“US training small number of Ukrainians on Switchblade drones” – TTG

WASHINGTON, April 6 (Reuters) – A small number of Ukrainians have been trained in the United States on how to operate killer “Switchblade” drones, single-use weapons that fly into their targets and detonate on impact, a senior U.S. defense official disclosed on Wednesday.

The Ukrainians undergoing training on the Switchblades and other weaponry number less than a dozen. They had arrived in the United States for regular military education programs prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24. “We took advantage of the opportunity to pull them aside for a couple of days and provide them some training, particularly on the Switchblades UAV,” the senior U.S. defense official told reporters, speaking on condition of anonymity. “UAV” refers to an unmanned aerial vehicle.

The United States withdrew its military advisers from Ukraine ahead of Russia’s invasion, seeking to avoid a direct military confrontation between U.S. and Russian forces that could escalate into a broader war. As a result of the withdrawal, the United States and NATO have largely constrained their provision of weaponry to Ukraine to systems that Ukrainian forces knew how to operate prior to Russia’s invasion. That includes U.S. weapons that have given Ukraine an edge against Russian forces, like Javelin anti-tank missiles and portable Stinger surface-to-air missiles that can target Russian aircraft. It also includes Soviet-era systems that are still in the inventories of some NATO nations.

But Switchblades, which are relatively easy-to-use and could be highly effective in attacking Russian ground forces, had not been part of training packages prior to Russia’s invasion. The drones are made by AeroVironment Inc(AVAV.O). The drones, which have a range of 40 km (25 miles), can be used against vehicles including trucks, tanks and armored personnel carriers.

In recent testimony, the assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, Celeste Wallander, said the United States had committed to sending Ukraine 100 Switchblade systems. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Tuesday that the Pentagon is sending Ukraine two variants of the Switchblade, including one with an anti-armor warhead. “The Switchblade 600 and 300 will move as quickly as they possibly can,” Austin told the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee. Ukrainians are expected to quickly use the first 100 systems sent.


Comment: A hundred systems and a dozen trained operators doesn’t sound like much, but each system consists of ten drones and those dozen trained Ukrainian operators will quickly train more. Plus there are already a lot of drone operators in the Ukrainian forces. I’m pretty sure those twelve being trained were trained in the tactical employment of the Switchblade in addition to just learning how to operate it. We employed over 4,000 in Afghanistan so I’m sure there are lessons learned.

The Switchblade is said to be easy to operate. I’m sure it’s easier than the old wire-guided Dragon and TOW. I trained on the Dragon and it was a bear to use. You had to keep the crosshairs on the target through the entire flight while on your knees only a thousand meters from your target. If your aim caused the missile to make too many corrections, the maneuvering rockets would quickly be exhausted and you would lose control of the missile. But for light infantry tank hunter-killer teams, that was the best we had. The Javelin is a fire and forget system with a way better range than the old Dragon. You also don’t have to worry about the back blast when using it in an urban environment. The Ukrainian Stugna-P is fired remotely. The operator can stay under cover and control the missile with a video screen and joystick. One even took out a Russian attack helicopter a few days ago. Come to think of it, a Stugna-P operator could probably transition to the Switchblade quickly.

All these man portable ATGMs and systems like the Switchblade makes light infantry and lightly wheeled infantry a potent force on any battlefield. If we keep up the flow of these weapons, the Ukrainians just may be able to attrit the Russians into submission.






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42 Responses to “US training small number of Ukrainians on Switchblade drones” – TTG

  1. jim ticehurst says:

    Thanks TTG
    You are putting out Interesting Material…And Thanks for Keeping Things Going Here For The Good. Col..Hope he is Recovering Daily..

    I Am Constantly Amazed At the Rapid Upgrades and R and D,,,of every thing..I Have The Original Pong Game..And Remember Old Tube Systems..And Factory Size Ares just For Od Computers..I Am Impressed With How Well All Our Systems Work..in All Arenas..Especially Well in Ukraine..from All The Debris We See..
    Keep up The Good Work…

  2. Ernst wang says:

    Hunter Biden’s computer tells a great story…. Enjoy the inevitable boomerangs….

  3. Fred says:

    “We employed over 4,000 in Afghanistan so I’m sure there are lessons learned.”

    Remind me again about our victory in Afghanistan. Did we attrit the Taliban into submission after our ten, sorry, twenty, years of war there? Is the government now friendly to the US? Did the Russians or Ukrainians learn anything from observing that war?

    “The United States withdrew its military advisers from Ukraine ahead of Russia’s invasion, seeking to avoid a direct military confrontation between U.S. and Russian forces that could escalate into a broader war. ”

    “Mr. Anonymous”, who sure gets quoted in the news a lot on a whole lot of subjects, seems to have left out that by making all this very very public it doesn’t look like we are trying to avoid direct military confrontation at all. What’s the likely Russian response, other than submission?

    • Rodney says:

      Furthermore, since the NSA probably had a good read on Putin’s plan, it certainly explains Biden’s quick pullout of Afghanistan. Cuz ya know, we certainly can’t very successfully accuse and scold Russia in the MSM of aggression and occupation while still in Afghanistan for 20 years, right?

  4. English Outsider says:

    TTG – I made a serious mistake when mentioning casualties from the shelling across the line of control recently and should correct. More realistic figures are given here –


    That’s apparently from a Swiss Intelligence officer giving an account as he sees it of what led up to the war.

    On the Switchblade, that and other weaponry supplied by us in the West to the Ukrainians will undoubtedly lead to a prolongation and intensification of hostilities. I don’t think we should be doing that. It’ll get more Russians killed, and presumably will lead to very many more Ukrainian casualties, without affecting the ultimate outcome of the war.

    It’s on a par with Zelensky issuing weapons to civilian combatants. I saw a video recently of a Ukrainian housewife gingerly holding a powerful looking gun she was being shown how to use. What happens if a soldier comes across that housewife pointing the gun at him? Civilians unused to and untrained for real combat stand little chance in those circumstances. Nor will civilians nearby who might be quite unaware they’re suddenly in a combat zone. The toll of civilian casualties will rise and that with little effect on the outcome.

    So here. We’re arming and training our proxies knowing that all that will lead to is more casualties. This is the central falsity of our position in this war. If we want to take the Russians on we should do so directly. Not by means of proxies when we know that however courageous and determined they are, those proxies cannot win and therefore should not be so used by us.

    The aim now is to turn Ukraine into Russia’s Afghanistan. A long and messy guerrilla war the fighting of which will wear the Russians down. Maybe, but we don’t consider the consequences for our proxies, the consequences for the Ukrainians themselves.

    Don’t we do this always? Stir up mayhem in far away countries, knowing that whatever happens to our proxies we ourselves sit safe at home?

    • Mike G says:

      “Zelensky issuing weapons to civilian combatants. I saw a video recently of a Ukrainian housewife gingerly holding a powerful looking gun she was being shown how to use.”
      Yes. “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed”. Second Amendment, US Constitution. I supose an Englishman would be shocked – the British constituion (which does not exist) does not guarrantee the right of citizens to bear arms in the defenbce of their country.

    • TTG says:


      What will lead to a prolongation and intensification of hostilities is Russia’s continuance of her invasion and occupation. Only Russia can turn this into another Afghanistan. We, in the West, cannot force Russia to remain on Ukrainian soil.

      It doesn’t appear that you are a fan of self-defense, national or personal. Do you think it was wrong for Britain to resist Nazi Germany? Or for the US to supply arms to Britain and eventually come to Britain’s aid militarily? How about the French resistance? A lot of them started out as untrained civilians. I view resistance differently. Many of my family resisted Russian/Soviet occupation violently. Some, like my great grandmother, were untrained civilians. She still proudly shot the Bolsheviki. Some died and some were deported to Siberia. I prefer a policy of national resistance and would like to see all nations adopt that policy. It would be far preferable to military adventurism. I think a whole world of Switzerlands would be grand.

      In the meantime, I’m glad that we are in a position to assist Ukraine’s national defense against an aggressive Russian invasion. For that matter, I’m also glad Russia was in a position to assist Syria in her life or death struggle against the jihadis. There is still a need for rough men.

      • English Outsider says:

        TTG – agree so much on the world of Switzerlands. If only my own country had gone that way over the last few years. As it is we’ve neglected our defence shamefully, whilst posturing as the war leader of a Europe that does not, I believe, find our posturing that impressive.

        On the present conflict, I don’t believe the USA would have stood idly by during the cold war if Canada had looked like joining the Warsaw Pact. Nor if the Warsaw Pact had already been training Canadians and arming them to the teeth. Nor if missiles that could be nuclear might be based in Canada just a short distance from Washington and the Canadians had said they would be.

        Especially not if the Warsaw pact had orchestrated regime change in Ottowa that had led to a Canadian government fiercely hostile to the USA.

        Certainly not if great numbers of pro-USA Canadians living just across the border were regarded by the new Canadian government as sub-human and only fit to be expelled or killed. I believe Washington would have had something to say about that.

        That is precisely the position in the Ukraine pre-February 21st. Except that the current RF is nowhere near as powerful and invulnerable as was the USA during the cold war.

        We had seven years to implement Minsk 2. Instead we condoned its violation and encouraged Kyiv to violate it more.
        The best of a powerful Ukrainian army was poised on the line of control ready to go in to the old LDNR. Had they done so we would certainly have seen a repeat of 2014/2015, but this time with the pro-Russians of the old LDNR very much more at the mercy of a Kyiv government and backed by NATO.

        The Swiss IO referred to above sets all that out clearly – or with several important omissions but clearly enough – and I do not believe you would controvert that account. It is difficult to see what else the Russians could have done in these circumstances given that both the EU and NATO had no intention of seeing Minsk 2 implemented.

        The most shameful aspect of the affair, shameful whether one believes the Russians are justified or not, is that we encouraged our proxies to provoke this war knowing that we ourselves had no intention of backing them enough to give them a hope of winning it. That is what Zelensky is now saying loud and clear and I believe he is right.

        Now we are encouraging our proxies to prolong a fight they cannot win merely to wear down the Russians. We should not use our proxies so. We should either have backed them up properly or left it alone.

        Minsk 2 would have worked. It would have kept the Ukraine intact bar the Crimea. It would have left all in an incomparably better position. The failure of Minsk 2 is directly attributable to the EU/NATO. This was a war caused by the EU/NATO and the best we can now do is to salvage what can be salvaged, not to encourage our proxies to fight an unwinnable guerrilla war.

        Thank you for allowing me to put a contrarian view. My respect for you, always high, has been increased over the last few days. I do so wish I could agree with your position. There’s just one thing.

        When I’m ill I don’t like being asked how I am. My affair, I think, and I’ll get over it my own way without being fussed with enquiries. But I don’t have about me a bunch of devoted pilgrims wondering anxiously how things are going.

        Don’t want to make intrusive enquiries, but is the Colonel coming along OK?

        • TTG says:


          To your most important question, yes, Colonel Lang is coming along nicely. When he returns, he may very well be in better shape than he was before. I’m sure he appreciates everyone’s concern and well wishes.

        • Richard Ong says:

          I think you are wasting your breath here.

          The Russians made an unprovoked attack on Ukraine and it’s just the first step toward re-establishing communism and the Warsaw Pact boundaries. End of story.

          • English Outsider says:

            Communism? Trump’s recipe will do for me. “Bring industry back home. Also the troops. Adequate defence. Drain the swamp.” You won’t get that with communism any more than you’ll get it with rule by the cronies.

            How we get to the Trump recipe I don’t know. But it’ll be difficult enough to get to it without fussing about how other countries might or might not screw up as well.

            On the fear that Russia will try to occupy half Europe, the old Warsaw Pact countries are safe enough if they can get over their knee-jerk Russophobia. It’d take an army bigger than Russia’s got to hold them down and they’ve not got viable economies. Why would Russia go to the trouble of occupying them just to have to feed and heat them for free?

            Well, I suppose because they might have nukes on their soil pointing at Moscow close range. That’s for them and Moscow to sort out. I doubt it’ll be sorted out by Moscow putting itself in the position where it has to provide their food and energy for them.

            But one can argue about all that indefinitely. What’s not arguable is that the losers we’re landed with to run our respective countries have got us onto a sanctions escalator to hell.

            Doesn’t matter so much to you in the States. You have the resources of a continent to fall back on if it comes to it. But Europe, particularly Germany, the European power house, is not in that happy position. Why add to our existing economic woes? Merely because our politicians have taken it into their heads to back a bunch of neo-nazis? Beats me.

    • d74 says:

      EO, you have a point here.
      There is more.

      I’ve already written about the Stingers: They are light, easy to camouflage, fairly easy to use, just like a video game for Switchblade 300.
      It will be a nightmare for us in the West, if these weapons end up in the hands of terrorists or criminal gangs.

      I can easily imagine the PKK getting them to shoot down Turkish helicopters or tanks.
      They already did it once (shooting down a Turkish helicopter) with a manpad, origin unknown.

    • Razor says:

      Any reason why Russia shouldn’t supply proxies in Syria and Iraq with weapons to attack US forces with? Wouldn’t that be a logical response for them, and how many US casualties would TTG accept in this scenario as being a good trade?

      I read that article EO linked to written by a retired senior Swiss intelligence officer, and he tells a very different story from what the mainstream media is telling us, never mind the contribution of Professor John Mearsheimer.

      • TTG says:


        Russia already tried to attack US forces in Syria through their Wagner Group proxies. The Wagner Group got their asses handed to them.

        • Razor says:

          TTG, I’m not referring to a conventional attack in force as happened with the Wagner assisted force. What I implied was one off ambush attacks by very small groups, using anti-tank and manpad weapons for example. Are you suggesting that such attacks can be prevented, or resolved after the fact? By their nature such attack, being unanticipated, can only be responded to after the damage is done, if at all.

          • TTG says:


            To mount a credible defense against ambush attacks by very small groups, there has to be a greater emphasis on rear area defense and convoy protection. For attacking forces, there has to be a more liberal use of suppressive fires. Those suppressive fires were Soviet doctrine and I assume they are still Russian doctrine. However, I haven’t noticed any great use of suppressive fires. Russian armor also seems to be sticking to roads. Roads are called danger areas for a reason. I’ve only seen video of one armor advance not using roads and that was a Ukrainian advance. The possibility of ambush attacks can and should be anticipated by a well trained and disciplined force. This goes back to Robert Rogers and his “28 Rules of Ranging,” written in 1789. I learned that stuff in ROTC and it was reemphasized throughout my Army career.

            Surprisingly, Ive seen no use of active countermeasure systems like Russia’s Arena or Drozd-2. Those systems were developed over two decades ago. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen it used on some Syrian armor. Why isn’t it used on Russian armor in Ukraine? Is this another victim of Russia’s ubiquitous kleptocracy? The reactive armor and hastily rigged Javelin umbrellas don’t seem to be working at all against the modern ATGMs used by the Ukrainians.



  5. Sam says:

    I believe this is an important consideration. What do OUR neocons want? What are their aims in this conflict? It would be silly to believe that their worldview is not the view of BOTH our political parties. DC is in lockstep.

    I think it would be appropriate to call it a proxy war instigated by our neocons. Ukraine does not have independent decision making by any stretch of the imagination. Gen. “CRT” Milley in Congressional testimony said this conflict will go on for years.

    So, this begs the questions:

    How will Russia interdict this flow of arms into Ukraine, and what military actions will they take to force a military fait accompli?

    How will neocon influenced Ukraine force the Russian military forces into an untenable situation?

    • Eric Newhill says:

      The plan, available from the various “think tanks”, is to “extend” Russia; meaning “over-extend” to the point where Russia collapses as a military and economic force. It is a de facto declaration of war against Russia and evidence to Russia that the West has decided it cannot exist and therefore cannot be party to diplomatic solutions. IMO, this is more midwit strategy in line with the kind of “intelligence” that delivered the ‘Project for a New American Century’. It is dangerous, probably illegal, has nothing to do with serving the American people and will no doubt backfire, as these midget plan always do. Just more irresponsible career government types having fun burning tax payer $s for their own private massive pet projects.

      The idea that Russia is the house of Satan is deranged tunnel vision.

      • TTG says:

        Eric Newhill,

        Those plans from think tanks are not government policy any more than all those pieces coming out of Russian think tanks and state media outlets calling for the eradication of Ukraine, the Baltics and Poland are official Russian government policy. The only way to overextend Russia is for Russia to continue its aggressive invasion and occupation of Ukraine. Russian forces are fully capable of withdrawing as demonstrated around Kyiv. They could fully withdraw to Russian territory or at least to the pre 23 February lines and negate any Western strategy of overextension. Historically, imperial overextension is a self inflicted wound. In this case Russia is attempting the imperial overextension.

        • Eric Newhill says:

          The PNAC sure was policy. Alleged Iraqi WMD was the cover to implement it. Col Lang agrees with that statement 100% and he has written and spoken to that several times.

          But this time the think tanks aren’t driving anything? Why are think tanks paid if no one listens to them?

          Why would Russia withdraw? Because you want them to? I didn’t say that Russia WOULD BE over-extended. I said that’s what the think tanks think could happen. I also stated that, as far as I can see, the think tanks are usually wrong. Russia will withdraw when their mission is accomplished. Now that Ze is receiving lots of neat toys from the US, maybe Russia will decide that the mission must be removing Ze and his whole government and settling on keeping the East and South East just isn’t enough. I’m with Walrus on his government most always achieves the opposite of its stated goals.

          • Eric Newhill says:

            And now the US intelligence community (IC) admits its intelligence is BS and part of info/psy-ops. The [not so] funny thing is lazy, cowardly, Americans will still believe it. No surprise to me, but this is serious stuff folks. We’re faced with backfiring economy destroying sanctions and a rising fever for WW3. It’s a self-fulfilling BS loop. The government produces BS. The people believe it and then the government must react. Perhaps worse, but at least equally as bad, we can’t have a functioning democracy when we become passive consumers of lies and uncertain, irrational information targeting our subconscious fears and desires, when we have become divorced from reality, but that is where we are now on just about every topic. We have become, by definition, insane. You couldn’t run a Fortune 500 company this way. When they tell us that a man in dress is really woman and should be competing in womens’ sports, some meaningful percent of the population still calls BS on it. Why do the same people then trust them when they tell us equally crazy stuff about events happening overseas?
            “in a break with the past” LOL. Also LOL “To keep Putin off-balance”. I don’t think Putin gives a flying f__K what our crazy lying IC says. IMO, the IC knows the purpose is to keep us – The People – off balance. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/national-security/us-using-declassified-intel-fight-info-war-russia-even-intel-isnt-rock-rcna23014?fbclid=IwAR1vNnT_HsLlkpSt0Fd69XvcpacWZUajvBTd7Kr0FzII97xjZQa2_Nkef8Y

          • LeaNder says:

            Interesting, Eric,
            but yes, I would have guessed this is either proof for America’s excellent Intelligence capacities, or it was an exquisite trap into which the Russians stepped. Meaning: America produced some kind of intelligence as self-fulfilling prophecy. But yes, that might be borderline cynical.

            Fact is also Russia did nothing of the kind we were told over and over again: using a hybrid warfare playbook, as well as easily deniable irregular forces, is intent on destabilizing ‘the West. Instead, Russia united the “West” against Russia to an extent, at least for now, not likely at any time before.

            Although, hmm, on Russia’s extortive demands, it was pretty united. 😉

  6. plantman says:

    Here is the minority opinion summarized in just one minute by a former member of the US foreign policy establishment.

    While I realize this isn’t going to change any minds, at least you will see that the people who disagree with you actually have something to hang their hat on.

  7. Leith says:

    Only 15 minutes of endurance? They are better off with more Bayraktars.

    • TTG says:


      Don’t think of it as a classic drone. The Army classifies it as a direct fire munition and not a drone. It’s the next step in the evolution of man portable infantry weapons.

    • Leith says:

      TTG –

      You are right, I finally read the literature on it. There is even an effort to make it a killer of enemy drones. If that works it could also be used against manned helicopters. Not a new idea though to use anti-tank weapons against helicopters. Marine helos in Vietnam lost ten or more to unguided point and shoot RPGs, while they hovered too long above LZs. I’d wager the Army did too. And I think a Seal Team bird in Afghanistan also got shot down by an RPG.

  8. James says:

    I think the Switchblade is going to be a big deal for Ukrainian forces. The Russians can’t be happy about it at all.

    But pro-Russian sites have been saying that the Javelin has been under performing compared to the NLAW. I’ve seen lots of youtube videos of NLAWs striking Russian tanks but not one of a Javelin hitting any Russian targets in battle. I would love to see such a video if anyone can provide a link.

    • TTG says:


      I think one reason for less video of Javelin kills is the distance to target. The NLAW has a range of less than 1,000 meters. the Javelin is five times that. Javelin kills are best recorded by drones. The Stugna-P has a range like the Javelin, but videos of those kills are taken by shooting the magnified video screen of the Stugna-P. Very photogenic. Here’s drone video of a reported Javelin kill.


  9. walrus says:

    TTG, thank you for your work in looking after Col. Lang’s blog. Let us all wish him a speedy and full recovery.

    On the subject of man portable missiles and lethal drones, I wish to remind members, commentators and the more thoughtful politicians that Two can play that game.

    I suggest that it is only a matter of weeks before the first such weapons are employed by the Mexican cartels and thereafter by MS13.

    You may recall from Wikileaks that we had a long standing “buyback” program for such weapons – cash, no questions asked. I suspect there were very good reasons for that.

  10. KMD says:

    Ukraine is not a member of NATO. Yet NATO continues to supply weapons and intelligence to Ukraine.

    NATO has declared war on Russia in all but name.

    • TTG says:


      By that logic, Russia has also declared war on NATO. In truth Russia and NATO have both scrupulously avoided directly provoking each other.

  11. Lowmire says:

    They should call these weapons boomerangs.

  12. Stefan says:

    I am currently in Ireland. Yesterday, driving through the Cork Mountains, I was listening to Newstalk on the radio. They were interviewing a person from an Irish NGO working on settling Ukrainian refugees. The Irish, in general, are some of the most pro Ukrainian populations out there, given their history. The lady made an interesting comment. She talked about a number of unaccompanied minors in the few thousand refugees that have come to Ireland. She said that most of them were boys fleeing conscription. I took her statement at face value because she was very pro Ukrainian. Is the Ukrainian military conscripting under age boys to fight? Seems they are or Ukrainians fear they will, this is why they are sending young boys abroad, alone.

    I lived in Europe in the years after the conflict in the former Yugoslavia. Western Europe was awash in firearms provided by the various forces during that series of conflicts. I hope the powers that be are keeping that in mind with the systems they are handing out. These will end up on the black market and they will end up in the the hands of people we don’t want to have them. These MANPADS and other systems will haunt Europe, and probably the world, in years to come. Next time the west has to fight Da3ash, or some incarnation, they will likely have the ability to down western air assets. Maybe the next time Israel and Hizb’Allah duke it out Hizb will be able to take out Israeli air assets. It would be a game changer.

    The comments here about the second amendment don’t seem to make any sense. It is my understanding that the weapons that Ukrainian civilians are using were handed out by the government. They were not held privately before the conflict. I do not believe Ukrainians had a right to firearm ownership pre Russian invasion.

    The Ukrainian government has put their civilians in a bit of an issue. When they required all men age 18-65 to stay and fight, they basically said there are no civilian men in Ukraine anymore. When they hand women firearms they make them combatants. Without uniforms…..how would the LOAC dictate they be dealt with? ًWe have seen pictures of slain people who we are being told are civilian……but if they were armed when they were killed, they were not civilians. How did US troops deal with armed Iraqis who fired on them uniform or not?

    I understand the drive to fight…..it is inspiring to see Ukrainian flags flying next to Irish flags here. But keep in mind Ireland had a large part of it sectioned off from the rest of the island in the 1920s and they still haven’t gotten it back. The Brits still occupy it. Like in Ireland will the Ukrainians be saying in 100 years “Our Day Will Come”?

    • Jimmy_w says:

      Yes, a lot of 15 year old boys ran away. I might have heard on news that 17 (and maybe 16) yo boys are not allowed to leave. (In countries with universal conscription, they often ban older teen boys from traveling-evading conscription.)

      When you go to a universal-resistance strategy, then all civilians are likely combatants and thus lose Geneva protections. The invader may have a greater responsibility to protect civilians, but the defenders have a duty of minimizing civilian involvement, as well.

      But then, the Geneva paradigm developed during that transition of mass conscription, and right before the advent of Total Mobilization. The logic of Douhet and Strategic Bombing applies to armies “oppressing” the resisting civilians, too.

      And going one step further, the EU taking in any military-age women and trans-men refugees, are depriving Ukraine of potential combat power. Thus supporting Russia nearly as much as buying Russian gas. (Based on 2016 Olympic weightlifting, Ukrainian women are 72% male combat effectiveness.)

      • TTG says:


        Civilian resistance fighters, especially those in the Ukrainian Territorial Forces, do not loose Geneva Convention protections. They must wear some symbol of identification, the blue or yellow armbands probably suffice, and they must be under some kind of responsible leadership/control.

      • Jimmy_W says:

        Civilians who take up arms, loses the Geneva protection for civilians, instead gaining the Geneva protection for combatants, yes. The fact is, Geneva protection for irregular combatants is much less than that for civilian noncombatants.

    • English Outsider says:

      That’s a very sharp parallel, that between the Donbas and Northern Ireland. Doesn’t fit that well, but well enough to relate what’s happening over there to problems we’re trying to get a handle on over here.

      The Irish see the Six Counties as part of Ireland, as it always was far back in history. As it should be, if one has any sense of historical fairness.

      The Loyalists see Northern Ireland as theirs. “We’ve been here for centuries” they say. “It’s ours“. Not forgetting that, as in the Donbas, Loyalists and Nationalists live cheek by jowl in many areas of Northern Ireland and there’s a raw history of violent sectarian strife.

      Also not forgetting that there’s a wider historical conflict going back through centuries of humiliation and oppression which we Brits conveniently forget but the Irish don’t.

      Bloody history. You can sweet talk as much as you like but you can’t alter it. Barring the ethnic cleansing of the Protestants, which I’ve seen suggested once or twice on the more hot headed Irish blogs, there’s no cut and dried solution. You can’t force loyalties and turn the Nationalists into dutiful British citizens. Nor turn the Loyalists into patriotic Irishmen.

      All you can do is stop the two sides shooting at each other and hope that in time they’ll get along with each other. In the meantime cobble together some sort of political fudge that’ll keep the two sides more or less happy. In the Irish case that was the GFA. In the Ukrainian, Minsk 2.

      The GFA didn’t stop the shooting and bombing in the Six Counties. That stopped as the result of a massive military and security operation. But it eased the tensions sufficiently to ensure the shooting and bombing didn’t start up again on any scale.

      No such luck with Minsk 2. That one never got off the ground.

  13. Stevelancs says:

    I saw this morning a comprehensive list of the weapons the USA has supplied to Ukraine in the last month but forgot to copy it. However the fact that it includes many anti-aircraft weapons is confirmed here
    We also need to bear in mind who might get their hands on such weapons ..
    So Europe is getting criminals armed with anti-aircraft weapons who will be able to shoot down any aircraft they feel like. How long before a civilian ‘plane is knocked out of the sky and just like the MH17 the Russians will be blamed?

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