SOE Wireless Station in England

Home station SOE Alan Malcher

British Homefront during WW2. Home Station was the name given to the wireless station in England which maintained contact with SOE agents throughout occupied Europe. Over 500 people, mainly women, worked at the station and these wireless operators were often the first to suspected there was something wrong: the agent under their charge was working under stress or their wireless set was being used by a German operator. Aware enemy forces were attempting to find their agents through direction finders these wireless operators ensured their agents did not stay too long on the air and did not ask them to repeat unreadable messages. No date (IWM)

Alan Malcher military historian

Leo Marks head of SOE Codes and Cyphers

marks

Left: Leo Marks (24 September 1920 to 15 January 2001) the head of SOE’s codes and cyphers based at Michael House Baker Street, London. Right: his adversary in the Netherlands Abwehr (German Military Intelligence) Lieutenant Colonel Herman Giskes who was responsible for the wireless deception resulting in many SOE agents from the Dutch Section and members of the resistance being captured and executed. People who new Marks said his brain was wired differently and could workout complex problems and it was Marks who discovered the Abwehr wireless deception alternatively called the ‘wireless game’ and ‘Englandspiel’ (England Game). (Photos IWM)

Further reading    Dutch Resistance 1941-43: SOE’s Greatest Disaster in occupied Europe – Alan Malcher

Alan Malcher military historian

Sergeant Hugo Bleicher of the Abwehr: responsible for crushing resistance in France.

Hugo Bleicher. Alan Malcher SOE

Hugo Bleicher was a sergeant with the Abwehr stationed in France. Despite his rank Bleicher was responsible for crushing resistance throughout France and due to his ruthless approach and high success rate was supported by senior officers in the Abwehr. SOE agents and members of the resistance who were tracked down and arrested by Bleicher were handed to the Gestapo and were tortured for information, eventually executed or sent to concentration camps.

Bleicher used the cover names Colonel Henri, Jean Verbeck and Jean Castel. After the war Bleicher insisted he was not aware the prisoners he handed to the Gestapo would be tortured and executed but Colonel Maurice Buckmaster who was the Commanding Officer of SOE’s French Section rejected this claim and accused him of being an arrogant upstart and a war criminal. Hugo Bleicher also gave evidence against former members of the Abwehr and until his death in 1982 Bleicher ran a tobacconist in Tettnang, Germany.  (Photo IWM)

Alan Malcher military historian

SOE wireless operator Suzanne Mertzien (sometimes spelt Mertisen).

Suzanne_Mertzizen

On the night of 6 April 1944 Mertizen was dropped by parachute with two other female agents (Marie-Louise Cloarec and Pierrette Louin). After landing in a field in the Limoges region of France the three women made their way to Paris.

On the night of 25 April, the women were arrested after being denounced by a collaborator and interrogated by the SD (Gestapo). In August the women were transported to Ravensbrûck concentration camp where they were shot, and their bodies incinerated sometime in 1945. Mertizen was posthumously awarded the Military Cross, Medal of the Resistance and the Chevalier of the Legion d’honour. Her name will be found on the Tempsford Memorial in Bedfordshire near former RAF Tempsford (138 Special Duty Squadron) which was responsible for parachute operation in occupied Europe. (I’m still researching the other women).

Special Operations Executive (SOE) agent Odette Churchill (nee Sansom)

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SOE agent Odette Sansom (she married Peter Churchill after the war) was a single mother with three young children in England when she was arrested by the Abwehr and eventually handed to the Gestapo. During their attempt to force her talk Sansom was repeatedly burnt on the back with a red-hot poker and each time she fainted from the pain was revived with buckets of cold water being thrown over her so the torture could continue. When burning failed to break her all her toenails were pulled out but Sansom still refused to give the Gestapo information about her wireless operator who was in hiding and after the war Sansom reluctantly admitted to a journalist she was willing to die rather than answer their questions. Sansom then survived the ill-treatment and horrors of Ravensbrûck Concentration camp and after the war was awarded the GC which she always insisted was not awarded to her personally but represented all those alive and dead, known and unknown who fought for the liberation of France.

Odette

The Kremlin False Narrative: the myth of fighting the Ukraine Nazi regime and its western supporters

putin

The number of Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine are known to be high, but figures vary considerably and one of several unconfirmed reports recently claimed, “So far, around 18,000 have been killed and over 30,000 wounded” and many images of destroyed armour, convoys and dead Russian soldiers support  many claims of high Russian losses, but whatever the true costs these continue to be kept from the Russian people.

Alleged war crimes now being investigated

The world continues to hear disturbing eye witness accounts supported by images of mass graves, civilians shot in the streets, mutilated bodies and other alleged war crimes committed by Russian troops which are currently  being investigated by international prosecutors. At the time of writing Russia has been suspended from the United Nations Human Rights Council and in response to this decision Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskpov, told journalists “Everything is blamed on Russia”  and like the Kremlin he and other Putin supporters reject evidence to the contrary.  The Kremlin also made the opaque statement, “they will defend their interests.” (BBC News 7 April 2022)

dead

After the introduction of draconian laws, the independent press in Russia was purged and replaced by journalists and news networks  loyal to the Kremlin and by design there is little access to non-Russian news services. According to recent reports from inside Russia Kremlin misinformation/disinformation continues to be a powerful tool for shaping Russian public opinion.

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Some researchers claim western sanctions and the invasion of Ukraine, which the Kremlin call de-Nazification, has been be used to great effect by the Kremlin news services and 83% of Russians approve of Vladimir Putin’s ‘Special Operations’ and seven in ten Russians have negative feelings towards NATO,  United Sates, European Union and others opposing Russian aggression.

The Kremlin’s success during their battle of perception continues to be based on narrative identity and the narrative of the nation by looking at the past to create motivation and justification for the present through constant reminders of the Soviet Union’s Great Patriotic War (WW2) against Nazi Germany and labelling Ukraine and its elected government as ‘Nazis’ can be seen as the most single most powerful element for unifying Russian national identity whilst using visual metaphors to deny everything including war crimes whilst blaming others.

According to various well placed commentators many Russians believe these war crimes are ‘false flags’ and part of a western conspiracy led by America and NATO during a continued proxy war against Russian and Dunbas was sold to America to allow their nuclear weapons to be aimed at Russia.

dis

According to Alexandre Baeva, Coordinator of the ECHR Program on Human Rights, Putin setup a media channel to encourage ‘good citizens’ to report ‘traitors’ and Russia is like 1939,  also according to Baeva “People are scared and informing on each other.”

Although Kremlin messaging appears to have resonated among normal Russian citizens indications suggest their information war is failing to influence a significant number of people living in western democratic countries and have increasingly began targeting Africa, south and southern Asia and this is supported by the number of trolls from these regions found on social media echoing Kremlin propaganda.

 

Pdf version for download 

 

 

 

Loyal Guards of the Soviet Border

(First published 24 April 2014)

Russian hard-line nationalists continue to blame the west, especially the USA, for the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 but realists understand this was entirely due to the corrupt and unworkable Soviet political system. Also, to the annoyance of many Russian nationalists the demise of the Soviet Union resulted in the independence of 15 former Soviet states and democratic elections in countries once dominated by the Soviet system further fuelled nationalist paranoia leading to a false narrative of Russia being deliberately humiliated by the United States and NATO which represent a serious threat to their nation, Russian culture and language. Although nothing could be further from the truth President Vladimir Putin continues to skilfully use these fears and uncertainties to further his own political ambitions and a return to a closed Soviet Society where the only ‘truth’ is from Kremlin propaganda.

Post-Soviet era: Resentment ‘historical justice’ and Putin’s Russian ‘inheritance’

Russia is a vast country with 11 time zones but is said to have the economic power of Spain which is appreciably lower than the United Kingdom and the EU and Russia’s economic decline continues to accelerate since the western nations-imposed sanctions in Response to Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Crimea, but the Kremlin is reported to be modernising its military forces.  

Under the leadership of Putin Russia has shown a continued commitment to increase its military capability: there are said to be a million men under arms, thousands of new tanks, a hundred new military satellites; the development of next-generation weapons and the planned modernisation of its navy, but because of Russia’s information war and Putin’s military posturing it is prudent to question their increased military capabilities whilst at the same time remaining cautious.  Apart from the continuous flow of Russian disinformation/misinformation few understand Putin’s true intentions.

 Former KGB officer, Vladimir Ussolzev, who worked alongside Putin at the notorious Stasi (Ministry of State Security) Headquarters in Dresden, then part of East Germany, described Putin as, “Pragmatic, someone who thinks one thing and says something else… Someone who was a complete conformist, who did not believe in any changes in his native country {Russia}…”   Ussolzev recalls that after he was being critical of conditions in the Soviet Union Putin replied, “Contain your criticism of the Soviet Union and think about your family”

Ussolzev also claimed, since Putin became President he quickly passed a large share of the Kremlin’s power to the intelligence services and Boris Nemstov, a member of the opposition party and a staunch critic of Putin said the Federal Council was responsible for all decisions regarding military action and the council did not approve the invasion of Crimea. Not only did Putin ignore the Russian Constitution, according to Nemstov, his unilateral decision was not challenged and added, the same can be said for Russian rearmament, modernisation and current restructuring of the armed forces, “Vladimir Putting only appears to be answerable to his trusted inner circle.”

Statements from several people said to have known Vladimir Putin describe him as having a fanatical belief in the ‘glorious past of the Soviet Union and Tsarist Russia’. Also, according to several commentators, for Putin and other extreme-nationalists these periods represents Russia’s powerful military force which dominated Eurasia, and a strong political leadership which played a major part in international relations. Putin firmly believes Eurasia, due to ‘historical rights’, is his sphere of influence. According to Eve Conant, “Putin’s view is that he protects what belongs to him and his predecessors… and Parts of Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltic States and Finland are states which Putin claims to have ownership”.

 Based on what Putin calls ‘historical justice’ and ‘historical rights’, in recent years his so-called inheritance has expanded and includes all countries formally under Tsarist Russia and the Soviet Union. There have also been claims Putin’s thinking is stuck in 1930’s Europe.

 Since coming to power in 1999 Putin has attempted to restore ‘Soviet greatness’ through various acts of political subterfuge and invading neighbouring countries which were once part of the Soviet system.  For Putin, Russia’s past along with its regional dominance is not a tool with which to create patriotism, it is a model he wishes to emulate in order to restore lost power and respect from the international community.

Military Expansionism and Custom Union

The Russian invasion of Crimea which Putin and his supporters claim is to “protect the Russian speaking minority” is not the first time Russia has invaded a former Soviet state. Following the demise of the Soviet Union Russian soldiers in the region of Transnistria in eastern Moldavia, declared their loyalty to Russia and remained to ‘protect’ the Russian speaking Moldavians. Russia now recognizes this regions’ independence. In 2008 Russia used the excuse ‘we need to protect Russian speaking people,’ to invade Georgia. After capturing southern Ossetia and Abkhazia, Russia declared them to be independent republics and troops are still in these Kremlin declared ‘republics.

 In September 2014 Bob Ainsworth, the former British Defence Secretary said, “Vladimir Putin is as dangerous as Stalin and is much more of a threat than ISIS…{Islamic State} No leader of a major power has behaved as overtly aggressive since Stalin in the post-war period, and sadly, Putin would be very pleased with the comparison”

After Putin publicly announced the demise of the Soviet Union was the greatest tragedy of the twentieth century and proclaimed the right to act on behalf of all Russian minorities living in other countries, Ainsworth compared Putin with Hitler and in 1938 Hitler made similar claims after seeding Sudetenland!

Putin’s belief in his right to act on behalf of all Russian minorities, restoring Russia’s ‘glorious’ Soviet and Tsarist past, and blaming the west for their demise are common themes in his extreme nationalist interpretation of history.

To address Russia’s ailing economy whilst at the same time restoring a degree of Russian prestige and dominance within their region of interest, in July 2010 Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan created a Custom Union. Putin was keen to include Armenia, Moldova and Ukraine. After Kyiv decided the far larger EU was more beneficial to their national interests and applied to join, the Custom Union was no longer a viable economic initiative. In response to this set back Putin used a common Soviet reaction to non-compliance – military aggression to force change.   

 In March 2014 Putting described the annexation of Crimea as correcting an ‘historical injustice’ and declared Russian compatriots, wherever they live in the former Soviet States as being part of a single Russian nation. This clearly suggests justification for other military incursions to ensure ‘protection’

Disinformation/misinformation, political coercion and threats of military aggression are throwbacks to the Cold War era.  Soviet style rhetoric has now been mixed with a modern narrative designed to promote tsarist terminology, the revival of Soviet symbolism and mythology. In Ukraine we also see the sponsorship of terrorism under the guise of separatist military formation as part of Russia’s proxy war against the legitimate government in Kyiv.

 Apart from Russia’s current military engagement in Ukraine we also see other Soviet Cold War Tactics including Kremlin instigated and coordinated conflicts in Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan; the use of Gazprom as a political tool and promoting the right to protect Russian speakers abroad and many other examples can be used to illustrate Russian aggressive expansionism.

Revisionist history

At the time of writing it is widely claimed the distortion of history is now compulsory reading for school children and textbooks reinforce Tsarist and Soviet beliefs that the intrinsic value of the state is more important than the individual which means the interests put forward by the Kremlin takes precedence over its citizens.

Putin’s beliefs of historic injustices, protecting the Russian speaking minorities in other countries which represent one nation; his resentment of the western nations and NATO who he continues to blame for the demise of the Soviet Union; and his continued attempts to turn the clock back to tsarist Russia and the mythical glories of the Soviet Union; provide the excuse for military aggression. Unfortunately, it appears these views are also shared by a large number of Russian nationalists.

Russian approach to silencing opposition

Among the most prominent figures alleged to have been assassinated include:

Boris Nemstov, a vocal critic of Putin, who was in the process of organising a protest march against the invasion of Crimea, was shot dead in Moscow, near the Kremlin. 

Anna Stepanovna Politkovskaya, a Russian journalist, writer, and human rights activist known for her opposition to the Second Chechen War and President Putin.

Alexander Litvinenko, assassinated in London to allegedly prevent him exposing Putin’s links to organised crime.

Ivan Ivanovich Safronov, a Russian journalist and columnist who covered military affairs for the daily newspaper Kommersant, died after falling from the fifth floor of his Moscow apartment building. His apartment was on the third floor!

The unpredictable and seemingly irrational Vladimir Putin, who takes every opportunity to remind the world of his nuclear arsenal should not be underestimated and his irrational belief in his ‘inheritance’ of former Soviet states and the need to address ‘historical injustices ‘can only be achieved through the use of subversion and military aggression. The main concern is that nobody knows how far Vladimir Putin will go to turn back the clock to Russia’s glorious past, or whether he truly believes he must honour his ‘inheritance’ by becoming one of the Loyal Guards of the Soviet Border.

Pdf version for download.

Russian Misinformation/Disinformation supporting the 2022 Russian Invasion of Ukraine

Alan Malcher rt3  

According to several press reports filed before the Russian government passed draconian laws to silence the free press in Russia, an estimated 14,000 war protesters mainly in Moscow and Saint Petersburg are said to have been arrested. The Kremlin’s false narrative directed towards the Russian people which manipulates prior cultural attitudes especially fatalism; the meaning of nationalism, patriotism and the promotion of a distorted view of Russian history are among the Kremlin’s concerted effort to convince Russian civilians the United States and the NATO alliance has hostile intent against the Russian Federation.

Alan Malcher Russian Propaganda   

Through state-controlled news networks the Russian people continue to be spoon- fed a diet of false news and so-called expert analysis to encourage the acceptance of an alternative reality based on the Kremlin’s own moral universe: the Russian people now live in a world which through the power of narrative is little more than a manipulative relationship between the oppressive Russian government and its people. By dominating the news cycle the Kremlin continues to create myth and reality at the same time which is framed by an agreed context within a cognitive environment by shaping public debate and influence without outside distractions (from the worlds media) and Putin hopes his strategy of deception supported by draconian laws to silence opposition will convince the people of Russia to support his desire to rebuild Russia on the Soviet model which can only be achieved through aggressive military expansionism.

To ensure state mews management is not challenged, all independent news networks in Russia have ceased to exist and any journalist questioning the official narrative or even describing the conflict in Ukraine as a ‘war’ or a Russian invasion could find themselves serving 15 years in prison. Independent journalism has been replaced with news networks and journalists loyal to Putin who are redirecting discussions by overtly simplifying phrases and arguments to support the illusion of Russian ‘special operations’ being a force of liberation against enemies of Russia.

Russia fighting to liberate the people of Ukraine from a Nazi Regime

If the Russian people had access to independent news and the evidence put forward by professional journalists, the International Red Cross, the United Nations, and various  non-government organisations they would be in no doubt this is a Russian invasion and most Ukrainian civilians including those of Russian speaking communities have taken up arms to defend their nation against what they call “Russian invaders” and “oppressors” from a tyrannical regime. The people of Ukraine are fighting to maintain their independence, democracy and freedom. Also, Putin’s so-called ‘liberation of the Donbas Region’ is no more than a continuation of the 2014 Russian invasion of the region which was replaced by their proxy war.

1372164611               Alan Malcher Ukraine6    Putin and his inner circle continue to claim the Russian army is fighting a “Nazi regime”, again,  if the Russian people had access to independent news and unbiased expert commentary many would be aware only the Kremlin and Russian forces can accurately be described as Nazis. The continued artillery and rocket bombardment of cities and towns filled with civilians, the bombardment of humanitarian corridors and other war crimes currently being investigated by the international community and the forced deportation of civilians to Russia is reminiscent of Nazi Germany during their invasion and occupation of large parts of Europe during the Second World War and the Russian ‘Z’ Symbol has been likened  to the Swastika used by the Third Reich.

z prop     z   

A freelance photojournalist put the ongoing Russian war crimes into perspective when he told Sky News (25 March 2022) about the smell of rotting corpses of civilians buried under the rubble of their homes, dogs eating body parts,  mass graves at the side of the road and Russian starvation tactics against besieged civilians.

Russian war dead

Although figures are impossible to verify, it has been claimed by various sources around 14,000 Russian soldiers may have been killed and these claims are supported by many images showing columns of destroyed Russian armour and convoys and dead Russian soldiers scattered around the countryside and streets of Ukraine.

Unlike the official Russian narrative this so-called ‘Special Operations’ is not a war of ‘liberation’: most Ukraine civilians including many from Russian speaking communities continue to show defiance against what they call the ‘invaders’ and are fighting Russian forces throughout Ukraine.

Kremlin Narrative: Russia under threat and the shifting of blame

False statements from the Putin regime claiming Russia has been threatened by Ukraine which is controlled by the United States and NATO is not only false but has a striking similarity to lies put forward by Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi politician and Reich Minister for propaganda, during World War Two.

It is important for Russian readers to understand Vladimir Putin is responsible for an unprovoked attack against Ukraine and though NATO and other democratic nations support the Ukraine Resistance by supplying defensive weapons and many Russian citizens continue to suffer from economic sanctions enforced by most of the international community, it needs to be emphasised the Kremlin narrative is false: this is not aggression towards the people of Russia by NATO, EU, the United States or the democratic countries which are not part of the NATO alliance, as already stated, this is a reaction to Putin’s unprovoked attack against Ukraine and to prevent Putin reconstituting the former Soviet Empire which threatens eastern Europe and beyond. NATO has sent troops, sophisticated weapons and equipment to eastern Europe to prevent further Russian aggression and there should be no doubt that an attack against a NATO member would swiftly result in the destruction of the Russian military.

Nuclear blackmail

nuclear 2   

After Putin threatened nuclear war, the Russian people should be left with no doubt a nuclear attack against a NATO member would immediately be met by a massive response from NATO’s three nuclear powers: United States, Britain and France. This fact raises an important question: is Putin bluffing or is he crazy enough to start a chain reaction which would ensure all life on earth is destroyed by making the Cold war expression ‘mutually assured destruction’ (Mad) a reality?

Important Advice to Russian readers

I frequently remove the number of Russian viewers from the daily web statistics and suggest anyone living in Russia access this blog via social media. Furthermore, please don’t press the like button or make comments as this could reveal your location and identity.

 

Further reading: Sky News, BBC International News, Aljazeera news, CNN, France 24, Russia Today (RT), Moscow Times, NATO press releases, United Nations, comments from members of the International Red Cross.

Pdf version for download

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: a summary dated 20 March 2022

Putin Russia

The following summary for March 2022 is based on reports from professional journalists in Ukraine and informed comments from a number of recognised military and security experts.

Russia has one of the largest militaries in the world and for 45 years (1946 to 1991) the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact were locked in a tense conflict with the NATO countries during a Cold War consisting of an aggressive arms race and several Soviet proxy wars across the world. These 45 years have also been informally described as a period of ‘Violent Peace’  and ‘War in Peace’.

cold war

During this period of instability and dangerous uncertainty the Soviet Union dominated eastern Europe and the Cold War was a conflict between east and west but after the fall of the Soviet Union on 25 December 1991 when the Soviet hammer and sickle flag was lowered for the last time over the Kremlin and replaced by the Russian tricolour, nine years later, under the increasing influence and later leadership of Vladimir Putin, who was a former KGB career officer not a professional politician, we increasingly witnessed the gradual transformation of the long conflict between east and west becoming a conflict between the world’s liberal democracies and totalitarian states and a loose alignment of ‘convenience’ between Russia, China, North Korea and other oppressive regimes.

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2014 Russian invasion of Crimea.

We should not lose sight of the fact Putin’s war against Ukraine started in 2014 after his unprovoked invasion of Crimea which developed into a proxy war comparable with the Soviet playbook of the Cold War period along with false justifications in the form of misinformation for Russia’s continued aggression against an independent and democratic sovereign state.

Russia Victory Day

Over a period of 45 years the west became accustomed to Soviet military posturing: large military parades to project an image of military might, the false narrative of superior Soviet military arms and technology, but after Russia invaded Ukraine again on 24 February 2022 the world suddenly became aware Russian conventional military might was an elaborate illusion.  Some military commentators suggest Putin’s threat to use nuclear weapons if ‘outsiders’ intervened was possibly an indication Putin is aware NATO is capable of a swift military victory against his forces.

Map-Soviet-Union-countries

This map of the former Soviet Union which many believe Putin is obsessed with reconstituting illustrates why many eastern European counties including NATO members are alarmed at Russian aggression.

Misguided Assumptions

According to several commentators specialising in Russian affairs Vladimir Putin is trapped in a closed world of his own making: he is obsessed with his goal to reconstitute the Russian Empire, he believes  the Russian Empire was  destroyed by the United States, and as Professor Michel Clark pointed out on Sky News (22 (March), only last week Putin was telling Russians ”NATO was planning a war against Russia. NATO intends a holocaust of Russia. That is why we are in Ukraine.” Putin’s misguided assumptions, his resentment of the USA and NATO, his willingness to commit blatant war crimes and his threat to use nuclear weapons should be a serious cause for concern.

Putin also greatly underestimated Ukraine’s military capability and the resolve of the civilian population to protect their land and democracy and  early during his invasion it also became apparent he  grossly overestimated Russia as a conventional military power. For instance, a Ukraine military commander recently commented that “Russian tactics are like when Germany invaded France in 1941”.  Although France was invaded in 1940 his comparison is clear and because Putin is a former KGB career officer some commentators also say Putin is a victim of his own propaganda.

Crimea

Ukraine’s military capabilities have greatly increased since 2014

Unlike the unprovoked Russian invasion of Crimea in 2004 Putin and his Chiefs-of-staff wrongly assumed their special forces could once again play an important role in helping deliver a quick and decisive blow and a western intelligence officer told the BBC that Russia thought it could deploy lighter spearhead units like Spetsnaz and VDU Paratroopers “to eliminate a small number of  defenders and that would be it.”

 

brit2brit train

It also appears Russia was unaware the Ukrainian forces they would confront were far more formidable than  those they faced in 2014: since Russia’s relatively easy invasion in 2014 the Ukraine military has received extensive training from the British and American army and is equipped with an assortment of western weapons which would not look out of place in a NATO armoury.

russian tank  tank ru2

Since the invasion Russian forces have consistently displayed bad leadership; the Russian army has been using outdated tactics and senior commanders have been unable to coordinate their forces and pass orders due to poor communications.  After failing to seize airfields Russia has been forced to transport supplies mostly by road and this has created traffic jams and choke points which are easy targets for Ukraine forces to ambush or destroy by UAV’s.

According to BBC Defence Correspondent James Beale (19 March 2022) Russia massed a force of around 190,000 troops for the invasion and most of these have already been committed to battle but have lost about 10% of that force. Though there are no reliable figures, according to Beale Ukraine claim to have killed 14,000 Russian troop and  western officials also say there is evidence of dwindling morale among Russian troops with one saying it was “Very, very low”.  Another said Russian troops were “cold, tired, and hungry” as they had already been waiting in the snow for weeks in Belarus and Russia before they were given orders to invade (Beale).

These claims are supported by the fact Russia has already been forced to look for foreign troops and mercenaries to make up for the numbers lost and this approach has been described as “Russia scratching the bottom of the bucket  of desperation.”

convoy      convoy5

Failed Logistics

Logistics are both essential and the Achilles heel of a military formation and as we continue to see armoured columns and lorries are running out of fuel and food, ammunition, other essential stores are failing to reach the front line;  vehicles including tanks are being abandoned after breaking down and being towed away by Ukrainian farmers using tractors. It is also believed that due to the breakdown of logistics Russia is running low on some munitions and it has been estimated Russia has fired between 850 to 900 long-range precision munitions including cruise missiles and the US believe Russia has approached China for munitions. In stark contrast there continues to be a steady flow of western weapons and equipment  for the Ukraine Army.

War Crimes- deliberate bombardment of towns and cities

Russia still has sufficient firepower to deliberately bombard cities, towns and other civilian targets.  The current Russian bombardment of Mariupol which has been   called “an act or terror”  by Ukraine officials and the international community; the deliberate bombardment of humanitarian corridors, residential areas, hospitals, schools, food warehouses and the forced deportation of Ukraine civilians to Russia can only be regarded as a strategy of desperation and the forced deportation as a component  of the Kremlin’s information war which  is little more an than unconvincing attempt to create the illusion of a war of liberation rather than the true reason which is Russian expansionism.

Inside Russia and the Kremlin information war.

WAr protest Russia                                        ruinfo3

 Anti-war protest in Russia

The Russian information war against the international community is farcical at best but still has resonance among a minority of people the former KGB and now the FSB call ‘Useful Idiots’.  Eye witness accounts, the international media and forensic evidence proves without doubt Russian war crimes continue to be committed and the main casualties are women and children. Apart from the increasing number of civilian deaths, several towns and cities have no water, heating, electricity, food, medical supplies and other essentials to sustain life but the Kremlin propaganda machine denies this is the case.  It is interesting to note most of Russia’s misinformation has recently been directed towards Africa, south east and south Asia which might indicate Putin’s strategic objectives.

In an attempt to prevent the Russian public discovering the truth Putin passed draconian laws: it is now illegal to call the conflict in Ukraine a war or an invasion, anyone questioning Kremlin accounts can be sent to prison for 15 years and Russia’s independent news networks has been replaced by state media networks controlled by the Kremlin.  Despite the Kremlin going to great lengths to hide the truth news continues to be received through social media and an estimated 14,000 (numbers vary according to sources) anti-war protesters are said to have been arrested.

The Number of Russian war dead not being reported in Russia and bodies secretly being cremated to hide numbers

There have been several accounts of bodies of dead Russian soldiers not being repatriated to ensure the number of casualties don’t become public knowledge. According to Sarah Newey, (The Telegraph 19 March 2022) more than 2,500 dead Russian soldiers were secretly taken to mortuaries in Belarus and a doctor described terribly disfigured soldiers and said the morgues were overflowing.  According to another newspaper, after there was no room in the mortuaries other bodes were secretly burnt.  These accounts support a comment made by a Ukraine army commander who told Sky News? (it may have been the BBC) that after 12 Russian soldiers were killed their commander was told there bodies could be collected but the Russian commander said “he could keep them because they were of no use to him.”