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.

Crimiea 2

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.


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.


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.”

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.     

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Messaging from the Ukraine Government.

Ukraine: An historical perspective.

The messaging coming from Ukraine has powerful resonance in parts of Europe. The constant use of the word ‘resistance’ and expressions such as a ‘people’s war’ and a ‘war fought by the people’ goes back to the European resistance against Nazi occupation. In the case of Ukraine, it acts as a reminder this is not simply a war between two armies: like those who resisted subjugation and German occupation during WW2, we currently see Ukrainian civilians who were once shop keepers, farmers, office workers and from a multitude of other non-military employment also fighting to preserve their freedom and democracy.   

Ukraine 2022

Another historical connection are the war crimes and Russian attacks against civilian targets which are currently being investigated and continue to be reported by the ‘free’ press.  Also, like Germany during WW2 the Russian government controls all news entering the country but according to press reports Russia is slowly losing their information war as an increasing number of citizens turn to social media to learn the truth.

Resistance in Ukraine: Putin’s dangerous miscalculation

Originally published on LinkedIn after being attacked by Russian Trolls

This short article was encouraged by several questions I continue to be asked in my posts and by those aware of my interest and knowledge of WW2 Resistance. I, like many, have been attacked by Russian trolls but although inevitable I was surprised they continue to use the same script from 2014 which shows a distinct lack of messaging strategy and the trolls are also showing a distinct lack of trade craft skills, but that’s another subject.

Russian Trolls


Trolls from The Internet Research Bureau/Agency at 55 Savushkina Street, Saint Petersburg, Russia, also known as ‘Glavset’, are once again active on multiple social media platforms but their approach is farcical rather than effective: unlike the people of Russia who only receive selective news from the outside world whilst being subjected to Kremlin propaganda the western democratic nations allow access to world news and the people are left to make their own judgment about news, images and analysis of events.

A common mistake made by the Russian Trolls is claiming images are fake but not providing evidence support their claim. For instance, one Troll told me one of my images was fake and his evidence was from a reserve image search but disappeared after I asked what analysing software he used to reach that conclusion. The same troll then blocked me and I assume they were frustrated because I forced them off script. Many who used this platform in 2014 would have experienced this crude attempt to influence international public opinion.

Putin’s nuclear threat

Some have said Putin would never use nuclear weapons and is bluffing; its has also been suggested Putin was referring to battle field nuclear warheads in short range rockets and artillery shells against Ukraine-the fact is nobody knowns his intentions or state of mind and from events in Syria and now in Ukraine we see Putin has no concerns when it comes to the destruction of civilian targets and the humanitarian crises which follows.

Russian casualties


According to Ukraine authorities 6,000 Russian soldiers have been killed but trolls say this is fake and my reply to them is nobody knows the real figures because they can’t be verified, and this is the same during most conflicts. However, after seeing recent videos and still images from Ukraine showing burning armour, lorries, other equipment and large numbers of dead Russian soldiers I agree with commentators who claim Putin not only greatly underestimated the capability of the Ukraine military he also failed to realise Ukraine would be using western equipment that is far more advanced than Russian armaments.

Resistance by civilians


A common statement from the troll factory in Saint Petersburg is Ukraine will soon be defeated. In response I say don’t be so sure: Putin already grossly underestimated the capabilities of the Ukraine military and now civilians have been armed, like the resistance movements during WW2; if they are trained, coordinated and have a coherent strategy, Resistance movement are capable of a protracted war whilst inflicting heavy casualties.


Consequently, occupation does not mean defeat: Russian forces and their administration would always be vulnerable to clandestines and guerrilla fighters and any attempt to stem resistance through terror and war crimes, like during WW2, is likely to fan the flames of resistance whilst increasing international support for a Ukraine Resistance fighting for freedom and democracy.

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Another lesson Putin failed to learn from history is the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Nine years after their invasion the Soviet Army retreated whilst under fire and and estimated 14,455 Soviet soldiers had been killed and around 60,000 wounded during their attempted occupation.

Also, the history of WW2 resistance went far beyond the guerrilla tactics used to defeat the Soviets in Afghanistan and included political and subversive warfare; sabotage of facilities, infrastructures and mechanisms needed by occupying forces to remain in control of the country and I would not be surprised if this was well within the capabilities of the Ukraine Resistance.

Putin’s Russia

I believe it is also important to stress the invasion of Ukraine has nothing to do with the Russian people, they along with the young conscripts being sent to Ukraine are also victims of the repressive Putin regime.

Pdf version for download

The Russian Invasion of Ukraine 25 February 2022.

WARNING – graphic war images

The following content is from Ukraine citizens and members of their military after Russia invaded Ukraine on 25 February 2022.

PLEASE NOTE – some of the following content is from regions of Ukraine with little or no western news coverage and I welcome the input from independent journalists and OSINT professionals who can verify the content.

Despite Russian claims of an early military success and the positive news being fed to Russian civilians the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues to be far more costly.

Image said to show a Russian helicopter being shot down by a Stinger missile

Events fast forwarded- fighting in different areas of Ukraine