“On Assignment with Richard Engel: Ukraine’s Secret Resistance”

Comment: This is a great report on two resistance cells in occupied Kherson. It’s not clear how closely these two cells worked with Ukrainian Intelligence or Special Operations units. It appears that any official control or guidance was loose at best. They appear to have formed spontaneously rather than through any deliberate plan. This documentary also does a good job of showing the toll that resistance work takes on its participants, whether they are successful or not.

The first cell is a good mix of three people who knew and trusted each other long before the occupation. The encrypted communications must mean some kind of initial intel or spec ops guidance and/or support, but the one member’s forays into assassination is a horrible move for an intel collection cell. No intel or spec ops controller would have let that develop. That cell was lucky, effective but lucky to come out of it alive. The second cell was too large and composed of many people who did not appear to know each other. It broke all the rules of security and cellular structure. It’s little wonder they got rolled up.

My guess is that Richard Engel’s team was never able to contact any government organized resistance cells. Any trained professional running those cells would never allow that. Between controlled resistance networks and these spontaneous cells, the Russian certainly have their hands full in the occupied territories. As the Ukrainian counteroffensive nears, the resistance will become even more active. It will be an integral part of the counteroffensive. That is how the doctrine of national resistance is supposed to work.


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30 Responses to “On Assignment with Richard Engel: Ukraine’s Secret Resistance”

  1. Babeltuap says:

    Announcing you are absolutely going to conduct a major offensive soon is normally not a good course of military action. On the other hand, it’s not like they can hide it with today’s technology so likely of little consequence.

    I did hear Zelensy is not sending any more Soldiers to Bakhmut but that may be due to the roads being compromised making it impossible to enter without some serious chop.

  2. Fourth and Long says:

    Imagine if this 1500 kg bomb hit an apartment building or shopping mall. Sickening to even contemplate.

    Russian Aircraft Accidentally Bombs Own City
    A Russian Sukhoi-34 fighter-jet has accidentally bombed the Russian city of Belgorod, around 40km (25 miles) from the border with Ukraine.
    The bomb left a 20m (60ft) crater and caused an explosion so large it blew a car on to the roof of a nearby shop.
    Regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said authorities had ordered the evacuation of a damaged nine-storey block of flats as a precaution.
    Three people were injured and several buildings were damaged, he said.

    • TTG says:


      It was most likely meant for a Ukrainian apartment building. It’s a common target for Russian air attacks.

      • Fourth and Long says:

        I’ll chalk it up to it having been Hitler’s birthday. Ditto for Elonovich’s big firecracker. Of course there are sick jokes including those saying this is a softening-up psychological preparation for the Kremlin being bombed by accident. Ooops.

      • Fourth and Long says:

        An update. Does FAB-500 indicate 500 kgs? (Last paragraph). Answer: yes
        They evacuated 3,000 people temporarily while removing “ammunition.” So if something else which didn’t explode fell with the bomb which exploded, then there was another sort of malfunction other than whatever we initially thought it might be. It’s unclear to me from this translation if this thing that was removed was an FAB-500 or if the one that exploded on the 20th was or both were. Also in this context of the rumored counteroffensive, I thought the Ru glide bombs were for battering the dug-in fortifications and certainly not for apartments. This update makes it look like a serious malfunction and not a bomb which was in the process of being dropped offensively having gotten away too soon. More than 50 kms before any conceivable target makes no sense.
        The ammunition found in the Belgorod region was taken out of the residential sector.
        Ammunition that fell in the Belgorod region was taken out of the residential sector for liquidation.
        The ammunition found near Shalandin Street in Belgorod was taken out of the residential sector, said the head of the region Vyacheslav Gladkov.

        In his Telegram channel, the governor assured that the shell had been removed from the territory of the residential sector, emergency services have already begun to gradually return to their apartments.

        According to the head of the regional department of the Ministry of Emergency Situations Sergei Potapov, a regional emergency regime has been introduced in the region.

        He also said that, according to experts, ammunition is not explosive, TASS reports.

        Earlier it was reported that evacuation of 3 thousand people began in the Belgorod region due to the detection of an explosive object. Later it became known that the facility discovered by sappers in Belgorod is an aviation ammunition of the FAB-500.

  3. English Outsider says:

    How much resistance there’ll be in Eastern Ukraine is so for undetermined. A fair bit, by the looks of it. In the most heavily policed area in Europe, Northern Ireland, it’s not been possible to eliminate all such activity even now. But there’ll certainly be plenty of resistance in Western Ukraine.

    There are two questions that have bothered me since early last year. They are questions about what will happen when the Ukrainian war is over.

    First of all though, what does one mean by “over”.

    Two views on what “over” means. Two views on how this war will end. One is that the Ukrainians will recover the Donbass and maybe Crimea. That would certainly lead to the demise of the Putin administration and possibly the breakup of the RF.

    I’ve been out on a limb since early last year in dismissing that view. NATO does not have the military force in place and at this time to defeat Russia. Nor will the sanctions break Russia even were it possible to ramp up those sanctions by enforcing secondary sanctions. To me that’s always been so obvious it’s scarcely worth discussing.

    The other view is that the Russians will end up with a conclusive military victory and will emerge unscathed from the sanctions.

    It now looks to me as if they’ll do better than that and will take the opportunity offered by the sanctions to revitalise their economy. I don’t know much about Russian internal administration and politics but it looks as if the RF still has serious problems of maladministration and corruption deriving from their period of near disintegration in the ’90’s; there are certainly plenty of Russians hoping to use this time of crisis to address those problems too.

    But forget such speculation and focus on the essential element of that second view: that the Russians will end up with a conclusive military victory. Is that the end of it?

    Of course not. Those two questions that have been bothering me for a year now still remain. Will the Russians return to their late 2021 security demands? How will the Russians solve the problem of remnant Ukraine?

    On the first question I cannot see the current crop of European politicians ending up with any usable version of Macron’s “New European Security Architecture”. Not only are the European politicians too committed to their current anti-Russia policy, the European electorates, particularly the Northern European electorates, are now also so committed. We all, or most of us, loathe the Russians now so any meaningful rapprochement is out of reach.

    So unless there’s some unexpected political change we in Europe will be devoting our energy and resources to the Scholz/Stoltenberg vision of heavily manned “rapid response forces” along our eastern frontier and to all that goes with that. And Shoigu will be matching that with his heavily armed units – eleven, I think, have been announced for far – along his western front.

    And both we and the Russians will be devoting a larger share of our national resources to weapons manufacture. Or, since we Europeans don’t seem to be in the first rank in that field, we’ll relying on the Americans for weapons that can cope with Russian weapons. Probably also relying on the Americans for military expertise and organisational skills, and maybe manpower: as both Blair and more recently Trump remarked, we Europeans have become used to that and such habits aren’t easy to change in a hurry.

    That’s the first question answered. Will the Russians get anywhere with their 2021 security demands? No, barring unlikely political change in Europe, so the rest follows.

    The second question is not answered as easily. What happens to remnant Ukraine, the part of the country that will be left when the Russians have absorbed whatever they’re going to absorb of the Kharkov – Odessa arc? In particular, what happens in Western Ukraine?

    Forget about “denazification”. For most living in that part of Ukraine Bandera is the national hero and the Nazis eighty years ago liberators.

    That’s how it is. You could knock down the monuments erected to the heroes of that period. Change the street names that honour those heroes. Ban the torchlight marches and the Biletsky summer camps. You still wouldn’t change the people. Leave remnant Ukraine a sovereign entity and you have a country the national identity of which centres around hatred of the Russian Untermensch. And the people of which are as courageous and determined as any fighting force on the planet as many Russian fighters, albeit with grudging admiration, have testified..

    Also a country that the West will be supplying with longer and longer range weapons. Scholz has recently confirmed that Europe will supply weapons long term to Ukraine. Recent articles in the American establishment press have indicated the same. We may have supply problems in giving the Ukrainians what they want now. But long term, we’ll be remedying that just as fast and as much as we can.

    We can already see future Western policy shaping up. Kiev will be defeated militarily. That’s now becoming accepted. It’ll lose such territory as the Russians choose to take – that’ll be no loss since that territory contains in the main pro-Russians. But it will likely retain a portion of the country and we shall continue to supply that portion with weapons and assistance.

    How will the Russians cope with that? Occupy and they could certainly prevent further attacks from remnant Ukraine. But occupation would require more troops than they have so far mobilised. If would need great sums of money just to keep the economy going. Remnant Ukraine would become “Russia’s Afghanistan”, to use the term used freely at the start of the SMO.

    Don’t occupy remnant Ukraine and we have the mixture as before. A fiercely anti -Russian country on the borders of Russia with the weapons and assistance from the West that would enable the continuation of active hostilities. Not what the Russians would care to end up with.

    So that second question is going to have to be answered somehow. What happens with Remnant Ukraine? We can only wait to see what answer the Russians have to that question. I can’t see one.

    I saw Sleboda just recently mulling over that same question. The question that’s been there since the start of the SMO. Sleboda’s very much on the other side of the fence. You merely need look at his lapel to see that. He’s well-informed and a heavyweight but even so, I can see no answer to that second question coming from him.


    Set to around 1hr 14. It’s the next few minutes that caught my attention. Sleboda dismisses the significance, at least in the short term, of the recent change of orientation in some countries previously in the Western camp. He then goes on to predict a long and vicious struggle even after Ukrainian military defeat. “A zone of destabilisation and insecurity for the rest of our lives.”

    So that’s quite a puzzle Washington/Berlin have set Russia, the puzzle of remnant Ukraine. We wait to see how the Russians set about solving it; or whether they can.

    • TTG says:


      There is already a lot of resistance activity in the supposedly Russian areas of occupied Ukraine. There’s even resistance activity in Crimea with Tatar resistance cells. As long as Russian troops and security personnel act like occupiers and pillagers, that resistance will continue. Only if Russia starts plowing an inordinate amount of resources into the development of those occupied lands will the resistance subside or at least stop growing. With the war going on, I don’t see that happening even if the Kremlin thought it was a good idea. Rather, Russia’s heavy handed action over the last year plus, have caused them to lose support among a large swath of the Russian speaking population of eastern Ukraine.

      Why do you think Russia will collapse if they lose Crimea and the Donbas? Russia will still be 100% intact. If they do lose Sevastopol, they have Novorossiysk. Putin may not survive, but Russia will. Most of the West actually fears a collapse of Russia just like they fear a collapse of the Saudi Royals. What comes after either collapse could be far worse.

      I do agree that the Russian economy may come out of this war better than when it started. The war exposed the deep corruption and deception that hollowed out their military. If that is cleaned up they will restore the self-sufficiency that the USSR once enjoyed. They have a long way to go to catch up with Western machine tools and chip making. Even China is suffering from a loss of access to high end Western chips. But all that can be overcome with time.

    • Fourth and Long says:

      I think Politico is fronting for a nuclear armed intermarium – Baltic down to Black & Aegean seas – bordering Russia. Below the dashed line is a pasted machine translation of an article this morning in an online Ural mountains region newspaper. I think the UK and US but the UK especially remember WW2 and that it was those countries – Poland etc down to Yugoslavia but also Belarus and Ukraine and not their own that were devastated, and figure why not another go at it? It’s presented in this superficially fair, tit for tat manner, but it’s a very dirty underhanded business. And stupid, and being promoted by creeps.
      The US predicted the creation of nuclear weapons throughout Europe.
      Politico: European countries will move to nuclear weapons
      The build-up of the nuclear capabilities of Russia and China, as well as the possible desire of the United States for isolationism in the future, will force European countries to create their own nuclear weapons everywhere. The American edition of Politico writes about it.
      China’s active nuclear program and the growth of Russia’s nuclear superiority over Europe, as well as the decline in global confidence in the U.S. nuclear umbrella, which can disappear at any time, will push European countries to develop national solutions in the field of nuclear weapons,” the publication reports. They added that all this would lead to the end of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and further loss of control over nuclear weapons.
      At the moment, nuclear weapons in Europe are owned exclusively by France and Great Britain. Earlier, China called Finland’s accession to NATO a possible future catalyst for Russia’s own nuclear weapons. Forecaster Ksenia Gubina announced the possibility of using nuclear weapons by some countries in 2023, Dni.ru reports.

      • TTG says:


        If anything is pushing Eastern Europe towards obtaining nuclear weapons it’s the steady drumbeat of threats to use nuclear weapons coming out of the Kremlin. I could definitely see Poland seriously thinking about it, though I do think it would be a bad move. Permanently stationing US nuclear weapons in Poland would also be a bad move.

    • Billy Roche says:

      E.O. you raise a super important point of how Russian secty “demands” will be met at the end of the Russo/Ukr War. I am more concerned about the secty “demands” of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. How will they be safe from another Russian “SMO”?

  4. English Outsider says:

    TTG – the picture I’m getting from the liberated areas and from the old self-declared Republics is one of relief. Relief that the people there no longer have to fear the excesses of such as Aidar or Azov. The people of the Donbass are no longer prepared to live under Kiev rule. They were, not long ago. No longer. After the last eight years one can scarcely blame them.

    So there are two very different pictures here. There’s the picture that we in the West are given: a homogenous Ukrainian nation fiercely determined to repel the Russian invader.

    And the picture I’ve seen since 2014. The eastern half of the Ukraine fiercely determined to protect themselves from the forces sent in by Kiev from 2014 on to subdue them and occupy their land.

    That second picture vividly represented by an old video of Givi shouting at some Right Sector soldiers who had been captured in the fighting. “Why are you here. What are you doing on our land”, he was shouting. I don’t believe most of us in the West understand that for the people of the Donbass this is a war of liberation for them too. Liberation from Kiev.

    Those two pictures are irreconcilable.

    On whether the Putin administration would fall if it conceded what is now Russian territory, I do believe it would. Putin is blamed by many Russians for not having done more to protect the Russian element in the Donbass in 2014. If he failed to protect them now he’d be out. He is the most moderate in an increasingly hawkish Russian administration and the hawks would have him out in no time if he back-pedalled now.

    I doubt he wants to back-pedal anyway. Not now Russia has survived the worst the West can throw at it. Why fold on a winning hand?

    On industrial production, Martyanov was insistent that Russian industry was much more advanced and very much more extensive than we in the West believed a year or so back. He turned out to be right and we’re now seeing the Russians filling in the gaps in their industrial capacity and becoming even more self-sufficient. On consumer goods, we’re also seeing them turning more and more to trade with non-European countries.

    For their sake I hope they don’t take that too far, that dependence on foreign made goods. As we discovered during the Brexit fiasco, no country that lacks the ability to produce the goods it needs for itself can really be safe from the political control of countries that do have the ability to produce those goods. One way of looking at this conflict is that it has removed the Russian dependence on European made goods. Those supply chains are now broken or at the least indirect. I doubt the Russians will be in any hurry to mend them.

    And is living off one’s own such a bad idea? I think you’d be lot more secure in the States if you returned to producing for yourselves what you need, rather than being dependent on far-flung supply chains. That applies even more to us in the UK.

    • TTG says:


      The picture you are getting is many years out of date of a time when Pravy Sektor and their allies were at the height of their power in Kyiv and their militias had outsized influence on the battlefield. That’s not the case now. The far right has less power in Kyiv and in Ukrainian Armed Forces than in many European countries. Kherson was supposedly a Russian city. The inhabitants, other than the quislings, cheered in the streets when the Russians were driven out, not when they invaded.

    • Billy Roche says:

      Wonerfull, wonerfull, as Liberace used to say. Russia will be free of Western demands, products, energy customers, and influence. After the Mongol occupation, and Peter’s quest for a two continent empire, Russia became a “schizo” land. Is it an eastern or western Empire? Russia’s rape of Ukraine reminds it’s Baltic and Slavic neighbors that their sovereignty lies in keeping Russia out of eastern Europe. “Vlady’s Great Ukrainian Adventure” thereby pushes Russia to its east where it can become best friends w/Persia and China. How oriental. Is that what Caucasian, Europeans in St Petersburg, Moscow, Archangel, Ekaterinasburg, and Novosibirsk want? I have in-laws in St. Petersburg. I can tell you they believe they’re European. The purpose of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was to begin the restoration of the European part of its Empire. W/a conquered, but smoldering, Ukraine Putin will not achieve that. Nations don’t have friends but interests and memories. How has Russia treated Persians, Chinese, Koreans, and central Asians over the past three hundred years? They will remember. Putin needs to be exceedingly careful. He may get much more than he intended.

    • cobo says:


      Your statement, “Not now Russia has survived the worst the West can throw at it.” undermines the basis for your entire argument. The collective West has dragged its feet while emptying the barn for equipment to send to Ukraine. I openly criticize the Western decision makers for not providing robust layers of air defense long before Russia started bombing Ukraine’s cities and civilian infrastructure. The too often repeated mantra that Ukraine couldn’t support modern warfare systems is proven pathetic.

      By the powers that drove this war from both sides, Russia was expected to win. I will remind again that Klaus Schwab was Puteen’s personal handler since his days driving a cab in St. Petersburg (I’ve posted links proving that too many times). China and Russia are the model for the Great Reset societies. Russia was meant to put its former colonies back under its yoke. China is working on expanding its area of control. Watch that your own political class isn’t working to bring about an agenda that is of no benefit to the people of your country. Look beyond the vacuous political charade.

      Now that Russia is proving incapable of winning its war with Ukraine, and I hope the Ukrainians bury the notion of Imperial Russia forever, all stops are being pulled out to derail this fact. As I’ve said before, the Ukrainians will become NATO’s trainers, and the Eastern Europeans will become its leadership. Hang on then, baby.

      • English Outsider says:

        Cobo – You reprobate the notion that “Ukraine couldn’t support modern warfare systems.”

        So do I. Of course they could! It’s not for nothing that Zaluzhnyi is said to have the writings of Surovikin in his office. But in the eight years we had to train them up we never gave them much if anything in the way of “modern warfare systems”. Nor trained them in their use.

        We’ve knowingly plunged our proxies into a war for which they we knew they would be outmatched. What they’ve got is enough to “bleed the Russians”, though at immense cost to themselves. It was never going to be enough to defeat them.

        Nor are the Ukrainians themselves fools. They knew that as well. They would not have entered into this war, and they certainly would not still be fighting it after Istanbul, had they not believed that when it got serious NATO would come in in support.

        What has Zelensky been doing since the SMO started? Frantically touring the capitals of the West to get more support from NATO. Sacrificing whole armies in the hope that NATO would see how desperately they were fighting and come in to back them up.

        NATO hasn’t, for all the fiery talk from such as Stoltenberg and Borrell. We’re now seeing both Washington and Berlin/Brussels backing off. Getting ready to hang the Ukrainians out to dry.

        I could never have hoped for Kiev to win, given that I know what the consequences of that would have been for the Donbass. But set that aside. Forget about the neo-Nazis and all the rest of it. What we have done with those Ukrainians constitutes the most shameful betrayal of our proxies; and the most shameful use we could have made of the people of Ukraine.

        I can only repeat those words from General Lord Richards, uttered soon after the start of the SMO.

        Speaking, I believe, from a purely military perspective, he identified what we’d done wrong in Syria and warned us we were making the same mistake in Ukraine:-

        “But what we’ve then ended up doing is stoking the (Syrian) war by feeding in weapons and resources and some advice, but never giving our proxies the means of winning it; and I thought at the time that that was morally questionable because it would result in a huge number of deaths; which is exactly what happened.”

        “We’ve got to be very careful that with our current approach to Ukraine, we don’t end up with the same result.”

        We have.

        • TTG says:


          We and NATO never intended to create a Ukrainian military that could take the fight to the Russians. It was to be a purely defensive force built on the principles of total national defense, the same principles now guiding the development of the Baltic forces. Obviously, the Ukrainians proved far more competent and capable than we expected. At the same time, the Russians proved far less competent and capable than we expected. For the last year, we’ve been hesitant about a competent, capable and now angry Ukrainian military in fear of goading Putin into doing something truly rash. I think we should drop that fear, arm Ukraine with what they need to repel the invader and make it clear that we have no real desire to see the breakup of Russia or the fall of Putin. We should fear what might come next if that happens.

        • Billy Roche says:

          E.O.; A few “simple truths”.
          1. Ukraine is not now/yet a rump state. America armed Ukraine so she may defend herself against Russian colonial invasion.
          2. NATO d/n invade Russia. Ukraine d/n invade Russia. Russia invaded Ukraine.
          3. The SMO is a lie name for invasion.
          4. Ukraine is just as entitled to considerations for her secty as Russia. Other states are too.
          5. The Baltics have done Russia no harm but Russia threatens them, Moldova, and Finland/Sweden (if they don’t mind their mouth).
          6. Every previous European SSR and Russian “satellite” opted away from Russian fielty. No one made them (including Finland and Sweden) ask into NATO.
          7. The aggressor is Russia, but like Ostriches we tuck into the sand and refuse to see what’s obvious. Russia hopes to restore her empire at the expense of the national liberty of her Baltic and Slavic neighbors.
          “Simple Truths” is a song still sung in America round Thanksgiving. Let’s keep these 7 simple truths in mind.

        • cobo says:


          “reprobate” – great word to use. We agree on a lot. I make the point that this war was planned and that both sides had a role to play to further some grander agenda. I realized that through war, things aren’t easily controlled, and that there was going to be something here unleashed that wasn’t expected and couldn’t be contained.

          I learned this through my art and spoke of it as, “the jaguar has climbed down the tree of life from heaven and sits at the heart of this conflict.” I also see the heart of the lion (jaguar, tiger, leopard) in the Ukrainian. Here is the specific piece: https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=474353290749986&set=a.133316594853659

          Of course, it is defined in context by the flow of the story, which I tell in a collage that spans many years and many surfaces.

          • English Outsider says:

            Good Lord that’s powerful, that piece. Sums up so much. And I noted its date. Also this:-

            ” I realized that through war, things aren’t easily controlled, and that there was going to be something here unleashed that wasn’t expected and couldn’t be contained.”

          • cobo says:

            I appreciate your comment EO, thank you!

        • English Outsider says:

          Gerasimov, not Surovikin. Apologies.

  5. Jake says:

    Or it was a glide-bomb, which the Russians are using with great success, but the wing never unfolded? And no, the Russians do not bomb apartment buildings, unless they are used by soldiers as elevated firing positions, or as improvised barracks. The Russians are not lowering themselves to the level common in the Second World War, with indiscriminate attacks on population centers, using incendiary bombs, or napalm as we remember well from the days of Vietnam, because of this World Press Photo, with this naked Vietnamese girl escaping from the flames. Yet they are perfectly happy to do a ‘Faluja’, if they have to. But did you see these pictures from cities they conquered? With the tram operating again in Mariupol, en industry, roads and housing rebuilt in Serverodonetsk? I know you don’t want me to point these things out, since they identify me as a ‘Russian Troll’, but I’m merely observing, and looking for answers. It was why I came to this place originally, to find knowledgeable people who would point me in the correct direction, even if they themselves lacked the necessary information. I don’t *know* that it was a malfunctioning glide-bomb, but that does sound like a reasonable explanation from a professional military point of view. Do you disagree?

    • TTG says:


      Yes it does appear to be a malfunctioning glide bomb or pilot incompetence. These things happen. But to deny that Russians have a long history of striking Ukrainian apartment buildings far from the front lines requires an astounding level of ignorance or self-deceit. For a small sampling, apartment buildings were hit in Odesa, Zaporizhzhia, Dnipro, Kyiv and Kharkiv resulting in multiple civilian casualties. Not as bad as Bucha, but not much better. Russian behavior in this war is not much better than the jihadi head choppers of ISIS. In fact, they have engaged in head chopping and have taken the videos to prove it.

  6. Poppa Rollo says:

    It is the voluntary actions of the people that define a nation. If an active resistance develops in the Donbass then Russia has already lost. It is being treated as the corpse of the Communist USSR that it is. A land of corruption and intimidation, not freedom. There were no patriotic Russians joining the military and conscription has never been effective.

  7. English Outsider says:

    TTG – on atrocities, yes. The ultra-nationalists detest the Russians living in Ukraine and as far as the LDNR forces go that is returned with interest. They hate each others’ guts. We saw in Northern Ireland the most vicious atrocities committed by both sides – the stories are told and retold even today on the blogs over there – and Ukraine is Northern Ireland cubed. I have thought from early on that there are going to be many atrocity stories coming out of this war and it’s a dead cert there’ll be more most of us don’t hear of.

    On the demolition of civilian building the picture seems to have altered slightly. In Mariupol the big fortress-like apartment blocks, or single apartments within those blocks, were occupied by Azov as strong points or sniper vantage points and the civilians sometimes kept in the basements and shot if they tried to escape. That gave the fighting more of the character of a hostage release operation much as we saw when the Jihadis used the same technique in East Aleppo.

    It seems to be different now. The civilians seem often to have been got out of the way and I think we’re now seeing in, say, Vuhledar, the straight demolition of apartment buildings used as fortifications. That done not by tanks shooting at individual sniper nests in an apartment building but by the heavy glide bombs launched from aircraft a little distance away. Has to be “seems”. I don’t go on Telegram much and don’t much trust what I read there anyway on military tactics.

    Bucha? Looks like atrocity theatre to me much on the lines we saw the Jihadis use in Syria. Recently I saw an ultra-nationalist on Ukrainian TV stating they’d learned a lot from ISIS. I reckon they might have done. Given that retaining Western public support is the key element of Kiev strategy in this war, and remembering the Denisova episode, I shall take most of those stories with a pinch of salt until there’s a proper investigation.

    On the attacking of gun emplacements or Ukrainian military facilities sited within civilian areas or using civilian buildings as cover – I don’t know the answer. No answer was found in Normandy or in Raqqa and none is found here. How does one attack military installations in civilians areas, or facilities necessary to civilian life as well as to military activity? I don’t believe an answer to that question will ever be found even with precision munitions.

    But it’s the question of where this war is going that I found particularly relevant in that section of the Sleboda interview. Sleboda, if I read him right, is dismissive of the Hurrah Patriots. There is, he reckons, no conclusive ending to this story possible. I latched on to that Sleboda interview because he at least is discussing the questions I’ve been finding relevant since the start of this SMO. Will the Europeans respond to those 2021 security demands? What will happen in remnant Ukraine? I find no discussion on those points in England and little in Germany. Yet for us in Europe those are the questions that will determine our future.

    • TTG says:


      The destruction in Mariupol, Severodonetsk, Soledar, Bakhmut, Vuhledar and other frontline cities is to be expected. Active fighting in those cities between two artillery-centric foes will do that. Buildings used as fighting positions are legitimate targets. Much the same thing happened in Aleppo. There was a lot of uproar over Russia’s bombing of Aleppo, but it was a scene of constant, hard fighting for years. Of course there was destruction.

      But the frequent targeting of apartment buildings in cities far from the fighting, usually by missiles and Iranian drones, is something totally different. It’s criminal, but certainly not something uniquely Russian. The terror bombing of London, fire bombing of Dresden and Tokyo among others set the precedent for that strategy. If anything, the Russians are half-assed and incompetent in their terror bombing campaign, just like they couldn’t complete the job of destroying the Ukrainian energy grid or rail network. Thank God for that half-assed incompetence. Without it, there would be a lot more dead and maimed civilians.

      The massacre of Bucha is no longer a question. A UN appointed investigation, an Amnesty international investigation and others have amassed evidence of Russian atrocities. And Bucha is not a one off. Russia denies it, much like they denied the Katyn Massacre. Although I can’t discuss it, I know the exact circumstances surrounding Gorbachev’s admission of Soviet culpability at Katyn. But it is a very interesting and dramatic story.

      I like that Sleboda interview as well. I always liked Sleboda. He’s a Russophile for obvious reasons, but he’s also a more even-handed realist than many others on both sides of the divide.

      • English Outsider says:

        Well, this is one hell of a split, TTG, on the Ukrainian war – but not in Europe! There, I doubt there are many who would agree that Russia is in the right.

        There are plenty who don’t agree this is an effective way to combat Russia. Alex Vershinin from RUSI, General Kujat and other German generals, General Lord Richards whom I’ve quoted above. It’s fair to say that they are some of the many who think this war is unlikely to be taken to a successful conclusion simply because of the current inadequacies in NATO military arrangements. Kujat, for example, states that the condition of our defences is such that the Russians could walk into the Baltics tomorrow, if they chose, and nothing much to stop them.

        But it would be quite unfair to say that those who believe NATO is too weak to prosecute this war successfully also believe the Russians are in the right and we in the wrong. As far as I know there are no significant figures in Europe stating that.

        In the major European power centre, Germany, there are now plenty getting cold feet. They fear the damaging economic consequences of this conflict, true. They are even now attempting to mitigate those consequences.

        But that’s pusillanimity, not principle. Those who predict recession or even economic disaster for Germany as a result of this conflict are not saying we in the West are fighting an unjust war. They’re saying they’re not prepared to make enough in the way of sacrifice to win it.

        On a personal or anecdotal level I find much the same. A young relative who gets around a lot tells me that my view, that this war is only a neocon scam along the lines of WMD or the “moderate rebels” in Syria, would be received with incredulity amongst all he knows. In Germany I wouldn’t even mention that view. My circle there is so dead set against the Russians there’d be no point in doing so.

        And a lot of point in not doing so of course. Among the politically engaged or interested in Germany passions run high on this subject. Whether that’s a result of what Pilger calls the most intense information war ever seen, or whether there’s an underlying strain of Russophobia that this war has brought out, is irrelevant. As far as I can see opinion is set in stone and will not change. Scholz and Borrell in the right, if clumsy or inexpert. Putin in the wrong.

        If I’m correct about the state of public opinion in Europe generally, then, the two questions put above answer themselves.

        1. Remnant Ukraine will stay a “zone of destabilisation and insecurity” as Sleboda predicts – we shall continue to arm and assist it and the Russians will continue to attempt to restrain it.

        2. There will be no genuine rapprochement between Europe and Russia – we’re in for Cold War II, or as much of it as we can afford.

        In the process Europe will become more of an economic backwater. No big deal. We were going that way anyway, war or no war.

        • Billy Roche says:

          E.O. U R Rite! We’re in for Cold War II, but we can’t blame it on Ukraine for wanting to be free men and women. We can blame it on Putin (and Russians in gen’l?) for conquering Slavic and Baltic untermensch in order to make Russians feel superior. Look to see Slavs and Balts unite in some sort of East European Treaty Organization (EETO?). It will present a tough row to hoe for Russian imperialists. Or Balts/Slavs can roll over supine to the Russian. I don’t see that happening. I don’t think you understand the revulsion eastern Europeans have to the idea of another 100 years of kissing Russian dupa.

          • English Outsider says:

            Bill – if the Balts and Eastern Europeans need better defence, or even think they need better defence, that’s their prerogative. I believe the UK needs better defence so why criticise the Poles, say, for wanting the same? It’s not our business to tell them what they need or should have.

            But as said before, I don’t think this war is the way to do it.

            It’s what happens after the war that I believe needs thought now. As said above, “we can already see future Western policy shaping up. Kiev will be defeated militarily. That’s now becoming accepted. It’ll lose such territory as the Russians choose to take – that’ll be no loss since that territory contains in the main pro-Russians. But it will likely retain a portion of the country and we shall continue to supply that portion with weapons and assistance.”

            I read the neocon press in an attempt to divine what the Western governments are proposing to do. Here, I think, is further confirmation that we’re hoping to continue using remnant Ukraine as a means of “bleeding the Russians” after the war is over:-


            “Wallace claimed, disingenuously, that Kyiv, not its allies, would decide when to start talks. The opposite is more likely true. Britain remains more hawkish than most. But tangible pressure to move towards negotiations is building in other quarters, even as EU diplomats and Nato’s Ukraine contact group discuss additional sanctions and military aid this weekend.”

            So I think that’s the future the West is planning. The Ukrainians are going to have to accept the loss of some of the old Ukraine. We shall then, as Sleboda predicts. continue to arm and support remnant Ukraine indefinitely. It’ll be as Sleboda says, ““A zone of destabilisation and insecurity for the rest of our lives.”

            Unless the Russians have some as yet unguessed at plan for avoiding that.

          • Billy Roche says:

            E.O. Here’s a wild idea for turning a region of instability into peace; Russia renounces any further conquest of Ukrainian territory and any further intimidation of Balts, Finns, and Slavs. Laslov goes to the UN Gen’l Ass. and says so to the world. He declares Russia has killed the Ukrainian Nazis, made safe Russian speakers in the Donbass/Crimea, and all Russian forces are placed in unbreakable defensive positions along that new line of the Russian Federation. Putin is a hero of the Russian Republic. Russia won’t do that. Subordination of Ukraine is insufficient. Putin, and I think Russians (at least those Slavic Russians in the western half of the country), want a restored empire. That means.. well you know as well as I. The elephant in the room is this. Western Europeans are willing to give away Eastern European independence if the Bear will just leave them alone. It seems I must remind; Russia is the aggressor/invader. The war is not about Russian security but empire; simple truths.

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