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Putin has ‘small man syndrome’ and would ‘not have invaded if he were a woman’

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Putin has ‘small man syndrome’ and would ‘not have invaded if he were a woman’

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MAD Vlad Putin has “small man syndrome” and is a bonified “lunatic”, Ben Wallace blasted today.

The Defence Secretary piled in after Boris Johnson claimed the dictator would not have invaded Ukraine if he was a woman.

Boris Johnson say Putin is too "macho"

Boris Johnson say Putin is too “macho”Credit: AFP – Getty

Boris Johnson will today urge all Nato members to increase their defence budgets to help fight Vladimir Putin’s Russia

Boris Johnson will today urge all Nato members to increase their defence budgets to help fight Vladimir Putin’s RussiaIn an interview with German TV station ZDF the PM said the Russian President was too “macho”.

He added: “If you want a very good example of toxic masculinity, it’s what he’s doing in Ukraine.

“If Putin were a woman, which he obviously isn’t, but if he were, I really don’t think he would have embarked on a crazy macho war of invasion and violence in the way that he has.”

And today Mr Wallace said the Kremlin despot clearly has “small man syndrome”.

He said: “You never hear of small woman syndrome, only small man syndrome, and he has it in spades.”

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The PM is at the Nato summit in Madrid to call on other alliance members to commit more cash to their defence budgets.

He said “all allies need to dig deep” in the decade ahead and increase the two per cent of GDP military spending target.

In an eve of summit embarrassment, PM Mr Johnson was forced to admit that he has torn up a flagship manifesto pledge to increase spending on the Armed Forces by 0.5 per cent above inflation every year.

Mr Wallace said the British military survived for too long on “a diet of smoke and mirrors, hollowed-out formations and fantasy savings”.

Today he reiterated his call for increased defence spending to counter the threat from Russia.

He said: “My settlement was done before Russia invaded Ukraine. Russia is very, very dangerous on the world stage.

“The world is less secure than it was two, three years ago and is not looking likely to change for the rest of the decade.

“That is the moment, in the middle of the decade, to say we should commit to increased funding.”

New army chief, General Patrick Sanders, publicly warned it would be “perverse” to shrink troop numbers as planned from 82,000 to 72,500 during the Ukraine war.

Sources say at least £4billion more will be needed to make sure the UK does not miss the two per cent pledge by 2025.

The MoD has said the country is on target to do inside two years because of inflation.

On his way to Spain, the PM told The Sun: “Last year we were the third biggest defence spender in the world.

“We’ve another £24billion going in under the current spending review, the biggest since the end of the Cold War.”

NATO allies to send weapons to Kyiv for as long as necessary – Germany’s Scholz

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Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz speaks to the media as he arrives for a NATO summit in Madrid, Spain June 29, 2022. REUTERS/Nacho Doce

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MADRID, June 29 (Reuters) – NATO allies will continue to supply Ukraine with weapons in its war against Russia for as long as necessary, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in Madrid on Wednesday.

“It is good that the countries that are gathered here but many others, too, make their contributions so Ukraine can defend itself – by providing financial means, humanitarian aid but also by providing the weapons that Ukraine urgently needs,” Scholz told reporters as he arrived for the second day of a NATO summit.

“The message is: We will continue to do so – and to do this intensively – for as long as it is necessary to enable Ukraine to defend itself,” he added.

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Reporting by Sabine Siebold and Rachel More

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Alert: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says the alliance faces its biggest challenge since World War II

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G7 summit 2022: Four takeaways from Biden’s trip

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President Joe Biden departed the first of his two summits in Europe this week committing with other top world leaders to back Ukraine in its war against Russia “for as long as it takes.”But exactly how long that might be remains an open question — and a source of anxiety — for leaders now departing the Bavarian Alps after a two-day summit of the G7.
RELATED: Biden says the Group of Seven leading economies will ban imports of gold from RussiaUkrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told the group he wanted the conflict to be over by year’s end. But Russian strikes on civilian targets in Ukraine — including residential buildings and a shopping mall — sent a clear message to the summit: Russian President Vladimir Putin is not backing down.Here are four takeaways from Biden’s first major summit of his latest international trip:
The war in Ukraine has brought Western leaders together in condemning Russia and applying punishing sanctions. But as the war enters its fifth month, the economic consequences of isolating Russia are being felt in high gas prices, a major political liability. Meanwhile, momentum in the war appears to be favoring Russia, CNN reported.Reversing those parallel trends was the principal objective of this year’s G7 summit. Leaders committed to new security assistance for Ukraine, including a new missile defense system from the United States, the same model used to defend the airspace in Washington, DC. Ammunition and radar systems are also expected in the latest shipment.But another shipment of arms isn’t likely to bring an end to the war. Without a clear path to a battlefield victory, leaders have been left wondering how much longer the fighting will last — and, by extension, how much longer the economic consequences of the war will drag down the global economy.Zelensky’s remarks to the group on Monday provided at least his view of the matter: He wants the war ended by the time winter rolls around. He pressed the group to support a major military offensive to take back the initiative against Russia.”Zelensky was very much focused on trying to ensure that Ukraine is in as advantageous a position on the battlefield as possible in the next months as opposed to the next years, because he believes that a grinding conflict is not in the interest of the Ukrainian people,” US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said after the meeting.The West’s withering set of sanctions on Russia has taken a dramatic toll. On Monday, the country defaulted on its foreign debt for the first time since the Bolshevik revolution more than a century ago.The White House said the default showed the power of Western sanctions imposed on Russia since it invaded Ukraine. At the G7 this week, leaders slapped on new measures, including a ban on importing new Russian gold.At the same time, the sanctions have inflicted pain on Americans through higher gas prices, an effect of global bans on importing Russian energy.Targeting Russian energy has been a point of contention since the start of the war. And the complexities of going after one of the world’s largest producers have been borne out in the following months. As Americans and Europeans are suffering high gas prices, Moscow is still reaping massive revenues from its oil exports — due in part to the skyrocketing prices.A plan from US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen seeks to reverse that. Over the past several months, she has pressed G7 nations to apply a price cap on Russian oil, limiting the amount of money Russia makes from the places it is still exporting.Leaders agreed to the idea at the summit this week. But the precise mechanism for doing so remains undecided. Officials said they were confident Western nations wield enough leverage through their transportation and distribution networks to enforce the caps.How and when to engage Putin had divided some of the G7 leaders, who have sometimes aired differences of opinion on whether the time is right to pursue a negotiated settlement or to push ahead for a decisive victory on the battlefield.British Prime Minister Boris Johnson entered the talks this week vowing to rally the leaders behind a plan to help Zelensky sustain the fight. And while French President Emmanuel Macron had previously warned against “humiliating” Putin, he appeared to come into agreement with Johnson on support for Ukraine after meeting at the G7.Biden, meanwhile, has pledged billions of dollars in security assistance to Ukraine. His main goal appears to be keeping Western leaders aligned in their objectives at moments when fractures begin emerging.”We have to stay together, because Putin has been counting on since the beginning that somehow the G7 or NATO would somehow splinter but we haven’t and we are not going to,” he said when meeting German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. “We can’t let this aggression take the form it has and get away with it.”As the G7 concluded, it did not appear the leaders had come to any consensus on when to renew their attempts at negotiating with Putin. But the Russian leader was still very much on leaders’ minds as they sat down to a working lunch Sunday.”We have to show that we’re tougher than Putin,” Johnson told the group as he sat down.Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a suggestion: “Barechested horseback ride,” he said, as the leaders chuckled.On his first day at the summit, Biden told reporters the Supreme Court decision from two days earlier overturning Roe v. Wade hadn’t come up at the G7 summit.But for his fellow leaders, it was a troubling signal from the United States. European Union Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said that “many voices” at the G7 summit were left “very sad and very worried” by the decision.”We have discussed gender equality and indeed, there were many voices, very sad and very worried,” von der Leyen said when asked by CNN’s Christiane Amanpour about the Supreme Court decision.Johnson, in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, called the ruling a “backward step.”Biden has decried the decision and vowed to explore ways to protect access to abortion. He and his aides have framed the ruling as a major step back for women’s rights, and gender equality was one of the themes of this year’s G7, where leaders dedicated an entire working session to the subject.Yet during the customary family photos and working meals, the lack of gender equality among the group — eight men and one woman — was striking. It was the first time in 16 years without a nationally elected woman in the group.The video featured is from a related report.(The-CNN-Wire & 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.)

Ukraine’s president says Putin has become ‘a terrorist’

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UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russian President Vladimir Putin Tuesday of becoming “a terrorist” leading a “terrorist state” and urged Russia’s expulsion from the United Nations.

In a virtual address to the U.N. Security Council, Zelenskyy urged the U.N. to establish an international tribunal to investigate “the actions of Russian occupiers on Ukrainian soil” and to hold the country accountable.

“We need to act urgently to do everything to make Russia stop the killing spree,” Zelenskyy said, warning that otherwise Russia’s “terrorist activity” will spread to other European countries and Asia, singling out the Baltic states, Poland, Moldova and Kazakhstan.

“Putin has become a terrorist,” he said. “Daily terrorist acts, without weekends. Every day they are working as terrorists.”

In urging Russia’s ouster from the 193-member United Nations, Zelenskyy cited Article 6 of the U.N. Charter which states that a member “which has persistently violated the principles contained in the present Charter may be expelled from the organization by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council.”

Russia’s expulsion, however, is virtually impossible. That’s because as a permanent council member Russia would be able to use its veto to block any attempt to oust it.

Ukraine called the council meeting after Russia’s recent upsurge in attacks including Monday’s fiery airstrike on a crowded shopping mall in the central city of Kremenchuk that Zelenskyy said killed at least 18 people and wounded 30 others. “Dozens are missing” and body fragments have been found including hands and feet, he said, adding that unfortunately there may be more victims.

The Ukrainian leader began his speech listing Russia’s attacks in recent days and giving the first names and ages of many of the victims. He ended his address asking the 15 Security Council members and others in the chamber to stand in silent tribute to commemorate the “tens of thousands” of Ukrainian children and adults killed in the war.

All members rose including Russia’s deputy U.N. ambassador Dmitry Polyansky.

When he took the floor later, Polyansky protested against giving Zelenskyy a second opportunity to address the Security Council, a decision by Albanian which holds the council presidency this month.

The Russian envoy said the Ukrainian president’s video address violated the council’s traditions and existing practices which state that leaders who wish to speak to the council must be present in the chamber.

“The U.N. Security Council should not be turned into a platform for a remote PR campaign from president Zelenskyy in order to get more weapons from participants at the NATO summit” starting Wednesday in Madrid, Polyansky said.

He claimed that there was no Russian strike on the shopping center in Kremenchuk, saying Russian precision weapons struck hangars in the Kremenchuk road machinery plant with weapons and ammunition from the United States and Europe destined for Ukrainian troops in eastern Donbass.

The shopping center was some distance away but the detonation of ammunition “created a fire which then spread to the shopping center,” Polyansky said.

The Russian envoy told Western nations that by supplying weapons to Ukraine they were prolonging the time when Ukraine’s leaders “will sit down at the negotiating table with a realistic position rather than with slogans.”

“We began a special military operation in order to stop the shelling of Donbass by Ukraine and so that the territory of this country, which has been turned into anti-Russia at the behest of a number of Western countries, as well as its nationalist leadership, ceases to pose a threat to Russia or the inhabitants of the south and southeast of Ukraine,” he said. “And until those goals are achieved, our operation will continue.”

U.S. deputy ambassador Richard Mills, like many other Western ambassadors, accused Russia of destroying the shopping center, saying the attack “fits into a cruel pattern, one where the Russian military kills civilians and destroys civilian infrastructure in Ukraine.”

He stressed that there is ample publicly available evidence “that Russia, and Russia alone” is responsible for this and other attacks.

G7 Leaders Call Russian Missile Strike On Shopping Mall A War Crime, Vow To Hold Putin Responsible

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy addresses Group of Seven leaders and EU representatives via video link at the G7 summit in Germany on June 27.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy addresses Group of Seven leaders and EU representatives via video link at the G7 summit in Germany on June 27.

Leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) major democracies called a Russian missile strike on a crowded shopping center in Ukraine on June 27 a war crime and vowed to hold Russian President Vladimir Putin accountable.

The leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States, meeting on the second day of a summit in Germany, issued a statement after 15 people were reportedly killed and 50 wounded in the attack in the central city of Kremenchuk.

“Indiscriminate attacks on innocent civilians constitute a war crime,” the leaders said in the statement, adding that they “solemnly condemn the abominable attack” in Kremenchuk.

An earlier Russian missile strike in Lysychansk on June 27 killed eight and wounded 21 others, said Serhiy Hayday, the head of the military administration of Luhansk where Lysychansk is located. Lysychansk is the last big city still held by Ukraine in the eastern Luhansk region. Ukraine immediately called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council. A spokesman for the Albanian mission, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council, said it would take place on June 28.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who earlier on June 27 addressed the G7 summit, said Russia should be legally recognized as the largest terrorist organization in the world.

“The Russian state has become the largest terrorist organization in the world. And this is a fact. And this must be a legal fact,” Zelenskiy said in a video. “And everyone in the world should know that buying or transporting Russian oil, maintaining ties with Russian banks, paying taxes and duties to the Russian state is giving money to terrorists.”

The G7 leaders said earlier they would keep sanctions on Russia for as long as necessary and intensify international economic and political pressure on Putin and his supporters in Belarus.

The earlier statement said the G7 countries were “committed to sustaining and intensifying” sanctions and would continue to use them as needed “acting in unison at every stage.”

The statement adds that the G7 countries “will continue to provide financial, humanitarian, military, and diplomatic support and stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes.”

 

RFE/RL’s Live Briefing gives you all of the latest developments on Russia’s ongoing invasion, how Kyiv is fighting back, the plight of civilians and refugees, and Western aid and reactionFor all of RFE/RL’s coverage of the war, click here.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the pledges were necessary to maintain pressure on Putin.

“Imagine if we allowed Putin to get away with the violent acquisition of huge chunks of another country, sovereign, independent territory,” Johnson told the BBC. “The lessons for that would be absolutely chilling. The point I would make to people is I think that sometimes the price of freedom is worth paying.”

The G7 leaders are committed to exploring new ways to isolate Russia from participating in the global market and to crack down on evasion of existing sanctions, the statement said.

The countries pledged to take steps to further reduce their dependency on Russian energy and to expand sanctions to further restrict Russia’s access to services and technologies, particularly those supporting its armament industry, the statement said. They also pledged more sanctions on individuals responsible for war crimes.

The statement, issued by Germany, the current holder of the G7’s rotating presidency, also said the group was ready to provide more funding to help shore up Ukrainian government finances. The budget support that has been pledged and provided thus far in 2022 amounts to $29.5 billion, the statement said.

The G7 leaders said they recognized the devastating level of destruction of infrastructure in Ukraine caused by the war and stood ready to support an international reconstruction plan.

Separately, the United States said it was finalizing a weapons package for Ukraine that would include long-range air-defense systems — arms that President Volodymyr Zelenskiy specifically requested when he addressed the leaders by video link earlier in the day.

Zelenskiy urged G7 leaders to do everything in their power to end Russia’s invasion of his country by the end of the year as Ukraine’s military says it continues to fend off an attempted encirclement in the eastern city of Lysychansk.

Zelenskiy told the leaders that he wanted the war to end before the winter set in and battle conditions would make it tougher for his troops as they mount their fightback, several diplomats were quoted as saying by international media outlets after the speech.

Zelenskiy also asked for air-defense systems, more sanctions on Russia, and security guarantees as he addressed the summit at the Schloss Elmau in Bavaria, diplomats said, adding that the Ukrainian leader stressed the necessity to keep applying “heavy” punitive actions on Russia and “not lower the pressure” following multiple rounds of sanctions that Western allies have imposed on Moscow.

Zelenskiy also asked for help to export grain from Ukraine and for reconstruction aid, they said.

The Ukrainian military command said earlier that it had repelled Russian attacks west of Lysychansk and prevented an encirclement of the strategically important Donbas city.

“Near Verkhnyokamyanka, the defense forces inflicted significant losses on the enemy and forced them to retreat,” the Ukrainian General Staff reported. Verkhnyokamyanka is located on an important supply road only a few kilometers west of Lysychansk.

Serhiy Hayday, the head of the military administration of Luhansk, where Lysychansk is located, urged inhabitants of the city to leave immediately as Russian forces level large swaths of the town, where about 100,000 people lived before the invasion.

“The disastrous ‘Russian World’ is trying to wipe from the world’s map our history by destroying the cultural institutions and architectural monuments of the Luhansk region,” Hayday wrote on the Telegram messaging app, accusing Russian forces of already destroying more than 60 such institutions and monuments in the city.

The military command separately said on June 27 that a missile strike had hit the Odesa region in southern Ukraine, a day after Russia launched strikes against the capital, Kyiv, and other Ukrainian cities.

The command said the missile, which was fired from a Russian-type Tu-22 strategic bomber, caused six casualties including a child. It was not clear whether the authorities were reporting injuries or deaths.

“The strike in a residential area of a civilian settlement destroyed several residential and farm buildings over around 500 square meters,” the command said, adding that firefighters were still battling the flames.

Meanwhile, the United States plans to announce as soon as this week that it has purchased an advanced, medium- to long-range surface-to-air missile defense system for Ukraine, CNN and AP reported on June 27, citing sources familiar with the issue.

Ukrainian officials have asked for the missile defense system known as NASAMS that can hit targets more than 160 kilometers away, the sources said.

Washington last week announced an additional $450 million in military assistance for Ukraine, giving it four more multiple launch rocket systems and artillery ammunition for other systems.

Earlier this month, the Biden administration said it was providing an additional $1 billion military aid package to Ukraine that will include additional howitzers, ammunition, and coastal defense systems.

More and more analysts envision a protracted battle in the eastern part of Ukraine, with high human and equipment losses on both sides.

Britain’s Ministry of Defense said in its daily intelligence bulletin on June 27 that, in the following weeks, Russia, which has reportedly suffered a high rate of casualties, is “highly likely” to rely increasingly on reservists.

However, British intelligence suggested that the Russian leadership “likely remains reluctant to order a general mobilization,” despite a permanent shortfall in the number of reservists who can be deployed in Ukraine.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, dpa, TASS, and AFP

Russian forces “increasingly hollowed out” in Ukraine—U.K. intel

 

The scale of the onslaught by Vladimir Putin‘s forces in Ukraine amid a fierce ongoing fight for a city in the eastern Donbas region is “unsustainable” in the long term, British defense officials have said.

The daily assessment by Britain’s Ministry of Defense (MOD) said Ukrainian forces “continue to consolidate their positions on higher ground” in Lysychansk, days after Putin’s troops seized control of its twin city Severodonetsk which lies across the Siverskyi Donets river.

— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) June 28, 2022British defense officials said on Tuesday that Ukrainian troops “continue to disrupt Russian command and control with successful strikes deep behind Russian lines.”

The assessment said that the “unusually intense waves of strikes” by long-range Soviet era missiles, which were designed to make strategic strikes, were being expended “in large numbers for tactical advantage.”

It said that despite Russia fielding “the core elements of six different armies,” they achieved “only tactical success at Severodonetsk” and that the Russian armed forces are “increasingly hollowed out.”

Putin’s forces, the defense officials concluded, are accepting “a level of degraded combat effectiveness, which is probably unsustainable in the long term.”

Ukraine troops in a tank

Ukrainian soldiers ride a tank on a road of the eastern Luhansk region on June 23, 2022. Britain’s MOD has said on 28 June, 2022, that Russian forces are becoming “hollowed out.” ANATOLII STEPANOV/Getty ImagesIntelligence reports such as ones by the U.K. MOD tend to focus on Russian shortcomings and are often part of the information warfare conducted by Ukraine’s allies against Moscow. Newsweek has contacted Russia’s defense ministry for comment.

The Kremlin continues to present its own version of the Ukraine war, suggesting that a missile strike on a shopping center in Kremenchuk in which at least 18 people died, was a false flag attack.

Russia’s deputy permanent representative to the U.N. Dmitry Polyansky tweeted that the attack was a “provocation” and referred to Bucha, the city where Russian troops were accused of carrying out a massacre which Moscow says was staged.

Russia has repeatedly denied it targets civilian infrastructure, although evidence shows shopping malls, theaters, hospitals, kindergartens and apartment buildings have been hit.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the mall contained around 1,000 civilians and described the attack as “one of the most daring terrorist acts in European history.” The G7, which is meeting in Germany, denounced the attack as a “war crime.”

Meanwhile, a separate assessment of the Ukraine war by the U.S. Institute for the Study of War said on Monday that Russian military authorities are trying to “seek ways to replenish their increasingly exhausted force capabilities without announcing general mobilization.”

It cited an unnamed senior U.S. defense official that Russian forces are likely to be running low on senior military leaders and “are relying more heavily on retired officers and reserves to replace officer casualties.”

7 Takeaways from Tuesday’s shocking January 6 hearing

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By Marshall Cohen, Zachary Cohen and Alex Rogers, CNN

The House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, Capitol Hill insurrection reconvened Tuesday for a hastily scheduled hearing, featuring blockbuster testimony from Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson.

Hutchinson has cooperated extensively with the investigation, having sat for four closed-door depositions. She brought the goods for her in-person appearance Tuesday. She revealed how then-President Donald Trump and his inner circle were warned about the potential for violence on January 6, and how Trump wanted to join the throngs of his supporters at the US Capitol.

The testimony bolstered the narrative that the committee has been driving toward over the last few weeks: That Trump incited and supported the insurrection as part of a desperate power grab to steal a second term, and that many of his top advisers thought his schemes were illegal.

Here are takeaways from Hutchinson’s key testimony.

Trump and his chief of staff were warned about violence — including armed attendees of rally

Hutchinson really moved the ball forward in terms of establishing that Trump was personally aware of the potential for violence, yet forged ahead on January 6 with his attempts to rile up his supporters to interfere with the joint session of Congress to certify President Joe Biden’s victory.

She said Trump was told that morning that weapons were being confiscated from some of his supporters who came for his rally. Later, when Trump and his team were at the Ellipse — the large oval lawn on the south side of the White House — and before his speech, Trump barked out orders to his staffers to “take the mags away” — referring to the metal detectors — because the people in the crowd, “they’re not here to hurt me.”

Trump also said, “I don’t f**king care that they have weapons,” according to Hutchinson. This is particularly shocking, because Trump then encouraged the same crowd to march to the Capitol while lawmakers were affirming Biden’s win. (Hundreds of Trump’s diehard supporters soon stormed the Capitol, many carrying knives, bear spray, metal poles, tasers and a few guns.)

When Hutchinson told her boss, Meadows, about early reports of weapons getting confiscated, Meadows didn’t even look up from his phone, according to Hutchinson. Two days earlier, he told her that “things might get real, real, bad on January 6.”

“The potential for violence was learned or known before the onset of the violence, early enough for President Trump to have taken steps to prevent it,” said Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the panel’s GOP vice chair. She added that Trump could have urged his supporters not to march to the Capitol, or condemned the violence more quickly, but didn’t, because he “had something else in mind.”

Trump intended to go the Capitol and pushed to do so until the last minute

The select committee effectively proved as much on Tuesday by featuring a mix of damning witness testimony and White House records that show Trump intended to join his supporters at the Capitol and was pushing to do so just minutes before the violence began to escalate.

It was previously known that Trump wanted to go to the Capitol, but Hutchinson’s testimony established for the first time that people around Trump had advance knowledge of this plan.

The reality of Trump’s intentions became clear to national security officials in real time as they learned the Secret Service was scrambling to find a way for the former President to travel to the Capitol while he was on stage urging his followers to march, according to National Security Council chat logs from that day that were revealed for the first time during Tuesday’s hearing.

The NSC chat logs provide a minute-by-minute accounting of how the situation evolved from the perspective of top White House national security officials on January 6 and, along with witness testimony delivered on Tuesday, contradict an account by Meadows in his book where he says Trump never intended to march to the Capitol.

“MOGUL’s going to the Capital … they are clearing a route now,” a message sent to the chat log at 12:29 p.m. ET on January 6 reads — referring to the former President’s secret service code name.

“MilAide has confirmed that he wants to walk,” a 12:32 p.m. message reads. “They are begging him to reconsider.”

“So this is happening,” a message sent at 12:47 p.m. states.

Hutchinson also testified that some in Trump’s orbit had made clear days before January 6 that Trump wanted to travel to the US Capitol.

She told the committee Tuesday that Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani told her on January 2 — four days before the US Capitol was attacked by Trump supporters — that “we’re going to the Capitol” on January 6, and that Trump himself was also planning to be there.

Aide recounts secondhand incident where Trump reached for steering wheel

Hutchinson testified Tuesday that she heard a secondhand account of how Trump was so enraged at his Secret Service detail for blocking him from going to the Capitol on January 6 he lunged to the front of his presidential limo and tried to turn the wheel.

Tony Ornato, then-White House deputy chief of staff, told Hutchinson that Robert Engel, who was the Secret Service agent in charge on January 6 that repeatedly told Trump on their way back to the White House after Trump’s Ellipse speech that it wasn’t safe to go to the Capitol.

According to Hutchinson, Ornato recounted Trump screaming, “I’m the f**king President. Take me up to the Capitol now.”

Trump then “reached up toward the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel,” Hutchinson remembered learning. She added that, according to Ornato, Trump used his other hand “lunge” at Engel.

Engel and Ornato have both testified to the committee behind closed doors, but their statements were not used in the hearing Tuesday.

Hutchinson also recounted a separate Trump tantrum after then-Attorney General William Barr told the Associated Press in December 2020 there was no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election.

“I remember hearing noise coming from down the hallway,” Hutchinson began. She saw the President’s valet in the dining room, changing the tablecloth, ketchup dripping down the wall, and a porcelain plate shattered on the floor.

“The President was extremely angry at the attorney general’s … interview and had thrown his lunch against the wall,” Hutchinson said. “I grabbed a towel and started wiping the ketchup off the wall.”

The anecdote came up as the committee questioned Hutchinson about Trump’s state of mind after losing the election.

Cipollone warned: ‘People are going to die and the blood’s gonna be on your f**king hands’

Trump defended the rioters chanting for the hanging of then-Vice President Mike Pence on January 6, according to Hutchinson.

Hutchinson relayed a conversation she observed between White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and Meadows after they discussed with Trump the chants to inflict violence on Pence.

“I remember Pat saying something to the effect of ‘Mark, we need to do something more. They’re literally calling for the vice president to be f**king hung,” Hutchinson recalled.

Meadows replied, “You heard him, Pat. He thinks Mike deserves it. He doesn’t think they’re doing anything wrong,” according to Hutchinson.

Cipollone responded, “This is f**king crazy. We need to be doing something more.”

Hutchinson testified that Cipollone had previously rushed into Meadows’ office after rioters breached the Capitol and told Meadows what had happened, and said they needed to go meet with Trump.

“Mark, something needs to be done, or people are going to die and the blood’s gonna be on your f**king hands,” Cipollone told Meadows, according to Hutchinson. “This is getting out of control.”

‘There was a large concern’ in White House of the 25th Amendment being invoked after riot

Trump delivered a speech on January 7, 2021, finally acknowledging that Biden would be inaugurated in part because there was a “large concern” by the White House that Pence and the Cabinet could invoke the 25th Amendment to remove him from power, according to Cassidy’s testimony.

Hutchinson also testified that Trump did not want to include references in the speech to prosecuting the pro-Trump rioters, but instead wanted to float pardons for them. After the White House Counsel’s office pushed back, Trump did mention pardons in that speech.

If the 25th Amendment had been invoked, Trump could’ve put his presidency up for a vote before Congress, where two-thirds would have been necessary to kick him out.

“There was a large concern of the 25th Amendment potentially being invoked, and there were concerns about what would happen in the Senate if it was,” Hutchinson testified.

The thinking at the time was that Trump needed the speech “as cover” to protect himself from the threat of his Cabinet trying to oust him from power, Hutchinson said. She said that was a “secondary reason” for Trump to give the speech; the first was that Trump needed to condemn the violent attack to try and prevent it from becoming his legacy.

While Trump gave the speech effectively conceding the election, he wanted to remove calls for “prosecuting the rioters or calling them violent” from early drafts of his January 7 speech, according to Hutchinson, but wanted to float pardons to his supporters.

“He didn’t want that in there,” Hutchinson said. “He wanted to put in that he wanted to potentially pardon them.”

“He didn’t think that they did anything wrong,” said Hutchinson, referring to the pro-Trump rioters. “The people who did something wrong that day-or-the person who did something wrong that day was Mike Pence, by not standing with him.”

Trump’s conduct on January 6 was ‘un-American’ and ‘unpatriotic,’ Hutchinson says

In emotional and powerful testimony, Hutchinson said Trump’s behavior on January 6 was “unpatriotic” and “un-American.”

The committee asked Hutchinson to describe her real-time reaction from January 6, when Trump attacked Pence in a tweet at 2:24 p.m. ET, which was after his supporters invaded the Capitol, forcing Pence, lawmakers, and staffers to run for their lives.

“As a staffer … I remember feeling frustrated, disappointed, and really, it felt personal. It was really sad,” Hutchinson said. “As an American, I was disgusted. It was unpatriotic. It was un-American. We’re watching the Capitol building get defaced over a lie. And it was something that was really hard in that moment to digest. … I still struggle to work through the emotions of that.”

Her condemnation of Trump’s behavior may shed some light on her motivations for coming forward with so much damaging information about January 6. Committee members have heaped praise on Hutchinson and other Republicans who have testified, calling them patriots.

Committee teases evidence of witness tampering

The committee has secured testimony from some major witnesses members of Trump’s inner circle, even members of his family. But Cheney suggested during the hearing that there might be a Trump-imposed blockade of sorts, and that the panel has evidence of witness tampering.

She said one witness — whom the committee did not identify — testified that: “What they said to me is, as long as I continue to be a team player, they know that I’m on the team, I’m doing the right thing, I’m protecting who I need to protect, you know, I’ll continue to stay in good graces in Trump world.”

Another unidentified witness said they were told by someone in Trump’s orbit that Trump was “thinking about you” and that “he knows you’re loyal” and hopes that “you’re going to do the right thing when you go in for your deposition.”

Cheney said the committee takes this “seriously” and will be considering “next steps,” potentially hinting at a criminal referral, for possible witness tampering or obstruction. Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the committee chairman, issued a public plea for more cooperation, saying to potential witnesses that if “you discovered some courage you had hidden away somewhere, our doors remain open.”

Trump has denied all wrongdoing regarding January 6 and the related investigations.

This story has been updated with additional developments Tuesday.

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Putin could face a ‘hammer to the head’ if his inner circle turns on him over Ukraine, a former CIA official said. ‘They’ll schwack him for it’

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Explained: The many, many controversies of Britain’s Prince Charles

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From receiving millions of dollars in cash from the Qatar prime minister to shaking hands with dictator Robert Mugabe at the Pope’s funeral, the heir to the British throne has hit headlines for all the wrong reasons many times over the years

Prince Charles is at it again.

A UK media outlet reported that the heir to British throne allegedly accepted a suitcase full of cash as a charitable donation from the former Prime Minister of Qatar.

The Sunday Times reported that the suitcase was one of three bundles of cash given as charitable donations which the 73-year-old received from Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani.

The three lots, which reportedly totalled Euro 3 million, were handed to the prince personally between 2011 and 2015. Each payment was reportedly deposited into the accounts of the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund (PWCF), a low-profile grant-making entity which funds projects close to the royal’s heart and his country estate in Scotland.

Despite the newspaper reporting that there is no suggestion the payments were illegal, there have been calls to investigate.

As per The Guardian, critics said it raised serious concerns about the future king’s personal judgment, especially given Qatar’s record on human rights.

One described it as more like the actions of a “South American drug baron” than a future king, while another said the image of Charles’s aides counting out the cash was like a scene from TV sitcom Only Fools and Horses.

But Charles is no stranger to controversy.

Let’s take a closer look:

Paradise Papers

In 2017, The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists made public its investigation into how the world’s rich and famous stash their wealth offshore.

This follow-up to the 2015 ‘Panama Papers’ dubbed ‘Paradise Papers’ named big shots such as Shakira, Bono and  Lewis Hamilton.

Explained The many many controversies of Britains Prince CharlesFile image of Shakira.

And of course, Charles himself.

As per the BBC, documents from the Paradise Papers revealed that Prince Charles’s private estate, the Duchy of Cornwall, secretly invested in an offshore company which lobbied to change climate agreements.

Sustainable Forestry Ltd lobbied politicians to amend global agreements to allow ‘carbon credits’ from rainforests to be traded.

Charles made speeches in support of this – and his estate, the Duchy of Cornwall, tripled its investment in Sustainable Forestry in the space of a year. It is not clear why this was.

The Duchy claimed the prince has no direct involvement in investment decisions.

Prince Charles denied ever speaking on a topic simply because of a company the Duchy may have invested in, as per the report.

Incidentally, Charles’ mother The Queen also made the list.

‘Black spider memos’

While the British Royal Family assiduously avoids getting entangled with government policy, Charles has not shown quite the same commitment – at least in a personal capacity.

In 2015, a cache of 27 letters  –10 by Charles himself – written to government officials including former prime minister Tony Blair over the years on a variety topics including agriculture, Northern Ireland and other matters were made public.

Countless government ministers have been recipients of ‘black spider’ memos, so called because of his distinctive handwriting style, The Spectator notes.

‘Sooty’

In 2009, Charles hit was ensnared in a racism row after British media reported that Charles, his second wife Camilla Parker Bowles and elder son William nicknamed a  a wealthy Indian property developer and polo Kolin Dhillon ‘Sooty’.

Those reports emerged after a race row over Charles’ younger son Prince Harry calling a Pakistani former fellow-cadet ‘Paki’ in a home video made three years ago.

While Harry issued a public apology for calling Ahmed Raza Khan ‘our little Paki friend’, Britain’s royal household strongly denied either Charles or any of his two sons are racist.

“We are not going to comment about a nickname which allegedly is used in a particular club,” Clarence House said in a statement.

“To imply the Princes are racist is ridiculous. Through their charity work all three of them are committed to helping people both in the UK and abroad regardless of who they are.

“The Prince of Wales has a very strong view on racial intolerance. No one has been more of an advocate for the understanding and tolerance of various religious and ethnic groups and his record speaks volumes on this issue,” it added.

Dhillon, who plays polo with Prince Charles and other royals at the Cirencester Polo Club near the Prince’s Highgrove estate, in fact came to Charles’ defence.

“I have to say that you know you have arrived when you acquire a nickname. I enjoy being called Sooty by my friends, who I am sure universally use the name as a term of affection with no offence meant or felt,” said Kolin

Dhillon added, “The Prince of Wales is a man of zero prejudice and both his sons have always been most respectful.”

Shaking hands with Mugabe

In 2005, Charles, attending the funeral of Pope John Paul II, found himself embroiled in a furore after shaking hands with then Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe.

Explained The many many controversies of Britains Prince CharlesFile image of Robert Mugabe. AFP

Mugabe, at the time, was an outcast – the European Union had banned him from the region.

Mugabe, a Roman Catholic, defied the ban to attend the funeral at the Vatican, which is not part of the European Union.

The EU had imposed travel sanctions on Zimbabwean government officials after accusations of vote rigging in Zimbabwe’s parliamentary polls in 2000.

“The Prince of Wales was caught by surprise and wasn’t in a position to avoid shaking Mr Mugabe’s hand,” a spokeswoman for the prince, trying to defuse the uproar, said at the time.

Snubbing China over Dalai Lama

In 1999, Charles was accused of snubbing then president Jiang Zemin by declining an invitation to a farewell banquet at the Chinese Embassy.

The heir to the British throne, known to be an admirer of the Dalai Lama, was said to have wanted nothing more to do with the then president, as per South China Morning Post.

Charles’ absence was made even more notable after several members of the royal family including Queen Elizabeth, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, Princess Alexandra and the Duke of Kent were in attendance at the official banquet.

The banquet, which followed the strict protocol of State visits to Britain, was a response to a banquet given in then president Jiang’s honour at Buckingham Palace at the start of his visit.

Explained The many many controversies of Britains Prince CharlesFile image of Dalai Lama. News18

Mark Bolland, his former senior aide, described Charles as a ‘dissident’ working against the ‘prevailing political consensus’, as per The Spectator.

‘Correct processes followed’

Charles’ representatives said that correct procedures had been followed.

“Charitable donations received from Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim were passed immediately to one of the Prince’s charities who carried out the appropriate governance and have assured us that all the correct processes were followed,” Prince Charles’ Clarence House office said in a statement.

The newspaper claims that on one occasion the money was handed over in a holdall at a meeting at Clarence House. On another, the paper reports the cash was contained in carrier bags from the famous London department store Fortnum and Mason.

“At a few hours’ notice from The Sunday Times, we have checked into this event in the past, and confirm that the previous trustees of PWCF discussed the governance and donor relationship, (confirming that the donor was a legitimate and verified counterparty) and our auditors signed off on the donation after a specific enquiry during the audit. There was no failure of governance,” PWCF chairman Sir Ian Cheshire was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

“The donation was made in cash and that was the donor’s choice,” he said.

The PWCF has the stated aim of transforming lives and building sustainable communities, by awarding grants to good causes in fields such as conservation, education, health and social inclusion.

The Sunday Times said Sheikh Hamad’s lawyers declined to comment.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: June 28, 2022 22:27:25 IST

[Opinion] Is Russia — legally — a ‘state sponsor of terrorism’?

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The US State Department is currently deliberating over this very question. Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky thinks the answer is yes. Together with his ministers, he has spared no effort to remind American and European authorities that they should designate Russia a state sponsor of terrorism.

If Russia meets the definition, then the only reason not to designate it as a state sponsor of terrorism is political—and American and European authorities have hardly been averse to placing politics above rigid criteria in making important decisions in the past.

If it does not, then the question is moot. My concern in this essay is to sidestep the politics and focus on the definition—or, rather, definitions used by the United States and Europe.

According to the US definition (6 USCS § 101), terrorism is “any activity that—(A) involves an act that—(i) is dangerous to human life or potentially destructive of critical infrastructure or key resources; and (ii) is a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State or other subdivision of the United States; and (B) appears to be intended—(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping.”

The European Union (Directive 2017/541) “exhaustively lists a number of serious crimes, such as attacks against a person’s life, as intentional acts that can qualify as terrorist offences when and insofar as committed with a specific terrorist aim, namely to seriously intimidate a population, to unduly compel a government or an international organisation to perform or abstain from performing any act, or to seriously destabilise or destroy the fundamental political, constitutional, economic or social structures of a country or an international organisation.”

Despite some differences, both definitions boil down to a few essential features: terrorism is criminal and violent, and it is meant to intimidate, coerce, or destroy. (The FBI’s definition of terrorism is thus closest to the mark: “Violent, criminal acts committed by individuals and/or groups who are inspired by, or associated with, designated foreign terrorist organisations or nations [state-sponsored].”)

Neither the US nor the European definition technically precludes states or state agencies from being terrorists—as opposed to simply sponsoring terrorism.

Indeed, the Trump administration admitted as much by designating Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a “Foreign Terrorist Organisation”.

Even though states can be terrorists, there is an important difference between state terrorism and war. Both definitions insist that terrorist acts must be crimes. Wars, in contrast, may be morally criminal, but they are not crimes. War crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide would qualify as terrorist acts because they violate international law and most domestic laws.

Two more definitions

“State sponsors of terrorism” are, according to the US State Department, “countries determined by the secretary of state to have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism.” A state sponsor is different from a “terrorist group,” which the Europeans define as “a structured group of more than two persons, established for a period of time and acting in concert to commit terrorist offences….”

A terrorist state therefore commits acts of terrorism. A state sponsor of terrorism supports terrorist groups. So, is Putin’s Russia a state sponsor of terrorism and/or a terrorist state?

The first question was already raised and answered several years ago. In 2015, the British political scientist Taras Kuzio argued that Russia was sponsoring terrorism in the separatist enclaves in eastern Ukraine. (I made the same case in 2014.)

In 2018, Daniel L. Byman of the Center for Middle East Policy flatly concluded that “Russia is indeed a sponsor of terrorism” in Syria, Afghanistan, and eastern Ukraine.

As Kuzio said, “Donbas separatist groups fit the definition of ‘international terrorism’ and there are multiple sources that point to Russian training and military support for violent separatist and terrorist groups in Ukraine.

“Russia’s use of special forces in the spring to back the initial separatist campaign, Moscow’s extensive supply of high-tech weapons such as the BUK missile system that shot down the Malaysian civilian airliner, and training of separatist and terrorist groups classify Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.”

Moscow’s support of the terrorist activities listed by Kuzio only increased in the eight years between Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity in 2014 and the full-scale war unleashed by Putin in 2022. If the arguments for considering Russia a state sponsor of terrorism in Ukraine were valid then—as they were, they should also hold for all the criminal acts of violence the separatists pursued in order to intimidate, coerce, or destroy since 2014-2105.

The second question has been conclusively answered in the last three months.

According to a recently-released independent report conducted by the New Lines Institute and the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, “there are: 1) reasonable grounds to conclude Russia is responsible for (i) direct and public incitement to commit genocide, and (ii) a pattern of atrocities from which an inference of intent to destroy the Ukrainian national group in part can be drawn.”

And, as secretary of state Anthony Blinken said on March 23, “the US government assesses that members of Russia’s forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine.” Ukraine, meanwhile, has already identified more than 600 war-crime suspects.

In sum, Russia is both a terrorist state and, together with North Korea, Cuba, Syria, and Iran, a state sponsor of terrorism. Were Washington so inclined, it would be perfectly justified in designating Russia as such and imposing “restrictions on US foreign assistance; a ban on defence exports and sales; certain controls over exports of dual use items; and miscellaneous financial and other restrictions.”

So, too, would the Europeans.

Most important, as the State Department inelegantly puts it, “Designation under the above-referenced authorities also implicates other sanctions laws that penalize persons and countries engaging in certain trade with state sponsors.”

This means that the United States would be able to impose punitive measures on those countries outside of Europe and North America that import to and export from Russia.

Whether Washington would want to is, of course, another matter.

Is Russia a terrorist state or sponsor of terrorism? – Google Търсене

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Russia’s Ill-Fated Invasion of Ukraine: Lessons in Modern Warfare

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CSIS Briefs

June 1, 2022

Russia has failed to achieve most of its objectives in Ukraine because of poor military planning, significant logistical problems, low combat readiness, and other deficiencies, which undermined Russian military effectiveness. These and other challenges—including Ukrainian military efforts and Western aid—severely impacted Russian air, ground, cyber, and maritime operations. Russia’s failures will force the Russian military to fundamentally rethink its training practices, organizational structure, culture, logistics, recruitment and retention policies, and planning efforts. Nevertheless, Russia is still attempting a de facto annexation of parts of eastern and southern Ukraine that it controls.

This analysis examines lessons from Russian air, ground, cyber, and other domains following Moscow’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine. It asks: What are some of the most important military lessons from the first three months of the war? What do these lessons suggest about the future of the war? The assessment focuses predominantly on the operational level of warfare, especially the planning and conduct of the military campaign.1 The operational level links the tactical utilization of forces to strategic objectives and includes such aspects as fire and maneuver, logistics, intelligence, command and control, and planning.2

To answer the main questions, this analysis relied on several types of information. One included collecting and analyzing primary and secondary sources on the war, including military and intelligence assessments from Western countries. Another was a force disposition map of the battlefield, in which CSIS analysts compiled and assessed Russian and Ukrainian tactical and operational activity. The final involved background interviews with Western government officials and other subject matter experts. While the war in Ukraine is likely far from over, this analysis comes to several initial conclusions.

First, the Russian military faced considerable logistics challenges, in part because of poor training and planning. During the Russian push to Kyiv in the early phase of the war, for example, Russian ground forces faced massive logistical and command and control challenges operating in contested areas inside of Ukraine. Without access to rail transport and with roads clogged with Russian vehicles, Russian ground forces failed to move fuel, munitions, spare parts, and other matériel quickly and efficiently to forward-deployed units. Supply lines could not keep up with the long combat pushes, and logistics vehicles were not properly protected. The effectiveness of Russian long-range strike—a key aspect of Russian military operations—was also severely impacted by logistical challenges, including an insufficient supply of precision-guided munitions.

Second, the Russian ground offensive appears to have been planned and executed based on poor assumptions about how the Ukrainian military—and the population—would respond, as well as how the West might react. Seizing and holding territory was a major political objective of Russian policymakers. But controlling territory in a foreign country with a hostile Ukrainian population was deeply problematic for the Russian military, particularly since the conflict began to resemble a “people’s war.”3 In addition, Russian forces failed to effectively integrate combined arms to seize and hold Ukrainian territory, including coordination between land power, air power, and long-range fires. The Russian invasion force was also far too small to achieve its objectives and neglected to block Ukraine’s western border and prevent the supply of foreign weapons, systems, fuel, and other aid to Ukraine.

Third, Russian offensive cyber operations and electronic warfare failed to blind Ukrainian command and control efforts or threaten critical infrastructure for a prolonged period. Russian military and intelligence agencies conducted cyberattacks and utilized electronic warfare against Ukrainian targets, including destructive cyberattacks on hundreds of Ukrainian government and critical infrastructure systems. But these attacks did not notably impact the Ukrainian will or ability to fight or communicate. Ukraine was able to blunt most of the effects of these cyberattacks through an aggressive cyber defense, with help from private companies, Western governments, and other state and non-state actors.

The rest of this brief is organized into three sections. It begins by providing an update on the war, including a tactical map of Russian and Ukrainian force disposition. The brief then focuses on Russian challenges in several domains of warfare. It concludes with policy implications for the United States and its Western allies and partners.

Setting the Stage: An Evolving Front

In the initial phase of the war, Russian ground forces invaded on four main fronts:

  • Northern Front: Russian forces pushed toward Kyiv from Belarus, led by units from the Eastern Military District, including the 29th, 35th, and 36th Combined Arms Armies.
  • Northeastern Front: Russian forces moved west toward Kyiv from Russian territory, led by units from the Central Military District, including the 41st Combined and 2nd Guards Combined Arms Armies.
  • Eastern Front: Russian forces pushed toward Kharkiv and out of the Donbas, led by units from the Western Military District, including the 1st Guards Tank Army and 20th and 6th Combined Arms Armies.
  • Southern Front: Russian forces moved from Crimea west toward Odesa, north toward Zaporizhzhia, and east toward Mariupol. They were led by units from the Southern Military District, including the 58th, 49th, and 8th Combined Arms Armies, VDV’s 7th Air Assault Division, and VDV’s 11th Air Assault Brigade.

After suffering a series of setbacks that are highlighted later in this analysis, the Russian military began to withdraw forces from Kyiv around April 2022 and concentrate its efforts on eastern and southern Ukraine. Today, the distinctive feature of the war is a roughly 600-mile front that extends just west of Kherson along the Black Sea; moves east through Melitopol, Mariupol, and other southern cities; cuts northeast through the Donbas in eastern Ukraine, including the cities of Luhansk and Donetsk; continues northwest near Izyum; and then intersects the Russian border north of Kharkiv. Figure 1 highlights the force disposition by early June 2022.4 Russia deployed roughly 110 Battalion Tactical Groups (BTGs) in Ukraine for a total of approximately 142,000 forces; utilized irregular forces, including militias from Donetsk and Luhansk; dug trenches and placed mines at and near the lines of contact; and constructed rail lines and repaired bridges and roads to improve Russian lines of communication.5

Control of territory will continue to ebb and flow around these lines, including around such areas as the Donbas. In addition, Russian ships in the Black Sea have conducted a naval blockade of Ukraine, halting commerce at Ukrainian ports, and struck Ukrainian targets with cruise missiles and other stand-off weapons.

Russia has attempted to annex some of this territory through a crude form of state-building. It has forcibly deported—or, in some cases, tortured and executed—pro-Ukrainian civilians and encouraged ethnic Russians (and pro-Russian civilians) to remain.6 Russia has also replaced Ukrainian government officials with hand-picked, pro-Russian officials. For instance, Moscow appointed Volodymyr Saldo, a former mayor of Kherson, as head of the Kherson regional military-civilian administration. In May, he announced that the area “will become the Kherson region of the Russian Federation.”7

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Russian state-building covers a broad swath of economic, cultural, nationalist, governance, and security measures. Moscow has replaced the Ukrainian currency, the hryvnia, with the Russian ruble in such cities as Melitopol. It has taken control of critical infrastructure, such as nuclear power plants and steel plants, and rerouted internet through Russia. In addition, Russia has issued newly married couples with Russian Federation wedding certificates. Russian flags now fly at numerous government buildings, while Ukrainian flags have been taken down and Ukrainian symbols have been removed from buildings and repainted. Russia is creating Russian-language schools and revising the education system—including the curriculum—in these areas, as Moscow attempts to reeducate locals in Russian-controlled areas of Ukraine. Russian military, intelligence, and police officials have penetrated cities and villages, rounding up and detaining protesters and pro-Ukrainian sympathizers.8

For Russia, annexation of these areas is a fait accompli. “It’s out of the question to return the Kherson region back to Nazi Ukraine,” said Kirill Stremousov, the Russian-appointed deputy head of the military-civil administration of Kherson region. “Kyiv will no longer be able to force its ugly Nazi policies upon our land.”9 Sergei Aksyonov, the head of the Republic of Crimea, similarly indicated that the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions would be annexed.10 And Russia’s deputy prime minister Marat Khusnullin remarked that the Kherson region will take “a worthy place in our Russian family.”11 To expand Russia’s control of territory, the Russian military is likely to continue its attrition campaign in eastern and southern Ukraine.

Russian Military Failures

Russia failed to achieve what was likely its main political objective: to overthrow the Kyiv government in a blitzkrieg military operation. The Russian military also faced significant challenges seizing and holding territory. These problems contributed to the suspension or firing of several senior military officials, such as Lieutenant General Serhiy Kisel, commander of the 1st Guards Tank Army, for dereliction during the offensive against Kharkiv; Lieutenant General Vlaislav Yershov, commander of the 6th Combined Arms Army, for failing to capture Kharkiv; and Vice Admiral Igor Osipov, commander of the Black Sea Fleet, following the sinking of the flagship cruiser Moskva.12

In addition, roughly a dozen Russian generals and other senior officials were killed on the battlefield, such as Lieutenant General Andrei Mordvichev, Lieutenant General Yakov Rezantsev, Major General Andrei Sukhovetsky, Major General Vitaly Gerasimov, Major General Kanamat Botashev, Major General Andrey Kolesnikov, and Major General Oleg Mityaev.13 These firings and deaths may have exacerbated command and control problems that the Russian military was already experiencing. In an effort to improve overall command and control of Russian operations, particularly air-ground integration, Russian president Vladimir Putin appointed General Aleksandr Dvornikov to oversee military operations in April. Still, Russia continued to experience command and control challenges during its offensive operations in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts in May and June 2022.

The rest of this section examines Russian difficulties in the air, ground, and cyber domains of warfare. It also highlights Russian challenges in other domains, such as maritime.

Air Operations: Russian air operations in Ukraine have been characterized by a heavy focus on long-range strike against Ukrainian military and civilian targets to undermine the Ukrainian military’s ability to wage war, weaken morale of the Ukrainian population, and punish the country for its shift toward the West. Over the previous several years, Russia had developed command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems on the battlefield, providing data to enable a higher throughput of airstrikes. These systems were integrated into Russia’s overarching systems of “reconnaissance strike complexes”—which were designed for the coordinated employment of high-precision, long-range weapons linked to real-time intelligence data and accurate targeting.14 As General Valery Gerasimov, chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, remarked, “The principal features of future conflicts will be the extensive employment of precision weapons and other types of new weapons.”15 To identify targets in a relatively contested environment, the Russian military also utilized some airborne platforms, including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

In the early phases of the war, Russia aimed to pin down Ukrainian air defenses around the country by conducting ballistic and cruise missile strikes across the country, including Kh-101 cruise missiles deployed from Tu-95 Bear and Tu-160 Blackjack bombers flying in Russian and Belarusian airspace.16 The Russian air force then expanded its target list to include Ukrainian military infrastructure, arms shipments from the West, fuel facilities, bridges, and even civilian targets. Russia launched more than 1,100 missiles at Ukrainian targets over the first 21 days of the war and a total of 2,125 missiles over the first 68 days of the war.17

Nevertheless, the Russian military faced numerous challenges in conducting its air campaign.

First, the Russian air force failed to achieve air superiority against a Ukrainian military with notable air defense capabilities, such as Stinger man-portable air-defense systems, S-300 surface-to-air missile systems, and other systems—thanks, in part, to Western aid. The success of Ukrainian air defenses deterred Russian aircraft from freely operating over most of Ukrainian-controlled territory. This meant that one of Russia’s primary ways to strike deep into Ukraine was through cruise missiles launched from Russia, Belarus, and maritime vessels in the Black Sea.

Second, the Russian air force faced recurring logistics challenges, including running low on stocks of long-range, precision-guided munitions. Three weeks into the war, for example, the Russian air force began to run low on precision-guided munitions, such as laser- and satellite-guided bombs, which caused the Russians to use a growing number of unguided artillery shells, rockets, and missiles from the ground forces.18 When it came to weapons systems such as the Iskander-M short-range ballistic missile system, the Russian military was also hesitant to expend a portion of its stockpile, which it needed for defense against the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and other threats.19 In addition, dozens of Russian UAVs, such as the Orlan-10, Orlan-20, Orlan-30, Eleron-3, and Forpost, were shot down on the battlefield or subject to electronic jamming.20 These challenges were exacerbated by the inability of Russia’s domestic arms industry to replace these UAVs quickly.21

Over the long run, Russia may face a supply chain challenge because of U.S. and other Western sanctions. For example, the 9M729 cruise missile, which is fired from the Iskander-K short-range ballistic missile system, is one of the Russian military’s most advanced weapons systems with precision-strike capabilities.22 The cruise missile has roughly a half dozen socket attachment points that permit data to move through the heat shield. Some of these socket attachment points were manufactured by U.S. companies. In addition, the rails that affixed the circuit boards to the computer housing—as well as the circuit boards—were manufactured by U.S. companies. The 9M949 300 mm rocket, which is used in Russia’s Tornado-S multiple rocket launcher system, also used a fiber-optic gyroscope manufactured in the United States. Finally, the Russian TOR-M2 air-defense system utilized an oscillator designed in the United Kingdom, which is located in the computer that controls the radar.23 These supply chain challenges will likely impact Russia’s short- and long-term supply of components to conduct stand-off attacks, forcing Russia to look for substitute markets.

These challenges undermined Moscow’s attempt to establish air dominance over Ukraine, conduct effective precision strikes, and support advancing Russian ground forces.

Ground Operations: In the initial phase of the war, Russian forces along the northern front relied on the roads to avoid Ukraine’s marshes and forests. While the advantage in numbers, artillery, and cannon fire from armored vehicles allowed Russian forces to quickly advance toward Kyiv, Ukrainian forces inflicted significant casualties using anti-tank ambushes. As Russian forces moved through Ukrainian villages and towns, local civilians provided intelligence on their location and movement, while Ukrainian special forces and UAVs marked targets for artillery.24 As Figure 2 highlights, many of Russia’s vehicles were marked with a “Z” to delineate that they were from the Russian military.

Figure 2: Russian Army Vehicles with Invasion “Z” Markings

220601_KhersonAirbase_imagery_2_updated.

The bulk of Russian ground forces is composed of BTGs, which are combined arms units typically drawn from companies and battalions in existing brigades. While the structure of BTGs varies somewhat based on operational needs and available personnel, most include roughly 600 to 800 soldiers—and, in Ukraine, perhaps closer to 600 soldiers. They are generally mechanized battalions, with two to four tank or mechanized infantry companies and attached artillery, reconnaissance, engineer, electronic warfare, and rear support platoons—including motor transport, field mess, vehicle recovery, maintenance, and hygiene squads. The result in theory is a fairly self‑sufficient ground combat unit with fire and rear support.25 In practice, the BTGs were likely understrength and lacked sufficient infantry.

Overall, Russian ground forces encountered serious problems in Ukraine.

First, the Russian army faced significant logistical and maintenance challenges operating in contested areas inside of Ukraine. Russia’s approach to combined arms warfare was generally to hammer Ukrainian positions with artillery and other stand-off weapons and then to send armored vehicles forward on a maneuver termed “reconnaissance to contact,” designed to overwhelm what remained of Ukrainian defensive lines.26 But because of the Ukrainian military’s effective use of anti-armor munitions, such as anti-tank guided missiles and loitering munitions, Russian ground forces had difficulty advancing and seizing ground. This was true even when the speed of some Russian armored units allowed them to push into Kyiv’s suburbs only 48 hours into the war. Some of these Russian units were isolated with limited or no logistics, miles ahead of the main body of Russian ground units.27

The Russian army also operated with fewer support soldiers than many other militaries. Roughly 150 of the troops in a BTG could be considered support, which is notably lower than some militaries such as the U.S. Army, which deploys approximately 10 support soldiers for every combat soldier.28 Without access to rail transport that usually moves Russian heavy equipment, and with the few roads available clogged with traffic, it became increasingly difficult for the Russian army to move food, fuel, munitions, spare parts, and other supplies to forward-deployed forces. These problems were compounded by the Russian army’s failure to provide convoy security to logistics vehicles, such as those carrying food, water, medical supplies, mobile kitchens, fuel, engineers, and spare parts. Forward-deployed Russian vehicles broke down, and many had to be abandoned because of a lack of spare parts, mechanics, and recovery vehicles.29 In short, the Russian army failed to secure its critical lines of communication.30

The Russian advance to Kyiv, for instance, came at an increasingly heavy price. By the time Russian forces had secured Hostomel Airport in late February 2022 and were in place to launch an attack on Kyiv, they lacked the combat power to seize the city. Russian forces came into range of Ukrainian artillery units and exposed more of their depth to raiding.31 Russian forces also ran into numerous logistical challenges in their failed effort to seize and hold the city of Kharkiv. Bans by the West on the export of sensitive technologies to Russia could also cut into Moscow’s ability to prosecute a protracted ground war. Two of Russia’s largest tank manufactures, for example, were forced to halt production because of a lack of parts.32

Second, the Russian invasion force was far too small to seize and hold territory, particularly with a Ukrainian population that rose up against the Russian military in a variation of what the Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong referred to as a “people’s war.” As Mao wrote in his book On Protracted War, “the richest source of power to wage war lies in the masses of the people.” Mao argued that in a well-organized resistance effort, the invading force “will be surrounded by hundreds of millions of our people standing upright . . . and he will be burned to death.”33 Russia utilized between 150,000 and 190,000 soldiers—including regular and irregular forces—for the initial invasion of Ukraine, a country of approximately 44 million people with an area of over 600,000 square kilometers.34 Those numbers translate into a force ratio of 4 Russian soldiers per 1,000 Ukrainian inhabitants.

There are no exact formulas for how many soldiers are required to hold conquered territory, but a force ratio of as many as 20 soldiers per 1,000 inhabitants has sometimes been necessary to pacify a hostile local population.35 Large numbers of troops are generally essential to establish basic law and order. By the end of World War II, for example, there were 101 U.S. soldiers per 1,000 inhabitants in the U.S.-controlled sector of Germany. More recently, there were 19 U.S. and European soldiers per 1,000 inhabitants in Bosnia in 1995 and 20 soldiers per 1,000 inhabitants in Kosovo in 2000.36

Lower ratios are generally insufficient to pacify hostile populations. In Iraq, for instance, the United States had 7 soldiers per 1,000 inhabitants and faced a persistent deadly insurgency—even with the help of Iraqi government forces and Sunni militia members. U.S. Army chief of staff General Eric K. Shinseki warned Congress in February 2003 that “several hundred thousand” troops would likely be needed to secure postwar Iraq.37 In Afghanistan, the United States had only 1 soldier per 1,000 inhabitants, along with the help of Afghan National Security Forces. With such small numbers, the United States and its NATO allies faced a prolonged insurgency that led to the overthrow of the Afghan government in 2021.38 The force ratio of Russian soldiers in Ukraine was far too small to hold territory—including cities—for long.

The low ratio was also problematic because of the substantial number of conscripts deployed to Ukraine, who were ineffective and suffered from poor morale. Russian conscripts are generally prohibited from serving in military operations abroad except when Moscow formally declares war, unless they volunteer as soldiers. Still, their compulsory service typically lasts for only a year, and conscripts have generally not been effective fighters.39 Russian soldiers were given limited advanced notice that they were going to invade Ukraine, undermining readiness and logistics planning.40

Third, Russian forces failed to conduct basic maneuver warfare against Ukrainian forces, preferring instead to bombard Ukrainian cities and villages in a war of attrition.41 Problems on the ground were complicated by Russia’s broader failure to conduct an effective combined arms campaign and to synchronize effects. Russia’s challenges raised serious questions about its competence in fire and maneuver. For example, where were the Russian infantry that were supposed to target Ukrainian ambushes? Where was the fire from artillery, mortars, and close air support that was supposed to suppress Ukrainian anti-tank guided munitions?42

Part of the challenge may have been poor leadership within the Russian army and a highly centralized Russian command and control structure that lacked a professional corps of noncommissioned officers. There were also signs of declining professionalism in the Russian officer corps, including prohibiting drivers from evacuating wounded Russian soldiers to preserve military equipment.43

The quality of Ukrainian forces was a major change from Syria, where Russia, Syria, Iran, Lebanese Hezbollah, and militia units from Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestinian territory, and other areas faced a relatively weak mix of insurgents. Russian mechanized formations in northern Ukraine were targeted by lethal Ukrainian light infantry armed with modern weapon systems, such as the Javelin anti-tank missile system, Next Generation Light Anti-Tank Weapon (NLAW), and Stugna-P anti-tank guided-missile system.

Ukrainian attacks during Russia’s initial advance also made the Russians unwilling to push sensitive electronic warfare and air-defense systems into Ukraine in case they were captured. Consequently, Russia had to back off on its electronic suppression of Ukrainian radar and communications. Senior Russian officers began to deploy forward, where they became targets for snipers and artillery strikes. In addition, Russian forces encountered numerous command and control problems, including a paucity of secure communications, which undermined their ability to synchronize and coordinate attacks. Russian soldiers frequently used unencrypted communications—including civilian cell phones—which allowed Ukrainian intelligence and military units to target them.44

Russian difficulties in seizing territory created problems in the maritime domain. On April 13, for example, Ukrainian forces struck the RTS Moskva, a guided-missile cruiser that was the flagship vessel of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, with Neptune anti-ship missiles.45 The Russian navy lost several other ships to Ukrainian stand-off attacks, including the RTS Saratov, an Alligator-class landing ship; two Raptor-class patrol boats; and a Serna-class landing craft. Ukrainian Bayraktar TB2 UAVs apparently sank the patrol boats and landing craft.46

Cyber and Space Challenges: Russia conducted multiple cyber operations, including cyberattacks and espionage operations, in concert with Russian land, air, and maritime attacks. A day before the military invasion, for example, cyberattackers associated with the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) launched destructive wiper attacks on hundreds of systems in the Ukrainian government and in Ukraine’s energy, information technology, media, and financial sectors. Russia’s goal was likely to undermine Ukraine’s political will, weaken Ukraine’s ability to fight, and collect intelligence that Russia could use to gain tactical, operational, and strategic advantages. Over the next several weeks, Russian actors linked to the GRU, Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), and Federal Security Service (FSB) conducted numerous cyberattacks utilizing such malware families as:

  • WhisperGate / Whisper/Kill
  • The worst outcome for Ukraine
  • FoxBlade (or Hermetic Wiper)
  • SonicVote (or HermeticRansom)
  • CaddyWiper
  • DesertBlade
  • Industroyer2
  • Lasainraw (or IsaacWiper)
  • FiberLake (or DoubleZero)47

These types of malware are designed to do a range of malicious activities, such as overwriting data and rendering machines unbootable, deleting data, and destroying—or attempting to destroy—critical infrastructure, such as industrial production and processes. Russian-linked hackers used a range of common intrusion techniques, such as exploiting public-facing web-based applications, sending spear phishing e-mails with attachments or links, and stealing credentials and using valid e-mail accounts. Over the first month and a half of the war, more than 40 percent of Russia’s destructive cyberattacks were aimed at Ukrainian critical infrastructure sectors, while another 32 percent targeted Ukrainian government sites.48

Russia also conducted an electronic warfare campaign against Ukrainian forces. Over the previous few years, Russia had invested heavily in electronic warfare systems capable of shutting down communications and signals across a broad spectrum. This capability is grouped under the concept of the Radio Electronic Battery.49 In the early morning of February 24, 2022, for example, Russia jammed Ukrainian air defense radar across all frequency bands. Russian E95M UAVs, which simulated Russian aircraft, harassed Ukrainian radar to draw out their air defenses.50

Nevertheless, cyber was largely a bust for Russia in the war. The Russian military faced considerable operational challenges, in part because of outside state and non-state assistance to Ukraine to identify cyber and electronic warfare attacks, attribute the perpetrators, and assist with remediation. Some Western governments, including U.S. Cyber Command and the National Security Agency, provided help to the Ukrainian government. As General Paul Nakasone, commander of U.S. Cyber Command and director of the National Security Agency, remarked, “Coordinating with the Ukrainians in an effort to help them harden their networks, we deployed a hunt team who sat side-by-side with our partners to gain critical insights that have increased homeland defense for both the United States and Ukraine.”51

Private sector firms also responded. Microsoft worked closely with the Ukrainian government and cybersecurity staff from other governments and private companies to identify and remediate Russian threat activity against Ukrainian networks before and after the Russian invasion.52 In January 2022, the Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center identified wiper malware in over a dozen Ukrainian networks and alerted the Ukrainian government.53 Microsoft established a secure line of communication with Ukrainian cyber officials to provide real-time threat information and offer technical support to assist Ukrainian efforts to identify and defeat Russian-linked cyberattacks over the course of the war.54 Microsoft worked with Ukrainian government officials to enable controlled folder access, a Microsoft Defender feature, and helped Ukraine run endpoint detection and response solutions.55

In addition, Elon Musk’s company SpaceX activated Starlink—a satellite internet constellation that provides high-speed, low-latency broadband internet using advanced satellites in low earth orbit—in Ukraine and sent additional network terminals, including over 10,000 dish antennas.56 Starlink enabled members of the Ukrainian military to carry out sophisticated intelligence collection and fire support operations against Russian positions.57 Many of the Starlink kits donated to Ukraine included a 23-inch-wide receiver dish that needed to be mounted outside, as well as a cord that connected to a simple router that projected a Wi-Fi internet signal.58 Starlink helped blunt Russia’s attempt to jam signals, block the internet, and undermine Ukrainian command and control capabilities.

Implications for the Future

What do these lessons indicate about the future of the war in Ukraine? This analysis suggests that Russia made significant mistakes during the planning and execution phases of its military campaigns in Ukraine, which will be difficult to fix quickly. The Russian air force is not likely to possess air superiority over Ukraine, and it has run low on stocks of long-range, precision-guided munitions. Russia will also likely face long-term supply chain challenges for some weapons systems because of Western economic sanctions.

In addition, the tendency of poorly trained Russian forces to conduct massive bombardments of towns and cities in a war of attrition, rather than conducting basic fire and maneuver, will make it difficult to seize and hold substantial territory against entrenched Ukrainian ground units with Western weapons systems and a pipeline of Western logistical support. Russian cyber and electronic warfare capabilities have largely been neutralized by effective Ukrainian countermeasures, with help from Western state and non-state entities. These and other challenges contributed to high attrition rates for the Russian military, including the partial or complete destruction of at least 1,000 main battle tanks, 350 pieces of artillery, 36 fixed-wing aircraft, and 50 helicopters.59

However, Russia will likely make some adjustments over the course of the war, including improving logistics. For example, Russia’s decision during the second phase of the war to regroup along a southern and eastern front improved Russian lines of communication. Russian forces constructed and reinforced some railheads, bridges, and roads, and Russian naval successes along the Sea of Azov allowed Russian ships to resupply Russian forces by water. These adjustments improved Russia’s ability to move spare parts, munitions, fuel, and other matériel to forward-deployed Russian forces. Yet many of Russia’s failures will require years of changes and will force the Russian military to rethink its training, organizational structure, culture, and planning to improve readiness and military performance.

Still, the war in Ukraine is likely to be protracted. For the Kremlin, the status quo is likely to be unacceptable. Not only has the Russian military failed to achieve most of its objectives, but Ukraine continues to move closer militarily, economically, and politically to the West. Even worse for Moscow, NATO is likely to expand to Finland and Sweden. Russia has a recent history of attempting to grind out military victories. Following Russia’s failures during the First Chechen War (1994–1996), for example, Putin paused to revamp Russian strategy, operations, and tactics.60 In 1999, Russia restarted offensive operations and was much more successful in defeating insurgents during the Second Chechen War (1999–2009).61

The status quo is also unlikely to be acceptable for Ukrainian leaders, including President Volodymyr Zelensky, who indicated they are unwilling to allow more of their territory to be annexed.62 Since 2014, Russia has illegally annexed salami slices of Ukrainian territory, first in Crimea, then in eastern Ukraine, and finally in larger areas of southern and eastern Ukraine. In a May 2022 opinion poll, 82 percent of Ukrainians responded that Ukraine should not hand over any of its territory to Russia as part of a peace deal.63

But winning back territory will be difficult for Ukraine. As Figures 3a, 3b, and 3c highlight at Kherson Air Base near Crimea, Russian forces have become entrenched in Ukraine with main battle tanks, self-propelled artillery, electronic warfare systems, multiple rocket launchers, armored fighting vehicles, sophisticated air defense systems, and other systems. Russia has also constructed defensive fighting positions to make it difficult for Ukraine to counterattack.

Figure 3a: Main Battle Tanks and Self-Propelled Artillery, Kherson Air Base, Ukraine

220601_KhersonAirbase_imagery_3a_updated

Figure 3b: Multiple Rocket Launchers, Kherson Air Base, Ukraine

220601_KhersonAirbase_imagery_3b_updated

Figure 3c: Defensive Fighting Positions, Kherson Air Base, Ukraine

220601_KhersonAirbase_imagery_3c_updated

Without a peace deal between Ukraine and Russia, a major U.S. and Western military objective should be to provide sufficient military assistance to help Ukraine retake territory in the east and south. If the United States and the West want to shift the balance of power in Ukraine’s favor, they will need to provide Ukraine with more weapons and platforms that allow the Ukrainian military to conduct offensive operations and more effective counterattacks against dug-in Russian forces over a sustained period. Examples include UAVs with a longer range and higher payload than the Bayraktar TB2 or AeroVironment Switchblade loitering munition, such as the MQ-1C Gray Eagle; main battle tanks, such as the Leopard 2 heavy battle tank; medium- and long-range missile systems, such as the HIMARS multiple-launch rocket system; and fighter aircraft, such as Su-25s.

Most of these systems will require additional training and a steady supply of munitions and spare parts, which should be feasible with a protracted war. More advanced weapons and platforms will be critical to overrun entrenched Russian forces. In addition, Ukraine needs to conduct a sustained guerilla campaign behind Russian lines that involves ambushes, raids, sabotage, and subversion against Russian forces and political leaders hand-picked by Moscow to replace local Ukrainian officials.

The worst outcome for Ukraine would be allowing Russia to de facto annex more Ukrainian territory. As Winston Churchill remarked on the eve of World War II, appeasement only increases a dictator’s appetite: “And do not suppose that this is the end. This is only the beginning of the reckoning. This is only the first sip, the first foretaste of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year by year unless by a supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigour, we arise again and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.”64

Over the past eight years, Moscow has seized larger portions of Ukrainian territory and tried to overthrow the government. There is little probability that Vladimir Putin will stop now.

Seth G. Jones is senior vice president and director of the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C., and author most recently of Three Dangerous Men: Russia, China, Iran, and the Rise of Irregular Warfare (W.W. Norton, 2021).

The author gives special thanks to Grace Hwang, Kateryna Halstead, Jared Thompson, and Catrina Doxsee for their help with research and analysis, particularly with the battlefield map. In addition, thanks to Mark Cancian, Ben Jensen, Michelle Macander, and Danielle Ngo for their helpful comments on an early draft of the document.

This brief is made possible by general support to CSIS. No direct sponsorship contributed to this brief.

CSIS Briefs are produced by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a private, tax-exempt institution focusing on international public policy issues. Its research is nonpartisan and nonproprietary. CSIS does not take specific policy positions. Accordingly, all views, positions, and conclusions expressed in this publication should be understood to be solely those of the author(s).

© 2022 by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. All rights reserved.

Please consult the PDF for references.

220601_Jones_Russia%27s_Ill-Fated_Invasi

Putin rushed to Kremlin for mystery late-night meeting

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The Russian president made a late-night dash to his Government office amid speculation he was pre-recording a major announcement.

Video shows Vladimir Putin’s Aurus limousine speeding down the road in Moscow, escorted by police at around 11pm on Saturday night.

The president’s spokesperson denied Putin was set to make an emergency meeting or was in crisis meetings regarding the Ukraine war.

Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov told TASS: ‘No. Everything is not like that. Everything is normal.’

He would not however be drawn on the reason behind Putin’s late-night meeting.

It came right after talks with Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko in St Petersburg, where Putin agreed to supply advanced nuclear-capable arms to the country.

The president of Belarus had called the behaviour of neighbouring countries Lithuania and Poland ‘aggressive’, ‘confrontational’ and ‘repulsive’.

Putin was quoted as saying: ‘We will transfer Iskander-M tactical missile systems to Belarus, which can use both ballistic and cruise missiles, both in conventional and nuclear versions.’

Soon after the meeting Russian warplanes bombarded Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities for the first time in three weeks, using Belarusian airspace.

Ukraine’s military intelligence agency fears this move is ‘directly connected to attempts by the Kremlin to drag Belarus into the war’.

Putin has previously pre-recorded major announcements in the Kremlin, which are released to the public at a later date.

When he launched his ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine at night on February 24 it is thought he had pre-recorded the announcement.

Ukrainian officials have expressed concern a new message may announce an escalation in hostilities against the country.

‘Late at night on Saturday Putin suddenly drove into the Kremlin,’ said Anton Gerashchenko.

‘Details: Peskov denied suggestions that appeared in the media that it was linked to an emergency meeting, and said that “everything was normal”.’

Putin does not live in the Kremlin but at an official residence out of town, and over the summer is often in Sochi, on the Black Sea.

So the sight of him arriving at the Kremlin late on a Saturday night was considered unusual.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

For more stories like this, check our news page.

Russia Says Putin Will Be Part Of G20 Summit—Setting Stage For Showdown With Western Leaders

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Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to participate in this year’s Group of 20 Summit, the Kremlin said Monday, setting up a potentially dramatic first meeting between Putin and his critics since he ordered the invasion of Ukraine in February.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, meets with President Joe Biden last June in Geneva. The … [+] leaders’ next meeting is sure to be less cordial.

Getty Images

Yuri Asharov, an advisor to Putin, confirmed the plans to Russian state media but said it is still being determined whether Putin will travel to the summit in-person, citing Covid-19 concerns.

The G20 Summit will be held in Bali, Indonesia, over November 15 and16 and will bring together leaders from 19 countries and the European Union.

Indonesian President Joko Wodido said in April he invited Putin to the summit and also extended a special invite to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, whose country isn’t a member of G20.

The meeting would be the first known contact between Putin and Zelensky or President Joe Biden or since the war began.

The G20 comprises 20 of the most influential world economies, including the U.S., Russia, Japan and China. Biden last spoke with Putin during a February 12 phone call, 12 days before Russia invaded its neighbor, and he last met with Putin in person in June, 2021, during a summit in Geneva. Biden called for Russia’s removal from the G20 in March. Zelensky said last month he planned to attend the summit but said he hoped there would be “no occupiers” at the event, a clear nod to his disapproval of the Putin invitation. Sanctions stemming from the invasion have largely isolated Russia from the global economy, though G20 members like Brazil, China India and South Africa have strengthened their trade ties with Russia.

Crucial Quote

“I think it’s better if he does come to tell him to his face what we think,” the EU’s European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told German broadcaster ZDF on Sunday, according to a translation from Politico. She continued on to say she thinks the summit should go on even if Putin is in attendance, explaining G20 is too important to “be broken by Putin.”

Tangent

At an ongoing summit in Germany, Group of Seven leaders reportedly neared an agreement to set a limit on the price for which Russia can sell its oil on the international market. The G7 comprises Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan, the U.K., and the U.S., which are all also members of G20.

G-7 Leaders Nearing Price Cap On Russian Oil Funding Putin’s War Chest (Forbes)

Russia’s Oligarch Wives Claim Putin Is Suffering From a Secret Illness

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Paramount+According to everyone featured in Secrets of the Oligarch Wives, Vladimir Putin is a ruthless, greedy, sociopathic monster who cares only about his own power, wealth, and legacy as a titan who united and restored the glory of Mother Russia. The ongoing war in Ukraine, as well as the continued imprisonment and mistreatment of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, corroborates those claims, although the true hook of the Paramount+ documentary about the Russian president is its insider commen

Putin speculation sparked by dramatic Kremlin video

Video showing a motorcade racing towards the Kremlin building has sparked speculation about Vladimir Putin, forcing the Russian government to issue a denial.

The 38-second video shared on Saturday showed several vehicles with flashing lights heading towards the Kremlin, the seat of Russian government, in central Moscow, as bystanders watched on.

The footage was captured in Manezhnaya Street at 11 p.m. local time, according to Russian language Telegram channel vckogpu.

It said, in a post translated into English via Google: “Usually such night visits to something important. Especially against the background of topics discussed with [Belarussian President Alexander] Lukashenko.”

Photo of Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin seen at the plenary session during the Saint Petersburg Economic Forum SPIEF 2022, on June 17, 2022 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The video sparked speculation across social media. GettyThe clip (shown above) has been widely shared on Telegram, including by U.S.-based channels that promote conspiracy theories. Many of those who shared the clip questioned why the motorcade would race to the Kremlin late at night.

Mounting speculation that Putin had arrived at the Kremlin to give an emergency statement elicited a denial by the Russian government.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told Russian state news agency TASS on Sunday: “No, that’s not true,” when approached for comment.

Newsweek has contacted the Kremlin.

Kyiv officials said on on Saturday that Russia had launched strikes on Ukraine from Belarus for the first time.

Putin announced, also on Saturday, that Moscow would supply Belarus with a missile system capable of carrying nuclear weapons, according to Reuters.

During a meeting with the Russian President in the Baltic Sea port city of St. Petersburg, Lukashenko said he was concerned about the “confrontational” policies of its neighbors Lithuania and Poland. Both countries are members of NATO and the European Union.

Reuters reported a foreign ministry summary of the meeting quoted Putin as saying: “We will transfer Iskander-M tactical missile systems to Belarus, which can use both ballistic and cruise missiles, both in conventional and nuclear versions.”

Russian missiles reportedly struck a residential building and a kindergarten in the Ukrainian capital early on Sunday.

Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko said several people had been injured and added: “They (rescuers) have pulled out a seven-year-old girl,” Reuters reported.

“Now they’re trying to rescue her mother. There are people under the rubble.”

Ukraine’s police chief Ihor Klymenko said five people had been wounded in the blast.

Ukraine’s Foreign Secretary, Dmytro Kuleba, cited the death of the 7-year-old as he sent a message to world leaders at the G7 summit, taking place in Germany this weekend.

Sharing a picture showing the girl on a stretcher, he tweeted: “This 7 y.o. Ukrainian kid was sleeping peacefully in Kyiv until a Russian cruise missile blasted her home. Many more around Ukraine are under strikes.

“G7 summit must respond with more sanctions on Russia and more heavy arms for Ukraine. Russia’s sick imperialism must be defeated.”

Россия нанесла удар по Кременчугу. Пострадал торговый центр, в котором находилось около тысячи людей

27 июня 2022, 14:27 GMTОбновлено минуту назад

Приложение Русской службы BBC News доступно для IOS и Android. Вы можете также подписаться на наш канал в Telegram.

Горящий торговый центр (фото украинской службы по чрезвычайным ситуациям)Автор фото, ГСЧС Украины

Подпись к фото,Горящий торговый центр (фото украинской службы по чрезвычайным ситуациям)

Президент Украины Владимир Зеленский сообщил, что российская армия нанесла ракетный удар по торговому центру в городе Кременчуг в Полтавской области. По его словам, в центре находилось больше тысячи гражданских.

“ТРЦ пылает, спасатели занимаются тушением пожара, число жертв невозможно даже представить”, – написал Зеленский и опубликовал видео с места происшествия, на котором виден охваченный пламенем торговый центр. “Никакой стратегической ценности. Только попытки людей жить нормальной жизнью, что так злит оккупантов”, – добавил президент.

Автор фото, Facebook/Владимир Зеленский

Подпись к фото,Кадр из видео, опубликованного президентом Зеленским

Ранее глава Полтавской областной администрации Дмитрий Лунин сообщил, что по Кременчугу был нанесен удар. По словам мэра Кременчуга Виталия Малецкого, попадание было “в очень людное место, которое на 100% не имеет отношения к военным действиям”.

В местных телеграм-каналах пишут о столбах дыма над городом и большом числе погибших.

Как сообщает Государственная служба Украины по чрезвычайным ситуациям и Лунин, пока подтверждена гибель двух человек, двадцать человек получили ранения, девять из них – в тяжелом состоянии.

Спасательная служба пишет, что площадь пожара составляет больше 10 тысяч кв.м, его тушат 115 пожарных на 20 машинах. К месту происшествия отправлен пожарный поезд.

Глава Офиса президента Украины Андрей Ермак заявил по поводу удара по кременчугскому торговому центру, что Россию следует признать государством, поддерживающим терроризм.

Подпись к фото,Пожар тушат больше сотни пожарных

“Кременчуг. Людное место, обычный день. Россияне ударили ракетами по торговому центру. Они говорили, что будут бить по центрам принятия решений. Но самое больное воображение не догадалось бы, что такими центрами они считают торговые […] Нам нужно больше оружия, чтобы защитить наших людей, нужны системы ПВО. Россия должна быть признана государством-спонсором терроризма”, – написал Ермак.

Как сообщают разные украинские источники, удар пришелся по кременчугскому торговому центру сети “Амстор”. Он расположен в центре города. В трехстах метрах от него – железнодорожный вокзал Кременчуга.

Автор фото, Дмитрий Лунин

Подпись к фото,Вечером понедельника пожар еще тушили

Глава Полтавской областной админстрации Дмитрий Лунин в седьмом часу вечера написал с места событий, что тушение очагов пожара внутри ТРЦ еще продолжается. “Ситуация сложная, но пожар не распространяется”, – сообщил Лунин.

Предварительная оценка числа погибших и раненых пока остается, по словам Лунина, прежней: двое погибших и 20 госпитализированных.

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Putin’s 56th colonel and ‘40 soldiers’ killed in first strikes on Russian targets using US-supplied HIMARS missiles

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VLADIMIR PUTIN has lost his 56th colonel and 40 soldiers after they were hit by missiles supplied by the US.

Paratrooper commander Col. Andrei Vasilyev, 49, was allegedly killed in the attack on Friday night.

Colonel Andrey Vasilyev is reportedly the latest of Putin's commanders to die in the war

Colonel Andrey Vasilyev is reportedly the latest of Putin’s commanders to die in the war

Reports said the newly supplied US HIMARS missiles were responsible for the strikes

Reports said the newly supplied US HIMARS missiles were responsible for the strikes

Reported footage of the Ukrainian army's first use of US HIMARS missiles in Izyum

Reported footage of the Ukrainian army’s first use of US HIMARS missiles in IzyumAnd reports said that a newly-supplied US medium range HIMARS missile was responsible for taking out more Kremlin targets as the war rages on.

If confirmed, his death was one of the first from the new 43-mile-range weapons sent to Ukraine by President Joe Biden. 

Vasilyev was reportedly in an advanced command post of the Russian army’s airborne assault troops, but the location was not specified. 

He was commander of the 137th Guards Airborne Regiment of the 106th Guards Airborne Division, based in Ryazan.

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Married with a daughter, he had been awarded the Russian Order of Courage on other honours. 

Footage shows the launch of the first HIMARS missiles in Ukraine late last week. 

It is unclear if this is the strike that killed Vasilyev in the Friday attack.

A separate HIMARS attack on Izyum, Kharkiv region hit a Russian command post, killing or wounding 40-plus, say Ukraine. 

The 55th colonel to die was Lt-Col Sergey Gundorov, 51, whose helicopter was seen crashing in an inferno near Volnovakha in the Donbas, after being hit with a portable surface-to-air missile. 

His stricken Mi-35 touched the ground before cartwheeling over a narrow strip of woodland and crashing in a fireball in a field. 

Putin has also lost at least 11 generals.

Overall Russian losses are believed to be in excess of 30,000, with some estimates of nearer to 50,000.

And Monday marked 124 days since Putin’s troops invaded Ukraine on February 24.

Despite the successful HIMARS airstrike, Ukraine are currently under severe fire with fresh attacks launched on Kyiv.

Russian missiles recently rained down on the capital, killing at least one person just hours after Putin rushed to a sudden late-night meeting in Kremlin.

The strike on Kyiv is only one of the attacks in Ukraine as 48 cruise missiles were launched on civilian targets across the country.

The neighbouring  eastern cities of Lysychansk and Severodonetsk faced the brunt of the attacks on Friday night, with the latter now under full Russian occupation.

And rockets hit military bases, civilian infrastructure and residential neighbourhoods including the northeastern village of Andriivka on Friday night.

More attacks continued to rain down the city of Kharkiv as Kremlin forces carried out a new round of heavy bombardment.

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The fresh attack comes after Putin’s mysterious late-night meeting on Saturday amid suspicions he has prepared a new televised statement on the war in Ukraine and tensions with the West.

Meanwhile Boris Johnson and Canada’s Justin Trudeau mocked Putin as world leaders gathered for the annual G7 talks.

The first of the HIMARS missiles were launched late last week

The first of the HIMARS missiles were launched late last week

A separate HIMARS attack on Kharkiv hit a Russian command post, killing or wounding 40-plus, say Ukraine

A separate HIMARS attack on Kharkiv hit a Russian command post, killing or wounding 40-plus, say Ukraine

Everything you need to know about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine…

Russian missile strike on Ukrainian mall kills at least 2, wounds 20 – Kyiv

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Rescuers work at a site of a shopping mall hit by a Russian missile strike, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in Kremenchuk, in Poltava region, Ukraine June 27, 2022. Press service of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine/Handout via REUTERS

KYIV, June 27 (Reuters) – A Russian missile strike hit a crowded shopping centre in the central Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk on Monday, killing at least two people and wounding 20, senior Ukrainian officials said.

Footage circulated by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy showed a huge blaze raging in a sprawling building and dark smoke billowing into the sky as onlookers stood outside. Reuters could not immediately verify the footage.

Zelenskiy said more than 1,000 people were in the shopping centre at the time of the attack. He gave no details of casualties but said: “It is impossible to even imagine the number of victims.”

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A rescue operation was under way and nine of the wounded were in a serious condition, said Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the presidential office.

“It’s useless to hope for decency and humanity from Russia,” Zelenskiy wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

Kremenchuk, an industrial city of 217,000 before Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, lies on the Dnipro river in the region of Poltava and is the site of Ukraine’s biggest oil refinery. read more

There was no immediate comment from Russia, which denies deliberately targeting civilians.

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Reporting by Pavel Polityuk and Max Hunder, Writing by Tom Balmforth, Editing by Timothy Heritage

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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Europe: Putin’s aggressive autocracy reduces Russian soft power to ashes – FT

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Europe: Putin’s aggressive autocracy reduces Russian soft power to ashes
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The writer is an FT contributing editor and chair of the Centre for Liberal Strategies, Sofia, and fellow at IWM Vienna

Rumour has it that, asked who are Vladimir Putin’s most trusted advisers, one of his inner circle replied drily: “Ivan the Terrible, Catherine the Great and Peter the Great.”

Last week, Russia’s president openly compared himself to Peter, and the invasion of Ukraine with the tsar’s expansionist wars of three centuries ago. To an untrained eye, his actions can easily look like an effort to restore the Soviet Union, or even the tsarist empire.

In reality, what is unfolding is a perverted end of the last European empire. The so-called russky mir, or “Russian world”, conceived as something culturally bigger than the Russian Federation, is being sacrificed on the altar of autocracy and Russian ethnicity. This vision is shorn of any appeal to universal values and all attractiveness to Russia’s neighbours. Putin’s desperate attempt to grab Ukrainian lands is a show of strength that comes at the cost of the collapse of Moscow’s soft power. With the assault on Ukraine, he has cut Russia’s ties to Europe by making Europeans disgusted with the country.

A new report from the European Council on Foreign Relations, based on a pan-European opinion poll, suggests the break with Russia is irreversible, at least in the short and medium term. A majority of Europeans have lost any illusions about integrating Russia into their world. Many support cutting economic, cultural and even diplomatic ties with Russia. Western sanctions have failed to change Russian foreign policy, but they have forced European governments to part with the idea that Moscow can ever be a reliable partner to the west.

In terms of soft power, the invasion of Ukraine has achieved two things: a decisive end to any lingering post-Soviet identity, and the degradation of Moscow’s use of the Soviet victory over Hitler as part of its national mythology and international reputation.

Before Russia’s annexation of Crimea, many Russian-speakers in Ukraine went about their lives not needing to ask if they were Russian or Ukrainian. Their passports didn’t define their identity. Now, when Russian troops kill thousands of people for insisting they are not Russian but Ukrainian, any semblance of a post-Soviet identity is gone forever.

War in Ukraine is not Putin’s Soviet moment but his anti-Soviet one. On the day he launched it, he spoke like some White general from the Russian civil war, not the Red colonel he actually was before the fall of communism. He declared Russians the real victims of the Soviet regime and Ukraine a fiction, an entity invented by Vladimir Lenin.

In building his autocracy, Putin has laid waste to the “Russian world”. This is best seen in the field of culture. Empires are most often born on the battlefield, but they die in the bookstore.

Only a decade ago, Russian-language sections were the densest in many Ukrainian bookstores. No longer. After the war, there will quite likely be no Russian-language sections at all. In European cities where, until this year, most people could hardly distinguish Russians from Ukrainians and Belarusians, they have now learnt that difference. For many Ukrainians on the streets of Warsaw or Berlin, it is a political statement to speak Russian. We can be sure that many of their children will never want or bother to learn the language.

The Russian language’s role in European cultural life may turn out to be another victim of Putin’s invasion. The Bolshevik revolution and the communist regime that followed killed millions, but they failed to extinguish foreigners’ interest in the Slavic tongue. Many leftists in the west and the global south saw Russian as the language of the revolution and were eager to learn it.

Putin’s colonial war in Ukraine will not tempt people outside Russia to start learning Russian. Quite the contrary. Moscow’s provocative definition of Russian-speakers in neighbouring countries as ethnically Russian dramatically diminishes the willingness of governments in these countries to encourage Russian-language education.

Before the war, Moscow’s middle class and Putin’s oligarchs thought and acted as if they belonged to both the Russian and the western world. Such an “amphibious” life is no longer possible. Barricaded identities are replacing multiple affiliations. In Russia, being “Russian” is now defined by genuine or feigned public support for Putin’s war with the west. In the west, being Russian is increasingly identified with not belonging to the west. Many Russians living outside Russia today feel like exiles.

Changing the nature of the border, and not simply the place of the border, between Russia and the west is the major objective of Putin’s war. Tragically, he is achieving that goal.


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Berlin crash: Attack on capital’s streets was ‘cruel rampage’ – Scholz – BBC

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Local media has reported that the suspect, who has been identified as a German-Armenian man who lives in the city, is co-operating with investigators. However, Ms Giffey cautioned that he has made a series of “confused statements”.

Berlin crash: Attack on capital’s streets was ‘cruel rampage’ – Scholz  BBC

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Michael Novakhov retweeted: СБУ обвиняет в госизмене членов “временной администрации Харьковской области”

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Управление Службы безопасности Украины по Харьковской области заочно уведомило о статусе подозреваемых по делу о государственной измене группу из восьми человек, в том числе мэра города Купянск Геннадия Мацегору и бывшего заместителя начальника районного управления милиции Виталия Ганчева. Об этом сообщает “Интерфакс-Украина” со ссылкой на пресс-службу Харьковской областной прокуратуры.

По данным досудебного следствия, эти восемь человек 3 июня в Купянске подписали протокол о создании российской оккупационной администрации под названием “временная гражданская администрация Харьковской области”.

Ганчеву, Мацегоре и ещё двум членам этой группы Максиму Губину и Владиславу Соколову уже было сообщено о статусе подозреваемых в госизмене и коллаборационной деятельности. Все они, по сведениям СБУ и прокуратуры, помогали российским войскам и занимали должности в администрациях захваченных россиянами украинских городов. Так, по данным прокуратуры, в посёлке Казачья Лопань Ганчев помогал российским военным разыскивать украинских военнослужащих, местных волонтёров и активистов.

Пресс-секретарь Государственного бюро расследований Украины Татьяна Сапьян рассказала в ходе телемарафона украинских каналов, что ведомство возбудило уже почти 480 дел против украинцев, сотрудничающих с российскими военными и властями.

Michael Novakhov retweeted:

СБУ обвиняет в госизмене членов “временной администрации Харьковской области”


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Henry Kissinger’s Long History of Appeasing Dictatorships – The Dispatch

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Henry Kissinger’s Long History of Appeasing Dictatorships  The Dispatch

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(Photograph by Adam Berry/Getty Images.)

Speaking at the Davos, former U.S. Secretary of State and National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger counseled Ukraine to cede Russia territory in order to end the war. “Ideally, the dividing line should be a return to the status quo ante,” he said last month. “Pursuing the war beyond that point would not be about the freedom of Ukraine, but a new war against Russia itself.” Make no mistake: Kissinger is wrong. Rather than bring peace, his advice would spark future conflict by teaching Russia that aggression brings rewards. Kissinger’s remarks did not come from nowhere, however. He has spent more than two decades excusing Moscow’s abuse of its neighbors while forging a personal friendship with Vladimir Putin.

Kissinger has long been the prince of so-called “realism.” For decades before his secret 1971 visit, Communist China was an international pariah. Kissinger brokered rapprochement, however, to make common cause against the Soviet Union. He later argued China was simply the lesser of two evils. “The difference between [China] and the Russians is,” he quipped, “if you drop some loose change, when you go to pick it up, the Russians will step on your fingers and the Chinese won’t.”

After the Cold War, Kissinger began to advocate a far softer line toward the Russians. More than two decades ago, Kissinger said, “I believed that the Soviet Union should not abandon Eastern Europe so quickly.” Russian President Vladimir Putin seized upon the comment as intellectual sustenance.  The two men then met regularly. Kissinger, who called Putin a “great patriot,” hosted the Russian leader at his house in New York for dinner. Putin reciprocated and flattered Kissinger for his knowledge of Russian culture and made him honorary professor of the Diplomatic Academy of Russia.

For Putin, Kissinger became a useful tool given the esteem with which so many in Washington held the former secretary. Before Russia’s invasion of Georgia, Kissinger characterized the Kremlin’s foreign policy under Putin “as driven in a quest for a reliable strategic partner, with America being the preferred choice” and urged America to “show greater sensitivity to Russian complexities.” When Putin invaded the former Soviet Republic in August 2008, Kissinger dismissed it as a “crisis,” not a war, and advised that “isolating Russia is not a sustainable long-range policy.” Kissinger’s trust in Putin appears to have colored President Barack Obama’s embrace of a “reset” with Russia that, in turn, allowed Russia to act with impunity and obscured the threat Putin posed. 

In 2014, as Russia began its encroachment on Ukraine, Kissinger advised that “to Russia, Ukraine can never be just a foreign country.” The United States should be more deferential to Putin’s point of view, he warned, and “avoid treating Russia as an aberrant to be patiently taught rules of conduct established by Washington.” In effect, compromise with the Kremlin trumped the post-World War II European order, based on prohibiting armed aggression against sovereign neighbors.

Unfortunately, accommodating aggressive dictatorships is a staple of Kissinger’s wisdom. While he often warns about the dangers of a nuclear Iran, his policy prescriptions often undercut pressure on Tehran. In 2006, less than five years after George W. Bush labeled Iran as part of an “Axis of Evil,” Kissinger turned repeatedly to the Washington Post to urge compromise. Two years later, he suggested Washington could do business with Tehran. Iran’s state-controlled press headlined counsel that the Bush administration “should be prepared to negotiate about Iran.” Here, too, his soft spot for Russia undercut his analysis. He repeatedly argued, for example, that Russia would be America’s ally against Iran’s nuclearization. In reality, the Kremlin has been among its greatest facilitators.

If Kissinger undermined pressure against Iran’s leaders, his lackadaisical attitude toward China’s rise has been even more bizarre. A half-century ago, he ingratiated himself to Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai by badmouthing Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, leader of the world’s most populous democracy. To this day, Indians resent how he threw them under the bus less than a decade after China’s land grabs in Kashmir and Ladakh.  Zhou, meanwhile, cultivated friends to be unwitting intelligence assets and agents of influence. As the Spectator observed in its exposé of Kissinger’s subsequent relationship with China, “The best agents … are the ones who don’t know they are agents.”

Kissinger’s friendship with China was multifaceted and profitable. Five years after leaving Foggy Bottom, Kissinger formed Kissinger Associates in part to facilitate the entrance of American business into China. He gathered top diplomats and national security officials and used his and their collective influence among the foreign policy and business elite—especially those who aspired a share of the China gold rush—to launder the Communist regime’s image. This was crucial in the aftermath of the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy uprising that China crushed. For a short time, there was bipartisan recognition of the threat an authoritarian China prosed. Behind the scenes, though, Kissinger urged George H.W. Bush to mute his response, avoid sanctions, and cease efforts to isolate China. Soon, American investment resumed.

Kissinger is not the first statesman to make moral compromises after leaving office. Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder famously joined Gazprom, the Russian energy firm, after leaving office, not only cashing in on his former office but also using his stature to downplay concerns about the Kremlin’s intentions. Kissinger might have served honorably, but it is time that Americans who prioritize democracy and liberalism ask whether Kissinger has effectively become the American Schröder.

Ivana Stradner is an adviser at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Michael Rubin is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.


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The Satanist Neo-Nazi Plot to Murder U.S. Soldiers: A rogue G.I.’s trial exposes the depths of a murderous far-right ideology — and the FBI’s complicity in spreading hate

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U.S. Army Soldier Plotted 'Mass Casualty' Attack on His Own Unit With  Satanic Neo-Nazi Group, Feds Say

Ethan Phelan Melzer’s secret life of hate ran deep. The 24-year-old private in the 173rd Airborne Brigade appeared to be just another young soldier, trying to find his way through military life at Fort Benning, Georgia. However, in his private time, prosecutors allege, Melzer had another, sinister side: He said he liked to perform macabre blood rituals; read obscure, gruesome tracts about torture and child abuse; collected violent iconography; and found like minds in the depths of Telegram, an encrypted messaging app so favored by extremists of all stripes that it is often referred to as “Terrorgram.” His handle was “Etil Reggad” — a near anadrome for “Elite Dagger.”

By Melzer’s own account, enlisting in the Army was a ruse — on the encrypted app, he wrote that he had joined up solely to gain knowledge of military weaponry and tactics. “It’s great for training,” he wrote, adding a cryptic remark about his base. “All of these places the vast majority deserve to be burned.”

Melzer repeatedly trash-talked the Army and described it as merely a means to hone his violent skills. “I’m not patriotic for shit,” he wrote to another radical who was considering enlisting in the Marines. Telegram chats disclosed by the government in court filings reveal his efforts to mask his true beliefs: “I fly under the radar already, act completely normal around other people outside and don’t talk about my personal life or beliefs with anyone.”

The young paratrooper said he was conducting what he called an “insight role” — both infiltrating and subverting an institution, one of the core tenets of the Order of Nine Angles, a secretive, nihilistic, bloodthirsty satanist-Nazi sect, to which, prosecutors allege, Melzer swore allegiance.

Once confined to the most obscure occultism, “O9A” ideology has spread like wildfire via the internet and the global fascist resurgence of the 2010s. Its cells, known as “nexions,” have cross-pollinated with the millenarian neo-Nazi worldview popularized by the wannabe 21st-century Tim McVeighs of the Atomwaffen Division, a group of American extremists who celebrated the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, venerated terrorists like Anders Breivik and psychopaths like Charles Manson, and have been connected to five murders and numerous bomb plots.

The key evangelical for O9A, the figure who facilitated this macabre wedding of apocalyptic death cults, is Joshua Caleb Sutter, a 41-year-old ex-convict, prolific satanist, publisher of manuscripts advocating murder, torture, rape, and child abuse — and a paid FBI informant since 2004.

Sutter’s O9A message is a lunatic mashup of vampirism, Columbine-style death worship, and edgelord posturing, specifically designed to lure in the lost, angry, and transgressive types like Melzer.

Indeed, for his part, Melzer’s indoctrination seemed complete. “Fascism is more the law of nature than anything, [its] worldview is that by causing absolute chaos, anarchy, whatever you want to call it, the law of nature will naturally take over once again,” Melzer wrote on a Telegram channel devoted to satanism.

In spring 2020, Melzer learned of the 173rd Airborne Brigade’s upcoming deployment from Camp Ederle in Vicenza, Italy, to a base in Turkey. Prosecutors allege that Melzer passed on highly classified details of his unit’s forthcoming assignment to fellow satanists on Telegram, and to a person he believed was a member of Al Qaeda. The intelligence was sent with the intent of having the 173rd ambushed by terrorists and triggering a “mascal” — military speak for a “mass casualty” event, prosecutors say.

In the back and forth over a number of days in May 2020, according to the evidence presented by federal prosecutors, Melzer and his alleged Al Qaeda and satanist co-conspirators discussed the location of the base, the precise number of personnel stationed there, and the unit’s defensive capabilities. Melzer also allegedly shared satellite images of the outpost’s layout. The proposed carnage apparently didn’t bother Melzer in the least. In fact, he reveled in the potential fallout from a massacre of American soldiers by jihadis, even if that meant losing his own life.

“Another 10 year war in the Middle East would definitely leave a mark,” Melzer messaged a fellow satanist. “I would’ve died successfully.”

Pvt. Melzer was arrested by military investigators at the American military base in Vicenza on May 30, 2020, right before the 173rd Airborne’s expected deployment to Turkey. The young soldier was branded “the enemy within” by the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, when his indictment was made public on June 22, 2020. Melzer has pleaded not guilty to all charges, and his trial is expected to start on July 5. His attorneys declined requests for comment.

This piece is the result of years of reporting on the extreme right, and dozens of conversations with former undercover agents, ex-militants, extremism experts, and hundreds of pages of court documents as well as neo-Nazi and satanist propaganda from criminal cases in both the United States and United Kingdom. That the sadistic ideology is dangerous, few would argue. The Order of Nine Angles already has a body count overseas, and a rising number of terrorism convictions involving young, troubled, impressionable men. But, critics say, this is a crisis the FBI helped create.

In Pvt. Melzer’s case, the American military allegedly came close to suffering a homegrown attack, which would have been the ultimate blowback of an 18-year undercover-informant operation. Joshua Sutter’s role as the chief American proselytizer of Melzer’s satanic ideology is complicated by the fact that Sutter was also enjoying life on the FBI payroll, while publishing thousands of words of blood-curdling propaganda that radicalized a growing movement of dangerous extremists.

“If you’re giving $140,000 to a guy you recruited, and to not check in on the material he’s publishing, which promotes murdering children and pedophilia, that’s not doing your fucking job,” says Jake Hanrahan, an English journalist and founder of the independent media firm Popular Front who has tracked the Order of Nine Angles’ growing influence for a decade.

If Melzer’s beliefs are a “diabolical cocktail of ideologies,” as the Department of Justice alleged, characterizing his beliefs as “neo-Nazi,” “anarchist,” “pro-jihadist,” and “white supremacist,” then don’t the U.S. government and the FBI have to reckon with their own complicity in allowing the insidious beliefs to fester and spread?

The lineage of Sutter and Melzer’s hate is documented. Allegedly created by octogenarian Englishman David Myatt in the 1970s, and once confined to the most obscure corners of occultism, O9A ideology has expanded in the internet age. Myatt was a key figure in the English far right and was heavily involved in the militant skinhead organization Combat 18 in the 1980s and 1990s. Over the years, his writings have been highly influential within extremist circles: Myatt’s pamphlet “A Practical Guide to Aryan Revolution” is classified as a terrorist manual by the British government, and his writings were found in the possession of David Copeland, who set off a series of nail bombs targeting London’s Black, South Asian, and LGBTQ communities in 1999, and Germany’s National Socialist Underground, which assassinated nine people of Turkish, Greek, and Kurdish heritage and a police officer between 2000 and 2007.

Adherents to the Order of Nine Angles strive for the downfall of Western civilization. In order to accelerate that collapse, they seek to sow chaos, death, and destruction wherever possible. Deception, murder, violence, sexual assault, and fraud are all deemed acceptable methods in O9A texts. While firm numbers on O9A disciples are hard to come by, occult researchers estimate there are roughly 2,000 adherents scattered around the world, with hardcore members identified in the United States, Great Britain, Italy, Moldova, Russia, Australia, and elsewhere.

“The popularity of the Order of Nine Angles has exploded as it’s gotten picked up in these Atomwaffen-esque far-right circles,” says Spencer Sunshine, a longtime researcher of the far right who is writing a book about James Mason, the author of Siege, Atomwaffen’s ideological lodestar. “Clearly, there’s a big turn toward the occult, satanism. Sometimes it’s more present in the propaganda and discourse than the white nationalist, racist politics — anything to overthrow the system — that’s why all the serial killers, massacres, and so on.”

The Telegram channel where Melzer contacted his other O9A adherents was one of the most poisonous channels on Terrorgram: RapeWaffen, which the founder (dubiously) claimed was a splinter group of the Atomwaffen Division. The channel promoted bloodshed and the need to dehumanize, sharing videos of women being sexually assaulted, murder, and extreme violence. RapeWaffen’s alleged founder, who went by the moniker “Sinisterius,” openly called for “culling,” the practice of human sacrifice that is one of O9A’s darkest features. Channel members were assigned a reading list, including Iron Gates, Liber 333, and Bluebird — books authored by an American O9A “nexion,” called the Tempel ov Blood, and distributed by Martinet Press, a publishing house run by Sutter.

O9A is elastic in its death mythos, weaving together different elements of fascism and various world religions. “The real thing is that these attacks and mass shootings are nothing but Kalki doing an ethic and ethnic cleansing on the world,” Sinisterius wrote in one 2019 post, referring to a Hindu deity often cited in O9A and praising recent mass killings by right-wing militants. “When we celebrate those attacks, we are celebrating Kalki’s Will becoming manifest on this world.” Another post says: “Rape also serves like a magick practice that make [sic] you attain a higher conscious state.”

At first glimpse, talk of culling and “heil rape” may seem like vile hyperbolic posturing. However, there are real-world examples of such killings by O9A devotees: Guilherme Von Neutegem, a Canadian O9A adherent, is facing murder charges in the killing of a man outside of a Toronto mosque in 2020. In the United Kingdom, two sisters were stabbed to death in a London park in June 2020 by a young man who, under the influence of a Utah O9A proselytizer, claimed to have made a pact with a demon that required him to spill blood. There have been a number of other terrorism prosecutions and convictions in Great Britain linked by law enforcement to the Order of Nine Angles, and Parliament has been lobbied to ban the satanic cult as a domestic terror group.

The rise of O9A among young millennial and zoomer radicals is part of a paradigm shift in the right-wing universe and its extremism, experts say, and driven by the internet. Nick Lowles, the chief executive of Hope Not Hate and a longtime journalist who has written about David Myatt’s rise in the late 1990s for Searchlight magazine, explains why the once-marginal satanist identity rose to such prominence that some British lawmakers have sought to ban the possession and distribution of its propaganda outright.

Other O9A adherents have been central to far-right extremist groups banned by the British government, including convicted English neo-Nazi Andrew Dymock, who was charged with 15 counts of terrorism and hate-related crimes. Ryan Fleming, another militant, has been convicted twice and jailed repeatedly for sexually abusing and grooming minors. Fleming, according to reports by the BBC, actively promoted the Order of Nine Angles and published satanic literature through Sutter’s Tempel ov Blood cell.

“Twenty to 30 years ago in the U.S. and U.K., to be ‘hard’ on the far right meant you had to be a good fighter — it was a drinking, fighting culture,” Lowles says. “Amongst this newer generation, fights don’t happen and a lot of people don’t leave their bedrooms. To become a known face in this world, you have to be extreme online.”

That’s where the appeal of the Order of Nine Angles, with its emphasis on torture, degradation, blood rituals, and human sacrifice, comes in. “Putting out the most extreme content you can find makes you tough, makes you scary, makes you edgy in this world now,” Lowles says. In particular, he points out the haunting, almost indecipherable videos, grating industrial music, and shocking texts churned out by Sutter’s American Tempel ov Blood nexion. Sutter’s twisted online sermons, Lowles says, epitomized the aesthetic that would give young extremists credibility and heft in the wildest corners of the digital far right: “That’s the appeal of ToB in particular — it was so far beyond anything else out there.”

Pvt. Melzer is not the first American soldier charged with plotting crimes inspired by satanism. In 2019, Spc. Jarrett William Smith was arrested at Kansas’ Fort Riley and charged by prosecutors with distributing explosives manuals; he also reportedly discussed plans to kill anti-fascists and car-bombing a news outlet “for the glory … of his religion of anti-kosmik satanism.” In 2019, Smith discussed attacking the headquarters of a major news network with an FBI informant and an undercover agent. Smith pleaded guilty to the charges against him and was sentenced to 30 months in prison; he was released last November on three years’ probation. (Smith did not respond to requests for comment.)

What little is known of Melzer’s past indicates a man drawn to extremes. In his first post-arrest interview with the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division and the FBI, Melzer claimed he’d hung around the wrong crowd at high school in Louisville, Kentucky. “Gang-affiliation-type shit — there was a couple of friends that I hung out with that were Bloods,” he claimed, with a markedly different tone from that which he struck as his “Etil Reggad” persona in RapeWaffen, where he claimed to have done an insight role as “a runner for some Bounty Hunter Bloods.” Melzer also told the RapeWaffen administrator that he’d done a second insight role “with antifa.” It’s impossible to verify either claim, though Melzer fits the profile of an adolescent playing with the violent countercultural edges of society. Today, Melzer has virtually no digital footprint, but what can be pieced together about his background suggests an unstable home — his parents separated when he was young, and instead of a secondary education, he enrolled in the Department of Labor’s Job Corps program in Kentucky’s rural Muhlenberg County.

It was in this program, in 2018, at age 20, that Melzer began his descent into satanism. “In Job Corps [I] got a small following of people and used them for feeding, if we’re talking like actual growth wise,” Melzer wrote. The government alleges that Melzer’s phones contained videos and photographs of the young soldier ritually cutting himself, and a satanist text with its pages drenched in blood was recovered from his barracks.

In two interviews with military and federal investigators following his arrest in Italy, Melzer acknowledged downloading and watching the satanist videos and jihadi-propaganda films found on his devices, but claimed his enthusiastic remarks about the lethal violence were “satire or dark humor” meant to impress other members of the RapeWaffen Telegram channel. His defense of the charges seems to be “I did it all for the lulz.”

Regardless of motive, nihilism and raw menace lurk at the heart of Melzer’s 09A beliefs. “The core of being O9A is truly embodying evil,” says Sunshine, the extremist researcher. “[In Melzer’s case], the Nazis, the Islamist stuff are just vehicles for that — and let’s face it, what could be more evil than killing your own comrades from within their own ranks?”

Order of Nine Angles paraphernalia presented in Melzer’s case.

U.S. Department of Justice

The true wild card in the federal prosecution of Melzer, however, is its man on the inside of O9A. In filings last year, prosecutors identified O9A’s primary American “affiliate” as the Tempel ov Blood, the South Carolina-based nexion run by Joshua Caleb Sutter, a moribund son of a racist preacher who, since his conviction for purchasing a defaced firearm from an FBI agent in 2003, has been a government informant. Despite his work spreading the word of O9A, Sutter has earned well into the six figures for his assistance in rolling up right-wing extremists across the United States, including the Atomwaffen Division. After his arrest on the gun charges, Sutter began exploring fringe ideologies on polar ends of the spectrum, moving back to a wooded property owned by his parents in Lexington, South Carolina, and becoming deeply involved in a bizarre North Korean organization called the Songun Politics Study Group USA. Sutter transformed himself into that group’s main propagandist before migrating to Hindu esotericism with a woman named Jillian Hoy, whom he married.

Through his publishing house, Martinet Press, which he co-founded with Hoy, Sutter is one of the most prolific propagandists for the Order of Nine Angles. In using Sutter as a paid informant while he continues to run his Tempel ov Blood nexion and publishing imprint, the FBI has, in effect, bankrolled one of the most extreme, perverse, and lethal ideologies to emerge from the fever swamp of the internet-driven neo-fascist revival of the early 21st century. (Sutter did not respond to Rolling Stone’s emailed requests for comment.)

“It’s shocking,” says Lowles of Hope Not Hate, who noted commonalities between Sutter and David Myatt in their use of aggressive far-right militant groups to advance their O9A beliefs — Combat 18 in Myatt’s case, Atomwaffen Division in Sutter’s. (Myatt has claimed to have renounced extremism in 2013, though many O9A researchers remain skeptical of his supposed change of heart.)

Lowles maintains that by employing Sutter, the distributor and author of texts that promote not only terrorism but also pedophilia, human sacrifice, and child abuse, the FBI has given its informant way too long a leash, and innocents have paid a price.

“In the 21st century, people don’t have the Turner Diaries anymore, they have Iron Gates and Liber 333,” Lowles says, referring to Tempel ov Blood books published by Sutter. In the opening scene of Iron Gates, a desperate post-apocalyptic mob kills and devours a child, a chilling example of this brand of satanism. Bluebird dwells on the theme of pedophilia and rape. These are not idle words: Children as young as 14 have been groomed by Tempel ov Blood adherents, who have gone on to be convicted for their offenses, including sexually assaulting minors.

While most people would read such macabre texts and think they were “barking mad,” Lowles says that there is a real risk of highly disturbed people taking such messages to heart. “The more you push out their propaganda, the more someone who might be vulnerable, angry, or have a mental illness will say, ‘I’m gonna do this.’”

Lowles has tracked Sutter’s involvement with O9A and direct communications with Myatt as far back as 2004, when Sutter began working as a confidential informant for the FBI. The timing of that contact and Sutter’s subsequent trajectory, Lowles says, raises a whole new raft of questions: “What was, if any, the FBI’s interest in the satanist stuff? Was Sutter genuinely into this ideology and allowed to be involved in it as long as he spied on what they considered to be the real threats?”

Independent journalist Nate Thayer surfaced communications between Sutter and another satanist wherein Sutter labeled himself “Master of the Tempel,” and Hoy the “Blood-Mistress,” and outlined his intention to radicalize followers through repeated exposure to lurid material and texts to the point of desensitization. It’s the equivalent of creating human IEDS: people who are wired for violence and disconnected enough from morality that they have no compunction about abuse, torture, pedophilia, or any of the other practices outlined in the Tempel ov Blood texts.

“This Tempel is in many ways a social programming experiment,” Sutter has written. “While we do create fanatics, we must make the ‘fake’ adherents entries look as if it is obviously their will and good for them to serve the ToB. It has to be subtle. In the later stages it becomes more overt and at that point is too late for them to change. They become so alienated from humanity that, well, haha, if they tried to go back they will still cause so much disruption.”

Over the ensuing years, Sutter used Martinet Press to spread O9A and the Tempel ov Blood in the hidden corners of occultism and extremism. This eventually led to him becoming a member of the Atomwaffen Division under the moniker “swissdiscipline.” In spring 2017, he had been contacted by John Cameron Denton, a young Texan fascinated with National Socialist black metal, Siege, Charles Manson, and the Order of Nine Angles. According to a former Attomwaffen member who spoke on condition of anonymity, Denton knew of Sutter’s reputation in the occult through Tempel ov Blood, and invited him to join the terrorist group.

During Atomwaffen member Kaleb Cole’s trial in September 2021, Sutter testified that, on the direction of his FBI handler, Special Agent Bill Moser of the Columbia, South Carolina, field office, Sutter became part of the underground militant group. Sutter participated in at least two of the group’s “Hate Camp” trainings near Washington’s Mount Rainier and Death Valley in Nevada in August 2017 and early 2018, respectively. At these trainings, the Atomwaffen Division militants marched in the Northwestern woods and the Nevada desert, shot propaganda footage, fired off dozens of rifle rounds, and got plastered while discussing the coming race war and obscure Nazi theory late into the night. In Nevada, Sutter, Cole, and two other Atomwaffen Division members posed for photos outside the Alien Cathouse brothel while giving the Sieg heil! salute.

Sutter also attended Atomwaffen’s 2019 “Nuclear Congress” gathering in a Las Vegas hotel room with several high-ranking members and James Mason, the author of Siege, who urged the creation of a new fascist regime through murder, small “lone wolf” terror attacks, and relentless war against the government. Sutter had remained a free man as law enforcement rolled up his fellow neo-Nazis in 2019 and 2020 during a nationwide series of arrests and prosecutions culminating with a raid on a suburban home in Conroe, Texas, where Denton, Cole, and two other members of the Atomwaffen Division were arrested.

According to the former member of Atomwaffen, Sutter repeatedly visited the house in Conroe and introduced undercover FBI agents into Atomwaffen’s inner circle. In the sparsely furnished house, where Nazi flags hung from the walls and electronics littered plastic folding tables, Sutter would speak late into the night with Denton and Cole about operational security and a plot to dox journalists who the group felt had maligned them, the former member says.

Sutter’s influence over Atomwaffen Division was apparent soon after he joined: Denton and Cole had taken over leadership of the group from its imprisoned founder, Brandon Russell, who was serving federal prison time for an explosives-possession conviction. Martinet Press titles were introduced as required reading for new O9A recruits.

“He really just acted in the background, through the others, stuff like pushing the O9A sentiments, the books like Iron Gates,” says the ex-Atomwaffen Division member who left the group years ago and has renounced his former beliefs. In late 2017, Atomwaffen’s propaganda began to feature more graphic images of torture, and Charles Manson became central to the aesthetic. However, the introduction of satanic beliefs and texts caused dissent, particularly among Atomwaffen members with more traditional National Socialist or Christian-identity views. “As the occult and the Manson gimmick started to be pushed more and more, a lot of those new people dropped out because that was a bit much for even them to handle,” says the former member.

Sutter’s work for the FBI was substantial and underpinned the early 2020 indictments that decimated the Atomwaffen Division. While Denton and several others pleaded out, Cole pleaded not guilty to conspiracy charges over doxxing several reporters and went to trial. Last August, Cole’s lawyers filed a bombshell motion to suppress evidence from the search of the Atomwaffen house in Conroe on the basis that Sutter was a snitch for the FBI — and had been since 2004. “The CI is a convicted felon and currently owns and operates a publishing company that distributes white-supremacist writings,” reads the Aug. 13, 2021, motion by Cole’s attorneys. “The CI began his long career as a professional informant in exchange for consideration regarding his sentence on a federal conviction for possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number and an unregistered silencer. He has continued this work for pay.”

Despite the allegations about working with law enforcement, Sutter maintained cachet within the extreme right wing, in large part because Tempel ov Blood and Martinet Press produced graphic, ultraviolent literature popular with the extremist crowd.

However, the 2021 allegations about Sutter had substance: Cole’s defense attorneys based their presentation on discovery materials disclosed by prosecutors in Seattle. Moreover, the government lawyers admitted that Sutter was on their books and vouched for his reliability: “The fact that the FBI repeatedly chose to pay the informant for information over many years is a reflection of the fact that the FBI consistently found the informant’s information proved reliable,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Woods wrote in a filing last August.

While the gambit to get the evidence against Cole tossed failed, and he was sentenced to seven years’ incarceration (including prior time served) after a jury convicted him in January, it revealed a huge problem for the FBI. In his court testimony, Sutter gave his occupation as “publisher,” referring to Martinet Press, his occult-book imprint.

The FBI declined to respond to questions from Rolling Stone about Sutter’s role as a paid informant, Martinet Press’ role in spreading O9A ideology, or whether it had been contacted by foreign law enforcement regarding either Sutter or the Tempel ov Blood. Sutter’s primary handler, Special Agent Moser, also did not return requests for comment.

FBI snitches have long come under scrutiny for committing crimes while working as government informants, most notably Whitey Bulger and Stephen Flemmi, Boston gangsters who committed more than a dozen murders while on the federal payroll. Roy Frankhouser, a longtime neo-Nazi and fixture on the far right, signed on as an FBI informant to feed the bureau information on Black nationalists and left-wing militants in the 1970s. Mike German, a former FBI agent who spent years infiltrating white-supremacist movements in the 1990s, points to Bulger’s case and Sutter’s years of satanist proselytizing as exemplars of “gross mismanagement” by the country’s premier law-enforcement agency. “The confidential informant has been mismanaged for decades — that’s a very fraught enterprise, the idea that you’re going to go out and find people with firsthand knowledge of criminal activity and to the extent they’re cooperating with you, it’s because they’re betraying their colleagues,” German tells Rolling Stone. “Where the FBI gets in trouble all the time is ignoring the crimes the informants are committing.”

German notes the FBI’s relationship with Proud Boy leader Enrique Tarrio, currently facing federal charges in connection with the Jan. 6 insurrection (he has pleaded not guilty), as well as right-wing radio host Hal Turner in the early 2000s, another propagandist like Sutter whose role as a paid informant emerged during a federal trial. “Originally, they must’ve thought signing up a propagandist who agreed not to engage in criminal activity was appealing,” German says of the FBI’s rationale for employing Sutter. Bureau rules bar agents from retaining informants who engage in violent crimes, and propagandists often network among like-minded extremists while not getting their hands dirty. However, German noted that the same attributes can be dangerous: “To the extent that this guy is sending this ideology into the ether for everyone to absorb — how many others are following through and acting on it?”

During the course of April and May 2020, Pvt. Melzer’s alleged plans to frag his own unit continued to evolve. He split off from the main RapeWaffen channel and formed a separate, smaller group labeled “Op Hardrock” with several alleged co-conspirators — the administrator of the RapeWaffen Division channel, who claimed to be an ex-Canadian paratrooper but was, according to filings by Melzer’s defense attorneys, in reality a teenager with severe mental-health problems; another person who claimed to be a Turkish national affiliated with the ultranationalist Grey Wolves organization; and an American who posed as an O9A adherent while in truth reporting back to the FBI.

In court filings, federal prosecutors allege that in late May 2020, Melzer and the FBI source discussed the planned attack. “What makes you think that you can actually get away with fucking with the U.S. military,” the informant asked. Melzer stated he maintained a neutral, normie presence within his unit and that there was enough Islamic-militant activity in the region to provide logical cover for any potential attack he might be involved in. The source also asked Melzer why he’d deleted messages from their earlier chats.

“You deleted them because that’s treason,” the FBI source said.

“Kek,” Melzer replied, using an old gamer term for “Lol” that the alt-right adopted.

For his part, Joshua Sutter has faced no consequences for his role in spreading Order of Nine Angles dogma. Martinet Press continues to publish and distribute books, and its website remains up and running. However, his reputation is badly damaged in many far-right circles. The Atomwaffen Division’s remnants have written a number of self-absolving screeds against him and what they perceive as FBI entrapment. Sutter also never paid taxes on the $140,000 he earned as an informant, or the $4,378.60 in travel expenses given to him by the FBI. Satanists apparently don’t care much for the Internal Revenue Service.


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Where Trump’s long list of legal challenges stand – mikenov on Twitter

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Michael Novakhov on Twitter from Michael_Novakhov (4 sites): mikenov on Twitter: Where Trump’s long list of legal challenges stand | Monkeypox now confirmed in 12 states, Washington D.C. as cases grow | Intelligence and the War in Ukraine: Part 2 War on the Rocks thenewsandtimes.blogspot.com/2022/06/where-… twitter.com/thehill/status…

Where Trump’s long list of legal challenges stand | Monkeypox now confirmed in 12 states, Washington D.C. as cases grow | Intelligence and the War in Ukraine: Part 2 War on the Rocks thenewsandtimes.blogspot.com/2022/06/where-… twitter.com/thehill/status…

Where Trump’s long list of legal challenges stand trib.al/MAAS7iR pic.twitter.com/7ZlbqT69kk


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Audio Post – Review: The New Abwehr Hypothesis By Michael Novakhov

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Review: The New Abwehr Hypothesis By Michael Novakhov

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On the New Abwehr Hypothesis – Russia News – Russia News …

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By Michael Novakhov (Mike Nova) More on the New Abwehr Hypothesis Investigate the Investigators! GRU, the Russian Military Intelligence masks as FBI – (?!).

On the New Abwehr Hypothesis – Russia News Review

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The New Abwehr Hypothesis of Operation Trump by Michael Novakhov: A Psycho-Historical Study - Web Review - 2:09 PM 1/4/2019

Investigate the Investigators!

GRU, the Russian Military Intelligence masks as FBI – (?!). Do we know about it? Do we think about it? | Suspect in Capitol car attack posted about fears of FBI and CIA week before ramming officer. | M.N.: FBI: Declassify and disclose all the background information on Noah Green.  His name might also be a “telling name”. Those who are in the know might guess what it means.  Try to unravel the mysteries of the situation by examining closely this person’s life and his connections.

The same day, Green uploaded an image of a certificate that appeared to recognize a gift he had made to the Nation of Islam of $1,085.”

M.N.: This number: $1,085 is odd (not the usual even number, such as $1,000, $2,000, etc.), therefore it might contain the message; I think, most likely it points to a year in the World History: year 1085. The most notable events of that year in history appear to be: 1. Completion of the “Domesday Book“, and 2. The beginning of the introduction of the paper money in China: The output of copper currency for the Chinese Song Dynasty reaches 6 billion coins a year, prompting the Chinese government to adopt the world’s first paper-printed money later in the 1120s.’

Both events can be viewed as the references and allusions to the present day situations and circumstances: “the doomsday scenario” for the Western Civilization and the “America as the global monetary printing press“.

The allusions to the WW2 may also be present: The Operation Doomsday of the WW2.

These allusions and references lift the veil (deliberately semitransparent) over the minds, mentality, and the backgrounds of the putative masterminds of these hypothetical intelligence operations. In my opinion, humble or not, they are the leaders and the functionaries of the New Abwehr, the hypothetical construct which I use in the attempts to analyze and to understand these phenomena. This point of view is supported by the the quite visible activization of the Extreme Rightist and the frankly Fascist political and social movements and groups.

The twist in this concept is that after the WW2 the remnants of the Nazi Abwehr adopted the anti-Hitler and the anti-Nazi stance, outlooks, and “ideologies”, placing them in the Leftist camp. However, the New Abwehr stays high above all the transient political plays and frays, it is concerned mostly with the overcoming the effects of the formal German defeat in the WW2 and their many feelings of guilt, sorrows, recriminations, post mortem analyses, repetition compulsions elements, rationalizations, etc., etc. Their main preoccupations are the German dominance in the World, the new World order (“my way”, anyway),  and the global political and economic matters which are their tools in governing the World.

This concept of mine may be right or wrong but it has to be considered and explored further, if we really want to get to the Truth.

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Was Noah Green the weaponized target of the GRU (Russian Military Intelligence) which is masked as the FBI Cointelpro? – Google Search

Just like the scores of others involved in the similar incidents and accidents?

Does the FBI investigate this hypothesis?

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Image result for The New Abwehr - German Hypothesis of the major historical events after WW2 - By Michael Novakhov

The New Abwehr Hypothesis

The 9/11 was inadequately investigated and incorrectly and superficially diagnosed. The price was the twenty years of relentless Hybrid (Intelligence) War attacks, large and small, deadly and symbolic, intimidating and threatening in their nature and directions. This undeclared, invisible, masked Cold War 2 culminated in the Trump PresidencyCorona Pandemic (I think the connection is present), and the Capitol Riot of 1.6.21. The same mistake of the inadequate investigation, committed again, can be very costly. It very well might be the existential threat, in its various aspects.

“All roads lead to Putin”, Nancy Pelosi diagnosed the situation in five words. I agree with her, it is almost obvious. I will take this Interpretation a couple of steps down the same logical road:

1. Putin is the agent of the German Intelligence, which is in alliance with the elements of the Russian Intelligence Services, the Russian Mafia State, which are the KGB revived, and with the Russian Jewish Organized Crime, the TOC.

2. I came to believe that the German Military Intelligence after WW2 played the major role in all the historically significant World events and made inroads into the other services and the Government structures, including the FBI, the CIA, the State Department, etc., etc. The structures of the Russian State were penetrated in a similar fashion, however more secretively, carefully, and discreetly. I call this the New Abwehr Hypothesis of the major World events after WW2.

3. I believe that behind the 9/11 is the the hypothetical, very powerful and skillful structure of the New Abwehr. They use the Arabs, the Russians, the Chinese, the Israelis, and others as their covers.

4. I think that the New Abwehr hypothesis has to be researched and investigated in the utmost depth. You cannot cure or even help the illness if your diagnosis is incorrect. It makes it worse. And there were a lot of incorrect diagnoses in both the Medicine and in the Intelligence Work. Not the political correctness but the complete and total independence in the Intelligence and the Counterintelligence Analysis. Speak Truth to Power.

The Delphic Truths are the greater truths. They are the intuitive correct diagnoses, the sacred whispers, the dreams coming from the depths. They are the Essence, they are the Truth. Their coherence and internal consistency, logic and knowledge differentiate them from delusions and conspiracy theories. However, these Delphic Truths have to be checked out and convincingly translated and proven in clear and evidence based concepts and language.

Michael Novakhov | 1:04 PM 2/15/2021

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The New Abwehr – German Hypothesis has to be investigated, very thoroughly, and in depth! | #TweetsByMikeNov – 8:15 AM 2/1/2020


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American spy agencies review their misses on Ukraine, Russia – Saturday June 4th, 2022 at 11:13 AM

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American spy agencies review their misses on Ukraine, Russia

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The question was posed in a private briefing to U.S. intelligence officials weeks before Russia launched its invasion in late February: Was Ukraine’s leader, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, made in the mold of Britain’s Winston Churchill or Afghanistan’s Ashraf Ghani?

In other words, would Zelenskyy lead a historic resistance or flee while his government collapsed?

Ultimately, U.S. intelligence agencies underestimated Zelenskyy and Ukraine while overestimating Russia and its president, even as they accurately predicted Vladimir Putin would order an invasion.

But Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, did not fall in a few days, as the the United States had expected. And while American spy agencies have been credited with supporting Ukraine’s resistance, they now face bipartisan pressure to review what they got wrong beforehand — especially after their mistakes in judging Afghanistan last year.

Intelligence officials have begun a review of how their agencies judge the will and ability of foreign governments to fight. The review is taking place while U.S. intelligence continues to have a critical role in Ukraine and as the White House ramps up weapons deliveries and support to Ukraine, trying to predict what Putin might see as escalatory and seeking to avoid a direct war with Russia.

President Joe Biden’s administration announced it would give Ukraine a small number of high-tech, medium-range rocket systems, a weapon that Ukraine has long wanted. Since the war began on Feb. 24, the White House has approved shipping drones, anti-tank and anti-aircraft systems, and millions of rounds of ammunition. The U.S. has lifted early restrictions on intelligence-sharing to provide information that Ukraine has used to strike critical targets, including the flagship of the Russian navy.

Lawmakers from both parties question whether the U.S. could have done more before Putin invaded and whether the White House held back some support due to pessimistic assessments of Ukraine. Sen. Angus King, an independent from Maine, told officials at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing last month that “had we had a better handle on the prediction, we could have done more to assist the Ukrainians earlier.”

Ohio Rep. Mike Turner, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, said in an interview that he thought the White House and top administration officials had projected “their own bias on the situation in a way that lends itself to inaction.”

The Senate Intelligence Committee sent a classified letter last month to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence asking about how intelligence agencies assessed both Ukraine and Afghanistan. CNN first reported the letter.

Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines told lawmakers in May that the National Intelligence Council would review how the agencies assess both “will to fight” and “capacity to fight.” Both issues are “quite challenging to provide effective analysis on and we’re looking at different methodologies for doing so,” Haines said.

While there is no announced timetable on the review, which began before the committee’s letter, officials have identified some errors. Several people familiar with prewar assessments spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence.

Despite its vast advantages, Russia failed to establish air superiority over Ukraine and failed at basic tasks such as securing its battlefield communications. It has lost thousands of soldiers and at least eight to 10 generals, according to U.S. estimates. Russian and Ukrainian forces are now fighting in fierce, close quarters combat in eastern Ukraine, far from the swift Russian victory forecast by the U.S. and the West.

While Russia has entered recent proxy wars, it had not directly fought a major land war since the 1980s. That meant many of Russia’s projected and claimed capabilities had not been put to the test, posing a challenge for analysts to assess how Russia it would perform in a major invasion, some of the people said. Russia’s active weapons export industry led some people to believe Moscow would have many more missile systems and planes ready to deploy.

Russia has not used chemical or biological weapons, as the U.S. publicly warned it might. One official noted that the U.S. had “very strong concerns” about a chemical attack, but that Russia may have decided that would cause too much global opposition. Fears that Russia would use a wave of cyberattacks against Ukraine and allies have not materialized so far.

Other Russian problems were well-known, including low troop morale, a prevalence of drug and alcohol abuse among troops, and the lack of a noncommissioned officer corps to oversee forces and deliver instructions from commanders.

“We knew all of those things existed,” said retired Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley, the former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. “But it just became a cascading effect of how overwhelming all of that became when they tried to do even the most simple of operations.”

Sue Gordon, the former principal deputy director of national intelligence, said analysts may have relied too much on counting Russia’s inventory of military and cyber tools.

“We’re going to learn a little bit about how we think about capability and use as not one and the same when you assess outcome,” she said at a recent event sponsored by The Cipher Brief, an intelligence publication.

Zelenskyy has received worldwide acclaim for refusing to flee as Russia sent teams to try to capture or kill him. But before the war, there were tensions between Washington and Kyiv about the likelihood of an invasion and whether Ukraine was prepared. One flashpoint, according to people familiar with the dispute, was that the U.S. wanted Ukraine to move forces from its west to bolster defenses around Kyiv.

Until shortly before the war, Zelenskyy and top Ukrainian officials discounted warnings of an invasion, in part to tamp down public panic and protect the economy. One U.S. official said there was a belief that Zelenskyy had never been tested in a crisis of the level his country was facing.

Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, the current director of the DIA, testified in March that “my view was that, based on a variety of factors, that the Ukrainians were not as ready as I thought they should be. Therefore, I questioned their will to fight. That was a bad assessment on my part because they have fought bravely and honorably and are doing the right thing.”

In May, Berrier distanced his own view from that of the entire intelligence community, which he said never had an assessment “that said the Ukrainians lacked the will to fight.”

There was ample evidence of Ukraine’s determination before the war. Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and the eight-year conflict in the Donbas region had hardened public attitudes against Moscow. Ukrainian forces had received years of training and weapons shipments from the U.S. across several administrations along with help bolstering its cyber defenses.

U.S. intelligence had reviewed private polling suggested strong support in Ukraine for any resistance. In Kharkiv, a mostly Russian-speaking city near the border, citizens were learning to fire guns and training for guerrilla warfare.

Rep. Brad Wenstrup, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, saw that determination firsthand during a December trip. Wenstrup, R-Ohio, witnessed a military ceremony where participants would read the names of every Ukrainian soldier who had died the previous day on the front lines in the Donbas, the region in eastern Ukraine where Moscow-backed separatists have been fighting Ukrainian government forces since 2014.

“It showed to me that they had a will to fight,” he said. “This has been brewing for a long time.”

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Associated Press writer Lolita C. Baldor contributed to this report.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.


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