the level at wich Nazi ideology is acceptable among ordinary Ukrainians; still, they are not the recipients of your generous military aid.

        If for a moment you admit that armed ultra-right threatening ethnic Russians – with full support of NATO – might be seen as unacceptable by Russia, then you’ll have a clue to this stupid war.

        • Jimmeh

          > What I find silly in your position is being pro giving more guns.

          Are you advocating for Russia to withdraw from Ukraine then? I’d be happy if everyone would get their troops and guns out of Ukraine. But there’s no sign that Russia is going anywhere. Russia has a lot of cannons and tanks, which they use to flatten Ukrainian cities.

          So are you saying that it’s “silly” to enable Ukrainians to defend themselves against the city-flatteners? Why do you think that’s silly? I mean, you can ignore city-flatteners when it’s not your city; you can say “Oh, we’re EU/NATO, Ukraine is not EU/NATO, so it’s none of our business”. I think that’s short-sighted and “silly”.

          • Jack


            So equally you would have been be ok if Russia aided, armed and gave Saddam Hussein intelligence to kill UK and US soldiers when they invaded Iraq?

          • Tatyana

            every time you ask questions without giving answers. your position does not take into account living people, but only maps, borders, regimes and current laws. I can assume that you are an outside observer, taking care of your own life and joining the simple decisions schemes suggested by your government.
            No place for humans in your reasoning.

  • conjunction

    Just one unfortunately rather lengthy comment:

    You express surprise at the Russian intelligence failures:

    “While I knew the Russian military to be far weaker than we were being told, what is more surprising is the spectacular failures of Russian intelligence services, which were traditionally very good.

    The spectacular failure to predict the Ukrainian counterattack around Kharkiv is worth considering. Given the scope and range of modern surveillance techniques available, from satellite, drone and aircraft imagery through computer hacking and communications intercept, that Russia did not pick up the build-up of Ukrainian forces for the north-eastern attack is, in this day and age, very strange.

    It follows the massive Russian intelligence failure at the outset of this invasion, where both the strength and morale of Ukrainian forces around Kiev were massively underestimated, as was the attitude to invasion of the Ukrainian people. Vast sums given to the FSB to bribe key Ukrainian politicians and officials proved to be wasted (and the Kremlin believes to a sgnificant extent the funds were purloined by corrupt FSB personnel).”

    Does this not sound very remeniscent of the astonishing intelligence failures of Britain and the US in 2002-3 before the second Iraq war? The problem was not the intelligence services but the complete lack of willingness of governments to listen to them.. In fact they often told the intelligence services to rewrite their suggestions coming up with different conclusions.

    In the end intelligence services sometimes write what their masters want to hear.

    • Squeeth

      It is strange, some would say rather fishy. It depends on what you think of the Russian withdrawal east of Kharkhov. Could they have really made a swift step back to a line easier to defend if they didn’t see it coming? The step back can easily be explained by the Russians having to cut their cloth accordingly and that reinforcement of Zaporozhiye and Kherson mattered more. Everything that the Russians have done since February can be explained by analogies going back to the beginning of firepower warfare in 1915.

  • Wazdo

    The legitimacy of the referendums in the Donbas and Crimea are being questioned. Nobody applied the same criticism to the referendums in the Faulkland Islands. I wonder why?

    Perhaps it is because the people in the Donbas and and Crimea do not speak English even though they are white and Christian.

    • Tatyana

      To my understanding, the Western anglophone population of the planet is about 6 month past the actual point of the events. ‘Thanks’ to propaganda and total ban on everything Russian.
      Though it’s bad time for jokes, but I imagine the faces at waking up. Oh, my, saying ‘it all was worth it’ would be a cynical joke, well, still funny.
      Someone here used an exact description, Russia decided on DIY approach. As a handmaker, I heartily welcome the exactedness of it.
      Whoever whatever might say now of referenda, is of no interest. In the current state of affairs, I’m afraid nobody cares what are the opinions in the West.

      • John Kinsella

        @Jack. A rhetorical question as the Putin regime will ensure that overwhelming Yes votes are recorded.

        Irrespective of the wishes of the people of the 4 partly occupied oblasts.

        • Jack

          John Kinsella

          That is not very likely at all since there is no point in occupying a region where the people living there do not want to be part of the occupying force/nation, that will only cause trouble to say the least.

          On that topic though, it, seems like some groups trying to make sure there will be a “No” vote.

          “Video of Ukrainian sabotage group detained in DPR
          During the search they found bundles of ballots, similar to those used in the referendum. On each, negative answers are pre-marked on the issue of the DPR joining Russia.”


          • John Kinsella

            Oh come on.
            Did the Hitler regime show any scruples occupying most of Europe?
            Did the Stalin regime show any scruples occupying most of Europe?
            Did the Mao regime show any scruples occupying Tibet?

            And does the Putin regime show any scruples occupying most of the Donbas?

            Are you really suggesting that the four monsters that I mentioned gave or give a rattling damn about the wishes of the people whose lives they destroy?

          • Jack

            John Kinsella

            Actually your examples prove my point, occupied people resist forcefully. The baltic nations for example are no longer part of Soviet/Russia.

            Or take US/UK occupation of Iraq, that did not work because the Iraqis did want to be part of that “empire” so the US/UK had to leave.

          • Pears Morgaine

            The Soviet Union occupied much of Europe for nearly 50 years, putting down dissent with force. The British Empire occupied much of the world, from Ireland to India, for very much longer.

      • Squeeth

        “What is intresting is if any of these regions vote No (to joining Russia), will the west then suddenly respect the vote?”

        ;O) ;O) ;O)

        Remember how the Palestinians voted in the only democratic election ever held in the middle east? Bliar et al. respected their democratic choice so much that they incited that weeks’ zionist pogrom.

    • Pears Morgaine

      Possibly because the Falkland Isles referendums were conducted openly and scrutinised by independent observers and not done at gunpoint.

      • Jack

        Pears Morgaine

        So roughly 3500 Falklanders’ with, majority british descent (because of UK military forces), have the right to independence thousands of miles from the UK…..but hundreds of thousands of russians bordering Russia itself, have no such right?

        • Pears Morgaine

          They do have a right to independence IF that’s what they really want but this is not what the referendum is about. The referendum is about becoming part of Russia. They also deserve to have a referendum which is conducted openly and fairly with proper scrutinising.

          Incidentally the Falkland referendum was to ask if the islanders wanted to remain an overseas territory of the UK. Had they voted ‘no’ a further vote on independence would’ve followed.

      • Squeeth

        They also usurped the rest of the electorate in Britain, which was the point, same as in the Scotland referendum. You might also find that lots of observers scrutinised the votes in Novorossiya.

  • John Kinsella

    To our host, Mr Murray, you say that “diplomacy is always an option”.

    Surely there have been and are adversary powers so malign that one side must either resile from their invasion or suffer defeat?

  • Deb O'Nair

    “Google hides this; I have no doubt whatsoever that this is deliberate.”

    LOL, yes the same is true about any facts which disagree with the US narrative.

    Google/Youtube have literally buried he PNAC/911 atrocity behind the search algorithm: try ‘ “the project for a new american century” +pdf +download.’ It’s as if the blueprint for the war on terror and 911 had never existed except as a ‘conspiracy theory’.

      • John Kinsella

        If the chancers who are allowed spout off on Russya 1 are “worried by the shambles of the mobilization” then so should Putin lackeys everywhere…

        All that the Russkis need to do is **** off to the Rodina.

        Until they do, the UA NEED TO DEFEND THEIR COUNTRY.

          • John Kinsella

            A full mobilisation of an Army woefully deficient in training NCO’s, tanks, artillery, weapons, equipment…

            Good luck with that..

          • Jack

            John Kinsella

            The 190k or so soldiers til this day have managed to secure almost 20 percentage of ukrainian land for the pro-russians living there now voting in the referendums.

            A full mobilization, if it gets to that point, will of course not lessen that above percentage.

          • Jack

            Pears Morgaine

            Barely moved? Where are they supposed to move? The russian goal have been to secure russians in eastern Ukraine.
            Russia have about 1 million active forces, their reserve is 2 million: do not then be fooled by western headlines proclaiming some conscripts reject participation in the war.

          • Pears Morgaine

            So why haven’t they occupied all of Donetsk? What of the stated objectives of ‘de-militarising’ and ‘de-nazifying’ Ukraine? Russia can’t do either until it has occupied the whole country which was clearly it’s initial intention. They’ve also got an active front some 1,300 km (800 miles) long which is costing blood and money to maintain. They need to move, forwards or backwards.


  • Peter

    Breaking news:

    It appears that the Nord Stream 1&2 pipelines have been sabotaged rendering them both useless for the foreseeable future.

    Very, very bad news for Europe if correct.

    Although Gonzalo Lira, it seems, is only now realising that Europe, and in particular Germany, is one of the primary targets of America’s proxy war, here is his otherwise astute analysis:


      • Peter

        @ John Kinsella

        There are two Gonzalo Liras in the link you give.

        If you mean the one in the accompanying Youtube link, the actual Gonzalo Lira, then, yes, ‘that’ Gonzalo Lira.

        If you mean the one in the demented, source-free twaddle of the article, I suspect you do, which appears to seek to make out that ‘that’ Gonzalo Lira is some kind of antisemitic psychopath, then no, I don’t know of ‘that’ Gonzalo Lira.

        The one I originally referred to is currently reporting from Ukraine where he is based. I have watched a lot of his output and have never seen any remote hint of antisemitism or racism of any kind. If I did I would be gone from him.

        He’s not perfect and he can get a little hyperbolic but by and large he is a very reliable commentator, unlike say, the BBC – did you ever think they would stoop to supporting Nazis? – or any other MSM outlet you care to mention for that matter.

    • Pears Morgaine

      “Very, very bad news for Europe if correct.”

      How so? Seeing as neither is actually pumping any gas.

      Lira is, as usual, wrong. Gas (and oil) pipelines do spring leaks for one reason or the other so there is a procedure for cutting out the damaged section and replacing it. If the will is there the pipelines could b repaired in a mater of weeks not years as he claims.

      • Peter

        @ Pears Morgaine

        Thought you’d be along.

        The whole situation is still not clear but the weight of opinion is certainly leaning towards sabotage as there were at least three ‘explosions’ occurring within a few hours of each other.


        Gonzalo is right that the primary beneficiary of any such sabotage would be the US, who have always been determined to stop Nord Stream 2 opening, for the reasons he gives.

        It would be very, very bad news for Europe, including the UK, because it would preclude the possibility of a return to sanity and something approaching economic normality in the aftermath of, or pending the resolution of, the conflict.

        If as you say it is possible that the pipelines can be repaired reasonably swiftly, again unclear at the moment, then I hope that you are right – for once.

        • Pears Morgaine

          “preclude the possibility of a return to sanity and something approaching economic normality in the aftermath of, or pending the resolution of, the conflict.”

          But that is a long. long way off sadly and even then I doubt whether Europe is going to be in any hurry to get back to being dependent on Russian gas. A new pipeline from Norway to Poland has just opened, ahead of time – construction being accelerated because of the crisis.

          No doubt an ROV will be sent to examine the damage soon and then we might know a bit more.

          • Peter

            “But that is a long. long way off … “

            Maybe … , maybe not.

            The whispers and hints about “diplomatic solutions” are on the increase.

            We shall see.

  • John Kinsella

    For those who believe that the Putin regime are “good actors” check out Medvedev on Tass:

    “NATO will not intervene if Russia uses nuclear weapons in response to Ukrainian aggression, and Kyiv should be at least partially aware of this. This opinion was expressed on Tuesday by Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev in his Telegram channel .”

    • Peter

      @ John Kinsella

      John, I’m going to assume, for the purposes of this response, that you are a ‘good faith actor’ (though your previous response to me barely warrants it) and that you really fear Russian aggression and reject arguments about US/Nato provocation.

      Did you read the whole article that you quote?

      The paragraph you quote is slightly misleading in respect of the whole article in which Medvedev in effect just repeats, though presents somewhat differently, what Putin said last week, that Russia would use nuclear weapons – if Russia or the Russian state faced an imminent existential threat – ie a threat to its existence.

      This is nothing new, has always been the case, and is what every nuclear armed state would say of their own country.

      Putin’s comments were grossly and deliberately distorted and blown (if you’ll excuse the term) out of all proportion to make him look like a nuclear armed madman that we all should fear in order to bolster public support for this war.

      Putin’s comments, I believe, were targeted at the west in case they are thinking of escalating the conflict – the American Special Military Operation so to speak, the one began in 2014, if you’ll permit me. That America seeks regime change, a compliant Yeltsin/Navalny-esque Russian government and the eventual dismemberment of Russia is well documented.

      Medvedev’s comments, I believe, were targetted at Ukraine just to scare them. He warns that if they use such weapons of mass destruction that threaten the existence of the Russian state and/or country then the use of nuclear weapons is not ruled out.

      Do you really think the west is prepared to threaten the existence of the Russian state in such a way, or that Ukraine has the ability to?

      At the beginning of this conflict it looked to me like the US was prepared to push this conflict to that extent if to do so would meet its aims. It now seems highly likely that the US and Nato have greatly underestimated Russia’s preparedness for all that ensued and are not prepared to ‘put boots on the ground’, as it were, as Russia prepares to step up its confrontation. The threat of nuclear war, imho, therefore appears a lot less likely than it initially did. I hope and pray I’m not wrong.

      My point is that Putin’s comments were massively distorted to frighten the western public into acquiesence and you seem to be falling into the same trap regarding Medvedev’s comments but in reality the threat of nuclear conflict is not as imminent as you might think.

      You are, of course, completely free to disagree with me, and you probably will – fair enough, assuming, as I said, that you are a ‘good faith actor’ unlike some other of the more recent frequenters of this site.

      For an alternative view of the conflict, the fuel crisis and esp the EU’s role check out Alex Christoforou, who comments daily on it:

      Watch from 7:10 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YTdi6OfyrUI

      • John Kinsella

        @Peter You asked:

        “Do you really think the west is prepared to threaten the existence of the Russian state in such a way, or that Ukraine has the ability to?”

        No to both.

        So why do Putin sidekicks like Medvedev feel the need to threaten nuclear war given that, as we agree, the Russki state is not under threat from the West?

        • Peter

          @ John Kinsella

          Simply put, just in case they do. It’s far from inconceivable that the Neo-Cons and the MIC running the US state might do so.

          Though I believe that that threat has now receded I didn’t say it was never there.

          I personally have no doubt whatsoever that this war was engineered in Washington and that its aims were: decoupling of Europe, particularly Germany, from good trade relations with Russia because that combination represented a threat to US global supremacy; removal of Putin; regime change in Moscow; a compliant Russian government which would enable US extraction of natural resources; and the eventual balkanisation of Russia into smaller, more easily controllable states. In other words, all in all, and this had been clearly building since 2014, an existential threat to Russia.

          At this moment in time, as I said above and contrary to what the entire MSM is saying, it appears that the US has greatly underestimated Russia’s preparedness and readiness for what has followed – ie the flooding of Ukraine with tens of billions of dollars worth of weapons alongside full-scale economic warfare – and now, facing failure, the US/Nato is looking for an “off-ramp”.

          That being the case, as I said, imho, Putin’s comments were intended to warn the US/Nato/West against a full-scale escalation, which there will, no doubt, be some in Washington would like, while Medvedev’s comments, again imho, were intended to put the frighteners on Ukraine.

          As Ricky Hatton once famously put it – “It’s not a tickling competition is it?”.

          But altogether, that is why I think that, although not entirely removed, the threat of WWlll and a nuclear exchange has now receded.

      • Dawg

        As I understood it, the major concern is that if (as expected shortly) Russia annexes the 4 referendum oblasts, then what is currently a defensive war for Ukraine would be regarded (by the Russians at least) as an aggressive war on their own territory, and could therefore be construed an existential threat to part of Russia. The statement from Medvedev/Putin implicitly lays the pretext for a defensive nuclear strike. And that’s a bit of a worry.

        • Jack


          Ukraine have attacked Crimea multiple times and even targets inside Russia and Russia have hardly responded at all so basically: a state simply do not use nukes for such occasions. Also Russia have regular weapons that can target Kiev and Zelensky himself right this minute. No need for nukes in ths conflict.

          • Jack

            John Kinsella

            Equally if the Truss regime is mad enough, britts’ will pay a heavy price.

            “The statement by British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, the frontrunner for the kingdom’s next prime minister, who said she would be ready to use nuclear weapons if needed, could do for a perfect start to a new Austin Powers series”


            Btw, It looks like you ignore replies when you are proven wrong so I wont engage with you anymore on this blog.

          • John Kinsella

            @jack As you know, on this site we cannot create threads more than (?) 3 deep?

            I tend not to agree with your posts but it is often not possible to reply, except by posting a top level post as I am now doing..

  • Rosemary MacKenzie

    I hope the sabotage of Nordstream will wake the Europeans up to the hole they have been digging themselves into by supporting their so called ally. None of the activities (sanctions, arms supple, etc) surrounding European support of the Ukraine debacle have been in the interests of the European people. Their media and governments have been completely morally derelict in promoting their involvement. Putin is a very clever, cautious man and, in Jacques Baud’s view, a dove in the Russian political arena; and diplomacy would always be an option (as Craig puts it). The thing that truly is the tragedy is that there was an agreement between Ukraine and Russia last spring which would have ended the conflict but it was vetoed by the West, probably – most likely – the Americans. There are tens, maybe hundreds, of thousands of lives lost, lives destroyed in so many ways, so unnecessarily. To the American government this is collateral damage: it doesn’t matter so long as they get what they want.

      • Bayard

        What evidence can you offer to support your suggestion that the pipelines were not blown by the US/NATO? Who else would have blown them up? Russia? Why would they do it when they could simply turn off the tap? That leaves the only other candidates as Ukraine and Belarus, the latter which is so unlikely to be discounted. Or do you think that it was done by North Korea perhaps, or aliens from outer space?

        • John Kinsella

          So no evidence then?

          We resort to Cui Bono or else blind hatred/lashing out.

          The US has been very cautious re Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
          Remember how President Biden repeatedly said at the start of the invasion that no NATO troops would be positioned in Ukraine. So why would Biden risk antagonising Western Europe if his purpose is to persuade them to support Ukraine. It doesn’t make sense.

          On the other hand blind hatred/lashing out by an aging dictator waging a losing war?


          • Bayard

            Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. What does a detective do when evidence is lacking, they consider Motive, means and opportunity:
            Motive – what motive did Russia have for damaging Nordstream : none, becasue they could stop the supply by simply turning off the taps.
            – what motive did the US/NATO or Ukraine have for damaging Nordstream? if Germany was prevented permanently from getting gas from Russia, it would have to continue buying gas from the USA. If Germany couldn’t use Nordstream, in the event it did start buying from Russia again, it would have to continue to buy gas that came through Ukraine, meaning that Ukraine got its transit fees back.
            Means and opportunity: NATO has been carrying out naval exercises in the Baltic recently, Russia has not.

            “Remember how President Biden repeatedly said at the start of the invasion that no NATO troops would be positioned in Ukraine.”

            Sensibly because he knew that the Americans would not stand for another Vietnam or Iraq. He didn’t want any body bags coming home.

            “So why would Biden risk antagonising Western Europe if his purpose is to persuade them to support Ukraine. It doesn’t make sense.”

            He doesn’t have to persuade anyone to do anything, he, or rather the US, just tells them what to do and, by and large they do it. They have to, the US has troops on their soil already.

            “On the other hand blind hatred/lashing out by an aging dictator waging a losing war?”

            This sort of remark can only proceed from an understanding of world affairs that goes no deeper than what is conveyed by the MSM. A little serious research into history shows that major conflicts have not been conducted as a gladiatorial contest between leaders for at least a century, if not more, although I would agree that the MSM would like us to believe that all politics is simply the whim of the country’s leader. It doesn’t mean you have to believe them, though.

    • Pears Morgaine

      “Putin is a very clever, cautious man and, in Jacques Baud’s view, a dove in the Russian political arena; and diplomacy would always be an option”

      If that were true this stupid war would never have started. He started life as street thug and he’s still a street thug,

      In the medium to long term weening itself off imported energy could be the best thing that could happen for Europe. Sure it’s not going to be an easy process but we’ll be much better off once it’s done.

  • Pascale

    Great article, but please don’t mention the Uighurs based on hearsay.

    Everything coming out of the MSM re Xinjiang, China and the Uighurs doesn’t stand to scrutiny.

    Until we are provided with actual evidence of abuse, I will continue to believe the narrative is entirely fabricated by US paid outfits.

    Beyond the laughable “evidence” we are given every 6 months, there’s also the question of motivation. The Chinese government has zero incentive in victimising one of its largest ethnic groups. To assume it has without properly knowing the situation is just another of the West’s Islamophobic projections, mingled with our prejudices against the Chinese, and all that “Yellow Peril” ingrained racism.

    • Baron

      So Tucker’s no-good, John, but Bondarev and the DW wanker interviewing him are OK, are they?

      The current referenda are by far more democratic than was the Kiev Feb 2014 putsch orchestrated by the Nuland’s mafia, but then for someone like you ar$elicking the neocons it must be the other way round. You’re in the wrong place here, you should join the DW fruitcakes, that’s a pigsty more suited to your make-up.

    • John Kinsella

      That’s a zinger.

      Still at least I’m not supporting a decrepit kleptocratic dictator so I expect that I’ll be fine.

      Putin fanboys not so much..

  • Captain Morgan

    It strikes me that no fervent democrat calling the referendums “sham” “illegitimate” etc, ever insists on carrying out “legitimate” and “democratic” referendums in those territories, under UN supervision?

  • Baron

    I have been a long time supporter of you, Mr. Craig, but unless you begin to check up on facts you quote and rely on I will cancel my support, one of the issues of contention in this piece of yours is the size of the Russian economy, you keep saying that the country has “an economy the size of that of Spain or Italy, and a military crippled by corruption’, if you google for the ranking of countries by GDP in PPP terms (purchasing power parity), the only measure for international comparison because one pays for a cup to tea or a tank in Russia in roubles, in Japan in yen, in the UK in sterling … you will see that Russia’s economy ranks before ours, and certainly before that of Spain or Italy.

    Would you also care to furnish evidence of the corruption in the Russian military, I haven’t seen you ever supplying any from a reputable source, allegations there are aplenty, what’s lacking is the evidence.


      • Pigeon English

        And in UK you can go to food bank but GDP doesn’t tell us that. Neither GDP or PPP are perfect.
        Btw what does GDP tell you that is so important and that PPP is bollocks?
        There is even Big Mac index!
        Few days ago Kwasikamikazy announced 45 Billions of “unfunded” tax relief (2% of GDP) and markets went bonkers and BoE created 65 Billions to save markets. All this in 6th biggest economy in the world while the little economy of Russia is coping with economical sanctions of unprecedented magnitude.
        For your reputation and intellect, stereotyping Russians as lard-eating and drinking Vodka is like stereotyping Scots for …………………………………………………………………………….!
        BTW what does PPP tell us about China according to your stereotypes?

        • John Kinsella

          Perhaps the “markets” in Putin’s Russia are not as free to buy and sell as they wish.

          And of course, outside Moscow and St Petersburg Russians are poor and ill-informed.

          And therefore easily controlled (until mass mobilisation began at least).

          • Pigeon English

            Perhaps the “markets” in Putin’s Russia are not as free to buy and sell as they wish.
            Is that good or bad?

        • Baron

          Mr. Murray has the understanding of economics on par with a five year old attending a nursery, PE, for buying military gear, something that beefs up the country fighting potential it’s the aggregate GDP that matters (again to compare different countries it has to be adjusted for the price levels of the compared countries), GDP is the income of a country, of each and every physical and legal entity in that country, the State is one of such entities, the greater the aggregate GDP the bigger the State’s income.

          The Americans have so far furnished the Ukrainians with military hardware and software the size of which in dollars exceeds Russia’s annual defence budget, we will see what it will result in soon.

          If you want to understand why the West, which is really the US, the other countries just follow what they are told by the US Governing Elite, want to conquer Russia (China is next) google for the Wolfowitz doctrine from 1992, it says roughly the US can never again allow for an adversary such as was the former USSR to emerge, must do everything to prevent that happening.

      • Pigeon English

        Russia is 56 on GDP per person!
        Good to know that Lichtenstein Bermuda Macau Qatar Luxemburg and many other big economies are on top of the list!

      • Baron

        The “bollocks” is a measure followed by the people that know a thing or two about economics, Mr. Murray, what is nominal GDP anyway? What is it measured in? Carrots?

        What is bollocks is comparing countries GDP in US dollars, what you very likely mean by ‘nominal’, an excellent example is the latest fall in the sterling, a year ago one needed 1.35 dollars to buy one pound, today one needs only 1.10 dollars, that’s roughy a 20% decline.

        Are you saying that our “nominal” GDP sank 20% between last October and now? You need to brush up on things economic, but sadly you will not be able to do so with Baron’s support, he admires your guts but cannot accept your stubbornness on issues of fact that matter.

        And of course, GDP per capita matters, but again for international comparison it must be adjusted for the price levels of the countries compared, furthermore, countries with low PPP GDP per capita that grow strongly are those that boost the standard of living for their burghers rather than have it stagnant, for years Luxembourg has been at the top of the table (or near it), but so what? One would rather live in a country that creates wealth than one that spends it.

    • John Kinsella

      Perhaps the fact that the Russki Army (far from being the second biggest/best in the world) is in fact the second biggest/best in Ukraine supports the conjecture that the RA is riddled with corruption?

      • Pigeon English

        I can’t get connection with GDP V PPP in your comment.
        But I would like your opinion on why don’t NATO get involved in Ukraine.
        All numbers are in our favour. Budget 1000 Billions v 40 Billions.
        About 800 million people v 140 Million.
        For a good cause we went into Afghanistan Iraq Libya etc. but are not going
        into Ukraine. What is your explanation for abandoning our noble causes?
        We care more about Ukraine than all other countries I mention.
        It should be walk in the park!

        • John Kinsella

          @Pigeon Why do you say “we” for Nato?

          You don’t seem to be a fluent English speaker?

          I’m posting from Ireland where most people speak English.

          Where are you posting from?

          Is your home country (maybe not England or Scotland) a NATO member?

          • Pigeon English

            You did not answer the simple question !
            No I am not fluent in English writing but fairly good in understanding and speaking!
            Right now DUE to Brexit I am posting from Amsterdam.( I am not Dutch)
            My English should be much much better after so many years in UK but I wasn’t writing much.
            My home country is NATO member.
            Looking forward to the answer in my previous post.

          • Pigeon English

            You don’t seem to be a fluent English speaker?
            Well my name would imply that.
            You don’t seem to be fluent in logics

        • John Kinsella

          @Pigeon I admit that I find the thread structure on this site unclear at times.
          If you are asking me why NATO doesn’t get (directly) involved in Ukraine I expect the answer is that it would risk direct military confrontation with Russia with a consequential risk of nuclear war.

          Why do you ask when you must know the answer?

          • Pigeon English

            IMHO you make two contradictory statements:
            “Perhaps the fact that the Russki Army (far from being the second biggest/best in the world) is in fact the second biggest/best in Ukraine supports the conjecture that the RA is riddled with corruption?” means that Russian Army is crap and yet with numbers I mentioned you state this “that it would risk direct military confrontation with Russia with a consequential risk of nuclear war.” To me you seam like one of those guys that claim Apart from Nuclear weapon Russkies are shit. IMO any Army having nukes is not shit! You can not simultaneously have such contradictory positions. They are crap and weak but they have nukes so we are shit scared to engage!
            BTW I would suggest to you to read this resume about Ukraine.


            It’s not that long and explains most important issues that our media omits!
            It is called “Lying by omission.

  • John Kinsella

    You say that

    “IMO any Army having nukes is not shit”.

    I must disagree.

    The reductio ad absurdem is of course N Korea.

    The regime’s military do indeed possess nukes but the army is poorly armed and fed, largely because so much of the State’s resources have been expended on the development of a nuclear arsenal.

    • Pigeon English

      and your sources for those 2 claims are what?
      Again they might have nukes but they are shit but we don’t want to check it out.. If NK Army was so bad and starving it would be a walk in the park. Japan + South Korea and USA…

  • St Pogo

    Congratulations baby bears. I am extremely happy for the two Donbass countries in particular. Having followed what has happened in Ukraine very closely these last 9 years I can’t wait not to see the bodies of their civilians scattered over pavements due to Ukrainian strikes, shelling and assassinations, now also from NATO weapons.
    Only one country has made any effort for diplomacy, and for that my respect is for Putin. His speech yesterday was incredible and now the West will despise him all the more.
    My belief, as it has been, is that the West will continue to double down but that now Russia having shored up international support and stabled their economy will up the pain dial come winter, especially as Europe implodes.
    Craig’s view on Russia’s economy and military is puzzling from a man of his intellect. Is it that he hasn’t the knowledge or does his bias come into play?
    What happened in Samarkand, Craig’s old playground, shows where we are headed.

      • St Pogo

        Kadyrov probably said it most succinctly.
        However, that won’t change the end result and I would think that this is now the high water mark for the Ukrainians.

        More oblasts will eventually be added to Novorussiya.

        • John Kinsella

          Lyman the high water mark for the UA?

          Any basis for that?

          After the RA retreat/rout will new underwear be issued to the survivors?

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