Putin’s Invasion of Ukraine: An Historical Perspective of European Resistance and the dangers now facing the Russian military. (WARNING – VERIFIED, GRAPHIC War IMAGES FROM UKRAINE USED TO ILLUSTRATE THIS ARTICLE)

Some of the following videos from Ukraine contain patriotic music and comments which are not edited – this would be censorship and in light of the ongoing Kremlin false narrative the people of Ukraine have a right to express their views.  

According to viewer statistics this blog is also visited by people living in Russia, consequently, if this blog suffers a cyber-attack it is likely associated with the Kremlin’s news blackout throughout Russia recently reported by the ‘independent’ international press.     

Ukraine 2022 containing images not dissimilar to the Nazi invasion and occupation of Europe (1939-1945)

I use the expression Putin’s war because many Russian citizens have little knowledge of the War in Ukraine due to news censorship by the Kremlin which has been replaced by a patriotic version and false justification for the illegal invasion of an independent nation with a democratic government.  

The Kremlin narrative is from the Soviet play book consisting of false claims of fighting Nazis, the liberation of the people of Ukraine from a Nazi regime and the use of ambiguous expressions such as ‘Special Operations’ and ‘Peace keeping’ in an attempt to mask the fact Putin ordered an unprovoked attack against an independent and peaceful country. The Soviet narrative being used by Putin also attempts to draw attention away from continued war crimes by the Russian military which is being investigated by the United Nations for the International Criminal Court in the Hague. From what we know of the Soviet doctrine of propaganda and various Kremlin statements during the Russian involvement in Syria we are likely to see Putin and his inner circle attempting to convince Russian citizens America and NATO are the aggressors whilst blaming these war crimes on Ukraine, America and NATO. Despite irrefutable evidence to the contrary Putin and his supporters are likely to peddle the lie that evidence given to the International Criminal Court and the subsequent investigation is western propaganda orchestrated by the United States.  

Despite Putin insisting the Russian Army is liberating the people of Ukraine many videos of civilians protesting against Russian troops whilst shouting, ‘Go home’ and ‘Ukraine is our country not yours,” clearly shows Ukraine has been invaded and the troops have no support from the civilian population.    

Maternity hospital after a deliberate Russian bombardment (photo)     

We also see Russian misinformation/disinformation is outdated and unable to compete with the digital community where news, but more importantly the truth, appears on personal computers, tablets and mobile phones across the globe within seconds and what appears on the internet can’t be deleted and a basic internet search can reveal conflicting stories and blatant lies from various Kremlin officials. A recent example is the Kremlin statement that a pregnant woman rescued from a maternity hospital after a deliberate Russian missile attack “was wearing makeup and was an actress being used for propaganda.” The fact this image was seen across the world and photographic software to examine images is commonly available showed the incompetence of the Kremlin propaganda machine and within seconds this claim was dismissed as another Kremlin lie.  

Russian Losses

Unlike previous wars the digital revolution also allows anyone with an internet connection to know the realities of day-to-day life in Ukraine and the Kremlin stopped claiming continued military success after Ukrainian soldiers and civilians used their mobile phones to upload images of dead Russian soldiers, destroyed armour, convoys and Russian prisoners of war.   

We also see the word ‘Nazi’ used by Putin and his inner circle to describe the Ukraine Army and its government is seldom used after images supported by eye witness accounts show the word is more fitting to describe the tactics and war crimes being committed by the Russian Army. In fact, the destruction of cities and war crimes which continue to be documented are no different to the barbaric tactics used by Nazi Germany during their invasion and eventual occupation of many European countries during the early stages of WW2.       

Day one of the invasion Russian helicopter shot down by a Stinger missiles

Russian aircraft shot down by Ukrainian air defence system

Attacks against Civilian targets

Unexploded bomb in a residential area


Ukraine Resistance 

Ukraine officials continue to say the “war against the invaders is a war of Resistance”.  It has to be pointed out Resistance is not simply a war waged by civilians against occupying forces through the use of guerrilla warfare and the war of resistance developed during the Second World War goes beyond what is commonly called guerrilla tactics, it is multi-layered, coordinated; has a coherent strategy for a protracted war and is designed to destroy and disrupt all essential elements of the occupying forces,  all of which is undoubtedly within the capability of Ukraine but a full description is beyond the scope of this article.  

Over a nine- year period the Soviet Army lost an estimated 15,000 soldiers and around 35,000 were wounded. According to unverified reports Russian deaths in Ukraine may quickly be more than the number of Soviet casualties in Afghanistan against the Mujahideen which unlike resistance movements only used guerrilla warfare and often lacked coordination with other factions and numerous warlords.

As several commentators have remarked, a war of resistance could last many years and the history of various underground resistance movements throughout occupied Europe during the Second World War shows a trained resistance movement which has sufficient external and internal support; is coordinated and has a coherent strategy due to its underground nature is more difficult to defeat than most military formations.

As we continue to see, the Russian military is far from being as formidable as once thought and possibly through frustration continue to commit war crimes and as we also see from history similar crimes, reprisals, acts of terror and intimidation intended to prevent opposition to occupying forces greatly fan the flames of national resistance of both a passive and aggressive nature which complement each other to create a potent force.  

Image taken before children were evacuated from Ukraine

Women and children being evacuated from Ukraine  

At the time of writing able bodied men between the age of 18 and 60 are remaining in Ukraine to fight whilst their wives, children and grandchildren are being evacuated to other countries and the hatred towards Russia by children old enough to understand what is happening in their country is not only apparent history shows if close  family members are killed their deaths are likely to create the next generation of resistance fighters bent on revenge.    

Putin insists Ukraine is part of Russia and quotes history to support his argument, but on 9 October 1989 without warning the Berlin Wall, a symbol of Soviet Communist Rule which divided Eastern and western Europe came down, and the people of Ukraine, like other countries previously controlled by the Politburo of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union based in Moscow eventually experienced freedom and democracy. On 24 February 2022 Russian began their unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, an independent sovereign country, and was immediately faced by Ukrainian men and women from all sections of society, of all ages and of all religions fighting to preserve the independence of the Ukrainian people based on freedom and democracy which the Ukraine authorities correctly describe as a war of resistance.

The invasion of Ukraine also has much wider implications: Putin’s unprovoked military aggression has become a wakeup call for other eastern European countries who are now concerned Putin is attempting to reconstitute the Soviet Empire which crumbled with the Berlin Wall in 1989.     

Author: Alan Malcher

Military historian and defence commentator

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