RUSSIA INVADES UKRAINE – 2022

SGM Herb Friedman (Ret.)

    

In 1950, the FBI and the United States military began a plan to have stay behind agents in Alaska in case of a Soviet invasion of the American territory. The FBI's Operation STAGE and the Air Force's Operation WASHTUB formed the joint venture which eventually became known as the “Alaska Project.” The Soviet invasion never came. In 2022, the Ukrainians were not so lucky.

Ukraine was considered part of the old USSR for many years. In 1991, after the fall of the Soviet Union, Ukraine became independent. As part of that deal, Ukraine gave up all its atomic weapons that were stored in its armories during the tile of USSR rule. That turned out to be a major error.

Apparently fearing that the western powers were circling and surrounding Russia, it made demands including that Ukraine would not join the North Atlantic treaty Organization. NATO requires that all members come to the defense of any member that is attacked. Ukraine likely believed that joining NATO would end the continued Russian pressure.

The Crimea
David B. Miller, Cartographer

In February of 2014, Russia invaded and annexed the Crimean Peninsula, which could be considered the start of the Russian invasion, marking the beginning of the Russo-Ukrainian War.

The Donbas Region

In April of that same year, pro-Russian separatists took control of the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine. Ukraine believed that this was Russian interference in its internal affairs and believed the separatists were Russians or “Quislings” paid by the Russian. The two sides began firing and taking military actions against each other.

Russian President Vladimir Putin

All was relatively quiet until February 2021 when thousands of Russian military personnel amassed near the Russo-Ukrainian border, while President Vladimir Putin explained that this was just maneuvers that had been planned much earlier. In September 2021, the Russian troops started to build up once more, with about 100,000 troops surrounding Ukraine on three sides. The United States watched carefully from satellites and said over and over that an invasion was imminent. Most people believed it was political rhetoric because who in this age in their right mind would want to start a war that could easily escalate? Meanwhile, some NATO countries began to send military weapons to Ukraine.

On 21 February 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized the independence of the two republics in the Donbas region of Ukraine that he had invented and already occupied called the Donetsk People's Republic and Luhansk People's Republic. Russian troops and tanks moved into the region to allegedly keep the peace and “De-Nazify” Ukraine. His argument was like Hitler’s in 1939 when the Germans claimed that the Poles were murdering Germans in the street and needed to be protected. The only thing Putin did not do was dress some convicts in Ukraine uniforms and attack a Russian radio station as a premise to war.

Since December 2021, the United States and allies had warned Russia’s leadership they were prepared to impose severe new sanctions if Russia launched a new invasion of Ukraine, a country Russia first invaded and partially occupied in 2014. The United States and allies imposed an initial round of sanctions on February 21-23, 2022, in response to Russia’s alleged recognition of two Russia-occupied regions in eastern Ukraine as independent states. Since Russia launched its military attack on February 24, the United States and allies have imposed a series of increasingly severe sanctions.

The EU, the UK, other non-EU countries (including Switzerland), Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan, among others, have imposed or announced sanctions, export controls, or both in response to Russia’s actions. Many sanctions imposed by U.S. allies are identical or like U.S. sanctions, including restricting transactions with Russia’s central bank and airspace bans.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensy in the Front Lines

When President Biden offered him an escape from Ukraine by American military aircraft he replied:
I need ammunition, not a ride.

On 24 February 2022, the Russians officially invaded all the Ukraine with somewhere between 150,000 and 200,000 troops, these troops were not well-trained, believed they were playing war games and certainly were not ready for war. Putin not only lied to the world press, but he also lied to his own troops. Many were shocked to find themselves in battle. The Ukraine captured many and allowed them to call home to their parents to tell them they had found themselves in an unexpected war but were being treated well. The common belief was that the war would be over in two or three days as the massive Russian forces easily overran the Ukraine forces. Instead, the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensy decided to stand and fight and basically allowed women and children to leave while the men were ordered to stay and fight. By the 28 February, the embarrassed Russians agreed to talks with the Ukraine but stalling for time and reenforcing your troops was an old ploy that we saw used by Communist troops in Korean and Vietnam, so I doubt anyone took those talks seriously.

The first major Ukraine city to fall to the invaders was Kherson on 2 March 2022. The Russians were known to be sending more forces and even threatening the use of atomic weapons if anyone interfered with their invasion, so it was still considered just a matter of time before the Ukrainians were conquered.

Damaged apartment building in Kiev

Irpin residential area following missile attack

Missile attack on Kharkiv Council Building

Missile attack residential area Chernihiv

As the world turned against Russia they reacted as expected, they ordered independent media to remove reports describing Moscow’s attack on Ukraine as an “assault, invasion, or declaration of war” or face being blocked and fined. Later the punishment was to be up to 15 years in prison. The communications watchdog accused several independent media outlets of spreading “unreliable socially significant untrue information” about the shelling of Ukrainian cities by the Russian army and civilian deaths. These included television channel Dozhd and the country’s top independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, whose editor Dmitry Muratov was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year. As a result, foreign news services no longer send reports from Russia fearing a 15-year jail sentence.

Early Propaganda by Ukraine

Russia has long been known for its propaganda, dropping millions of leaflets during WWII. The Ukraine had no such history and did not control the air, but the world was so shocked at the blatant invasion that communications giants like Facebook and Twitter shut them down. As a result, almost everything that was written about the war and read by the West was from the Ukraine. It was a tremendous coup for them and a disaster for Russia who could still tell their own people that there were winning the war while the rest of the world saw their convoys standing still; being held back by fighters with just rifles, some anti-tank weapons, and hundreds of Molotov cocktails. So, I warn the reader that almost all this article will be from social media which was strongly in favor of the Ukraine. Perhaps when this war is over, we will see some of the Russian propaganda that Putin used on his own people and the Ukrainians.

The Czech Cyber and Information Warfare Command seems to agree with me:

Ukraine is taking full advantage of social networks for this. Official accounts of the Ukrainian government and army intensively share amateur footage from civilians and soldiers directly in the battle sites. Especially on Twitter we watch the war literally live. We are seeing another revolution in war journalism. Russian propaganda has been eliminated from the information space, and contrary to expectations, it is completely "ruled" by Ukrainians. The Ukrainian government and the armed forces have been able to mobilize not only the domestic public, but also contribute to the mobilization of a foreign audience.

Mykhailo Fedorov

This was a new type of war. It was fought on Facebook and Twitter as well as in the trenches. The British Broadcasting System explained:

Ukraine's 31-year-old minister for digital transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, has been leaning on tech giants to boycott Russia, urging hackers on to the attack, and getting Elon Musk to move satellites to benefit Ukraine. And most of it has been done from a smartphone. From his underground shelter in a secret location in Kyiv, Ukraine's youngest cabinet minister can hear the bombs falling and warning sirens wailing. But while his friend, the country's president, rallies military forces for the physical war above, Mykhailo Fedorov and his team are waging a different kind of war on Russia. Using his preferred weapon, social media, Mr. Fedorov has been urging CEOs of big businesses to cut ties with Moscow. He's also taken the unprecedented move of setting up a volunteer "IT Army of Ukraine" to launch cyber-attacks against "the enemy."

A word about profanity. I do not use it in my articles but in this case, I feel I have no choice. The Ukrainians do not like the Russians and feel free to use any language to point that out. There is one four-letter word that seems to appear daily in the news. Even the Washington Post wrote about it in a 4 March 2020 Lisa Bobo article titled “Ukraine is fighting back, one word at a time.”

Ukrainians are fighting back against invading Russian forces with everything they have: Guns, homemade Molotov cocktails, technological know-how — and words. “Russian warship, go f--- yourself," Ukrainian border guards reportedly told a Russian vessel approaching a Ukrainian island off the country’s southern coast last week. In a video clip viewed millions of times, a Ukrainian member of Parliament answered a question about Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov with “F--- you, Lavrov." When CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked a Ukrainian man in a makeshift factory assembling camouflage materials and homemade weapons whether he had a message for Russia’s president, a voice-over from Cooper interpreted the man’s response as “I would tell him: He can go f--- himself.”

Curiously there has been some debate about the four-letter word. Some linguists have said that a better translation would be “Go sit on a dick.” Whatever the proper term is, during this short invasion we are going to hear a lot of profanity.

 

Altered Traffic Signs

An altered photo of a road sign that has been replaced with profanities directed at Russian forces.
“Go f–k yourself,” “Go f–k yourself again,” and “Go f–k yourself back in Russia.”

The traffic tactic has been backed by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, which called on civilians to remove any signs that may help the Russians.

The tactic of Ukrainians removing road signs is designed to confuse and disorient the enemy. To confuse and disorient the enemy who is illegally moving around Ukraine, we call on [people to] remove signs with numbers and names of streets/cities/villages in their regions. Let’s do everything possible to get rid of Ukraine from the Russian occupier as soon as possible

We older folks saw pictures of traffic signs being taken down in London in WWII while the British people awaited a Nazi invasion. In addition, Google has disabled several map tools in Ukraine that had been used to track the movements of troops and civilians during Russia’s invasion. When the question of the Russian invasion of Ukraine came up in the United Nations Only Belarus, Syria, North Korea, and Eritrea joined Russia in opposing the measure, a powerful indication of the international isolation that Russian President Vladimir Putin faces for invading his country’s smaller neighbor.

A Ukrainian Woman offers a Russian Soldier Sunflower Seeds

Almost immediately after the Russian invasion commenced, this short film of a Russian woman offering an occupying soldier sunflower seeds went viral. The woman is feisty. She tears into the soldier with profanity-laced statements. In the soldier’s defense, he is as polite as he can be asking the woman over and over to end the conversation because nothing can be done. I don’t like to use profanity in my stories and would usually write things like F**k, but the bravery of this woman to face up to an armed Russian soldier leaves me in awe. Some of the woman’s comments are:

What the fuck are you doing here? You are occupants. You are fascists. What the fuck are you doing in our land with all these guns. Take these seeds and put them in your pockets so at least sunflowers will grow here when you all lie down here. From this moment you are cursed….

Sunflowers are the national flower of the Ukraine and many patriotic pictures during the invasion depicted fields of the sunflowers. Now when the Ukrainians see those fields, they think of the dead Russians under the earth fertilizing them. Throughout Ukraine’s history, the flower has been used as a symbol of peace. In June 1996, to celebrate Ukraine giving up nuclear weapons, U.S., Russian and Ukrainian defense ministers planted sunflowers in a ceremony at southern Ukraine’s Pervomaysk missile base.

 

The Stalled 40-mile Long Convoy

Russia's halting progress in its invasion of Ukraine puzzled Western observers and analysts, but a senior Pentagon official told The New York Times that Russia's forces, plagued by low morale and food and fuel shortages, have suffered mass surrenders and self-sabotage by conscripts who deliberately punched holes in their vehicles' gas tanks, presumably to avoid combat. U.S. and European officials said this mix of logistical failures and internal vandalism might explain why a 40-mile convoy of Russian military vehicles from Belarus has slowed to a crawl some 20 miles north of Kyiv, making it a target for Ukraine's armed forces.

 

A brewery in the Ukraine made Molotov cocktails.
Each bottle had Putin's picture and says: "Fuck you Putin"

Daily posts depicted a Ukraine brewery stopping production of beer and using all the bottles to make firebombs. We saw “starving” Russian soldiers being fed and allowed to call home by Ukraine. We cell a telephone number advertised as a place any Russian family could call to find out if their son had been captured.

The Ghost of Kiev
Eurofighter EF-2000 Typhoon aircraft flown by Ukrainian Air Force

There was an alleged fighter pilot ace sending a dozen Russian fighters down in flames. The unknown military hero, dubbed "The Ghost of Kyiv" on social media, had been flying since the invasion started and allegedly reached 21 confirmed Russian aircraft kills, making the pilot the first supposed flying ace of the 21st century. This was almost certainly Ukraine propaganda, but the people seemed to believe it and it gave them hope. On 2 May 2022, the Ukrainians finally admitted that the story was a myth, but it did give their people hope of victory in the air:

The Ghost of Kyiv is a super-hero legend whose character was created by Ukrainians! The Ghost of Kyiv is alive, it embodies the collective spirit of the highly qualified pilots of the Tactical Aviation Brigade who are successfully defending Kyiv and the region.

Some of the comments that made the news and were broadcast on TV were that Ukraine offered Russian soldiers’ money to surrender.

Ukraine will pay any Russian soldier who lays down their weapons 5 million rubles and full amnesty. You were brought to our land to kill and die. Those of you who do not want to become a murderer and die can be saved. We guarantee you a full amnesty and monetary compensation if you voluntarily lay down your arms. Live. Hug your family. For those who continue to behave like an occupier, there will be no mercy.

At the current exchange rate, after days of sanctions against the Russian economy, the 5 million rubles offered are worth about $47,000. We should also mention that with all the economic actions taken by world banks, and even neutral Switzerland and Sweden, the Russian ruble has plummeted to less than a U.S. penny.

Norway agreed to send 2,000 anti-tank weapons to Ukraine despite policy against arms shipments to non-NATO countries. The donation of US-designed M72 rocket-propelled grenade launchers marked the latest effort by Western countries to supply Ukraine with munitions following last week’s Russian invasion.

Many private organizations in the United State have chosen to send aid to the Ukraine. For instance, the Ukrainian American Coordinating Council, Razom for Ukraine, and the International Charitable Foundation Come Back Alive are uniting their efforts to purchase military-grade Helmets and Armor Vests for the Ukrainian Army and Territorial defense battalions. Only this non-profit organizations can send these things to Ukraine with the support of the Embassy of Ukraine in the USA. In addition, a Florida police organization has collected 340 ballistic helmets to send to the Ukraine.

There was also news about the Ukrainian’s ability to interfere with Russian military radio messages. Allegedly, When Russian commanders attempt to communicate attack plans on short-wave radio, Ukrainians jam them with their national anthem and messages including "death to the aggressor,” “Putin the Dickhead,” and “glory to Ukraine!"

Surrendering Russian soldier given food by local Ukrainians and allowed to call home

There were reports of a Russian soldier calling up his mother right before he died to tell her he was surprised to learn he was in Ukraine and that he was terrified to be there. At a special session of the United Nations, Ukrainian Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya read the text of the phone call home:

Mother: How are you doing? Why has it been so long since you responded? Are you really in training exercises?

Soldier: Mama, I am no longer in Crimea. I’m not in training sessions. Mama, I’m in Ukraine. There is a real war raging here. I’m afraid. We are bombing all the cities together, even targeting civilians. We were told that they would welcome us, and they are falling under our armored vehicles, throwing themselves under the wheels and not allowing us to pass. They call us Fascists. Mama, this is so hard.

Switzerland ignored its deep-rooted tradition of neutrality and adopted the European Union’s sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. The move is significant since Swiss banks include Russian oligarchs close to President Vladimir Putin among their clients. Russians were scrambling to withdraw money from ATMs this week as crippling economic sanctions caused the ruble’s value to hit record lows. The ruble plummeted as much as 30% to 120 per US dollar. It was reported that the ATMs were empty.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensy has signed an application for entry into the European Union during the nation’s conflict with Russia. Putin is believed to have started the invasion because he feared the west getting closer and stronger near his borders. What he has done with this invasion is to convince the west to strengthen its military and cause many other old Soviet occupied nations to consider joining the west. He has made his own worst dreams come true.

A Russian Armor Vehicle in the town of Bucha that was Broadcasting the Propaganda Message, Citizens, stay calm, everything is under control, was blown up by an RPG.

Captured Russian Soldiers 

On 2 March, Ukraine invited the worried mothers of Russian troops captured on the battlefield to come and collect their sons, in an apparent attempt to embarrass Moscow. The defense ministry said in a statement:

A decision has been made to hand over captured Russian troops to their mothers if they come to collect them in Ukraine, in Kyiv. Unlike Putin’s fascists, we Ukrainians are not waging war against mothers and their captured children.

The NY Post reported that nearly 20,000 foreign volunteers have signed up to fight alongside Ukraine against invading Russian troops. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said at a news conference Sunday that the number of foreign applicants is “approaching 20,000,” the Washington Post reported:

Experienced veterans and volunteers from 52 countries of the world come to us. This is their desire,” The influx of applications comes after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky last week called on “citizens of the world” to join the Ukrainian defense and lifted visa requirements for foreign fighters.

Another service that uses contractors said that Ukraine is recruiting offering $60,000 a month. Russia has already warned that mercenaries who join the fight in Ukraine are not entitled to prisoner of war status. As western mercenaries join the fight against Russian forces in Ukraine, contractors are recruiting former military agents for covert operations inside the country. They also added there's a good chance you'll come face-to-face with death squads and private militias dispatched by the Kremlin.

TikTok and Netflix also suspended their operations in Russia following the Kremlin’s new “fake news” laws – it means anyone not toeing the party line when reporting the Russian invasion could face up to 15 years in prison, or a fine of £10,700.

In WWII, one of the U.S. Office of Strategic Service’s best ideas was the Simple Sabotage Field Manual. The manual’s creators recognized that the Nazi occupiers’ greatest vulnerability as an occupying force lay with the native population. Its purpose was to instruct citizens from countries under Nazi occupation about how to perform acts of sabotage using everyday items – matches, hairpins, nail files, candles, pebbles, grease, string, dead insects, hair, salt, and nails – that would undermine the enemy’s ability to function and demoralize them. The OSS Society (WWII vets and families of such veterans) has translated the OSS Simple Sabotage Manual into Ukrainian. We hope it will contribute to an occupied country’s liberation just as it did during World War II. Glory to Ukraine.

On 7 March 2022, the international hacker’s group, Anonymous, claimed to have hacked into Russian state TV to share the harrowing footage coming out of Ukraine. In a tweet shared on Monday, the hackers alleged they had hacked into the Russian streaming services Wink and Ivi, along with live TV channels Russia 24, Channel One, and Moscow 24 to show what life is like 12 days into Vladimir Putin’s invasion. Sharing video footage of an alleged disrupted news channel, Anonymous included at the end which calls for all Russians to oppose the attack on Ukraine, adding: “Ordinary Russians are against the war.”

I get about 8-10 robot phone calls daily. I thought that was annoying, but now Russian communicators are complaining about far more calls. The Daily Beast of 6 March 2022 reported:

While Russian President Vladimir Putin is raining bombs on Ukrainian cities, his top propagandists are most concerned about getting bombarded with text messages and losing the information war to Ukraine. On Thursday’s episode of The Evening with Vladimir Soloviev, state TV propagandist Vladimir Soloviev complained that he and editor-in-chief of RT Margarita Simonyan are being terrorized by unknown individuals, receiving endless calls and texts about Russia’s military activities in Ukraine. He griped:

Margarita and I can show our telephones to demonstrate that we’re getting a thousand calls and texts per hour

Several days earlier, two other state TV propagandists, Olga Skabeeva and her husband Evgeny Popov, also reported a barrage of calls. Skabeeva, who hosts the state TV show 60 Minutes, angrily yelled that Ukrainians or their supporters have been endlessly calling everybody, everybody, all citizens of Russia. Later in the show, she grumbled about being subjected to a mass attack that started at 2 a.m.:

We started getting calls from the territory of Ukraine, two to three minutes apart, Ukrainian, and Polish phone numbers calling nonstop... And then, text messages with threats to kill me and my family, and photos—endless photos—of corpses, which they say are the corpses of Russian soldiers!”

On 8 March, the Ukraine published a booklet for their own people on Peaceful resistance. It told their people who were occupied how to fight the Russians without using force, quietly using methods like Mahatma Gandhi did. On 9 March 2022, the Ukraine put up a website that all their people could study on National Resistance. Some of the chapters included: active methods of civil resistance – Sabotage; Buildings; Water, electricity, and more; Industrial production; etc. 

Also, on 8 March it was reported that Ukroboronprom (a Ukrainian defense contractor) is offering to pay Russian pilots who defect with working aircraft payments of up to $1 million and “the issuance of citizenship in a free country.” The Ukraine Ministry of Defense seemed onboard with the offer of 1 million dollars (US) per aircraft and 500,000 dollars (US) per helicopter. The Ministry of Defense published a promotional video depicting aircraft and helicopters and offering each Russian pilot a reward if they defect. Those readers who have read my article on  Operation Moolah during the Korean War will know that the U.S. made a similar offer during that war wanting a MiG-15 and did eventually get one, although the pilot said that he had never heard of the offer and just defected to be free.

I need to remind readers again that this is all Ukrainian propaganda. Just as Putin does not allow the Russians to read anything but official government news, in the U.S. readers are seeing stories on Facebook, Twitter and other feeds that have eliminated Russian access. On 18 March there was a report that Russian soldiers are shooting themselves in the leg to get out of Ukraine. Allegedly, in a conversation between soldiers intercepted by Belarusian media outlet NEXTA, one Russian said:

They’ve been shooting at us for 14 days. We’re scared. We’re stealing food, breaking into houses. We’re killing civilians. Russian officers shoot themselves in the legs to go home. There are corpses everywhere.

Another soldier was heard saying that his comrades are:

Looking for Ukrainian ammunition to shoot themselves in the legs and go to hospital.

Deserters face harsh punishment in the motherland, so using Ukrainian weapons and ammo on themselves allows them to make their self-inflicted wounds appear to be battlefield wounds, according to reports.

Say Yes to Peace

Graffiti painted on the wall of a St. Petersburg building on 19 March 2022. U.S. newspapers reported that more than 15,000 Russian war protestors had been detained. 

We did get some news from Russia on the 18th. Putin tried to show Russian solidarity with his war by holding a celebration. CNN reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin justified the invasion of Ukraine at a rally in Moscow on Friday. Tens of thousands of people waved the Russian flag at the national stadium as they took part in celebrations commemorating the eighth year of Russia's annexation of Crimea, which is deemed illegal by the Ukrainian government and not recognized in the West. Speaking from a stage in front of a banner that read:

For a world without Nazism

Russia's Upper House Voted 153-0 to Stifle War Reporting. In another demand for loyalty Putin demanded that each member of his inner council come forward and state publicly that they support his attack on Ukraine. The vote was unanimous.

On 20 March we started to see lots of articles implying that Putin was deranged. One pointed out that he was sitting alone and seemed angry and suggested he was on steroids for his youthful looks and strength and was suffering “roid rage.” Another claimed that he had fired 1000 members of his staff to include cooks, clerks, and bodyguards because he was paranoid and afraid of being poisoned. It appears that if there is no real news the press will make up news. The most interesting news was that According to the Jerusalem Post, Belarus, a strong ally of Russia was facing an organized sabotage campaign aimed at railroad lines carrying Russian troops and supplies into Ukraine. The BYPOL group, which consists of former security officers who support the opposition in Belarus, said that a series of sabotage actions had targeted the railway system in Belarus, disrupting the movement of military trains in the country.

On 24 March, the Russian Defense Ministry went back to the biological laboratories story they had used earlier. The N.Y. Times had reported that they believed the Hunter Biden laptop which they had called a Republican dirty trick during the presidential election was now genuine. Many American far-right groups also believed that the Biden family and the Democrats were doing illegal biological research, to even include COVID. Russia said the latest results on the analysis of information about the now 30 Pentagon-funded Ukrainian biolabs engaged in dangerous and illegal research on deadly pathogens were financed by the investment firm Rosemont Seneca, connected to Joe Biden's son.

At the same time the Russians blocked access to the Google News internet service, saying that it provided access to materials containing "unreliable" information about Moscow's military actions in Ukraine.

The New York Times interviewed some Ukrainian pilots. It is hard to believe that there is a Ukrainian air force after weeks of war with the Russians owning the sky. Apparently, they fly from hidden hangars and generally face odds of 5 to 1. They claim to have shot down 97 Russian aircraft, and while the Russian fly about 200 sorties a day, the Ukrainians fly 10. The Ukrainian air force now has about 55 jet fighters left, but they are wearing out from constant use and little maintenance. They have asked NATO nations to supply them with aircraft, but so far nobody wants to poke the Russian bear.

Ex-CIA people talking about Putin say that he now listens to a Russian Orthodox Church mystic and takes his guidance like the old Czar and Czarina listened to Rasputin. Putin is said to disavow Lenin and Stalin for allowing a constitution that allowed their republics to leave the USSR if they so desired. These comments may or may not be true.

On 25 March, Putin seems to have blinked. With his forces on the ground stymied and unable to move forward, his main attacks coming long distance from artillery and aircraft, and his economy thought to be in a shambles, for the first time the Russian leader said that he never had any intention of conquering Ukraine, he simply wanted to take the Donbas region. Of course, he had taken a good deal of it back in 2014 with his first invasion of Ukraine. This could be a sign that he wants the war over, or as we found out in the Korean and Vietnam Wars, when Communist’s face difficulties they start talking peace and use the time to build up their forces. Only time will tell. Readers will say he is not a Communist, but he was a KGB officer in the old regime and has expressed his desire to return the USSR to its former glory, so I believe that little has changed from the days of Stalin.

Westerners, Awake!

Several articles appeared in various newspaper telling of all the organizations involved in the pro-Ukraine propaganda. They were using artists, writers, Internet specialists and other public relations people to cover the world with Ukrainian propaganda. One article mentioned the vast numbers of memes and posters produced. By coincidence, one poster appeared on the day I read the latest article. It is a call for volunteers to join the Ukrainians. Curiously, that same day I read that a battalion of Belarus volunteers had joined the fight against Russia.

The Russians had bragged about sending several hundred Chechen “volunteers” to fight against the Ukraine for them. On 26 March it was reported that “Chechen forces head home after losing hundreds of fighters in Ukraine.”

On 27 March, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said that there will be only one response from Ukraine and its people to Russian troops – hatred and contempt. He mentioned propaganda leaflets in his comments:

Turning off our television and turning on the cries of Moscow TV presenters, leaflets with propaganda, distribution of rubles. Rubles, which in Russia will soon be taken by weight, and not at face value. Bribery of the marginals, whom the occupiers are looking for in all the trash cans, to pretend to be a pro-Russian government, will not help either. There will be only one response to the Russian troops – hatred and contempt. And our Armed Forces will inevitably come.

Russian Tank for Sale…$10,000

That same day the news featured a demoralized Russian soldier surrendering tank for $10,000 and Ukrainian citizenship. He claimed his military bosses’ war campaign was too “chaotic” and that he’d rather take up the Ukrainians’ offer for resettlement than continue fighting. The soldier will eventually receive $10,000, a comfortable place to live and a chance to apply for citizenship. Victor Andrusiv, Ukraine’s Minister of Internal Affairs said:

The Russians are giving up! Ukraine has been sending Russia soldiers SMS messages telling them how to surrender and where to hand over their military gear. A few days ago, Misha called us. Misha pulled up in a tank and was the only one left in his unit.

On 28 March, it was reported that a Russian general was so demoralized he shot himself. The story comes from the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, so it is suspect. According to the report:

The Commander Of the 13th Tank Regiment of the Russian Army Shot Himself Dead. The occupiers are trying to restore the losses with the equipment removed from long-term storage. The state of this equipment is mostly extremely unsatisfactory, which makes it impossible to fully use it. Optical instruments and electronics containing precious metals have been completely stolen from combat vehicles. In the 4th tank division of the Russian Federation, it was found out that out of 10 "reactivated" tanks, only one is in operational condition. The rest are completely dismantled. Some of them do not even have engines. According to available information, the commander of the 13th tank regiment of the 4th tank division of the Russian Federation shot himself dead."

  

Demonstrate the Inhumane Behavior of the Ukrainian Armed Forces

On 29 March, an anonymous source posted a leaked document on Twitter that implied that with so many soldiers defecting to the Ukraine, there was a need for propaganda discrediting the treatment they would receive at the hands of the Ukrainians. In earlier wars the enemies of the U.S. had stated that the Americans would kill or eat the men and rape and murder the women. It is a time-tested form of propaganda and has worked in some cases, especially among Japanese soldiers and civilians, especially on Saipan.

To be fair, Pro-Russian comments called this document a fake and a black operation by Ukraine or its backers.

The same day there was a report that Ukrainian forces may have struck back inside Russia on with their first significant shelling. A Ukrainian missile appeared to have hit a temporary Russian military encampment outside Belgorod, in Russia’s village of Krasny Oktyabr, about 40 miles from the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. The timing seemed strange because Putin had finally agreed to ceasefire talks with Ukraine apparently agreeing to not joining NATO and allowing the Russians to occupy some of their areas that they had invaded earlier. At this moment when Putin appears to have blinked, this could enrage him and cause him to return to his attacks and desire to destroy Ukraine as a sovereign nation.

No one Wants this War

The New Lines Magazine site claimed that another leaflet had been issued by Ukraine. It was all-text and said:

NO ONE WANTS THIS WAR

We will help you get out safely.

Wait until your boss is busy.

Quietly walk away, don’t run.

Call 1648 or (044) 287 81 65.

Come up with your arms raised to the Ukrainian checkpoints on the line of contact with this flier.

The Ukrainian side guarantees your safety and good treatment!

WE WILL GIVE YOU FOOD AND THE OPPORTUNITY TO GET IN TOUCH WITH YOUR RELATIVES.

New Lines also reported that Ukrainian telecom specialists have been using hacked telephone databases to track down the personal communications of Russian soldiers not just already deployed inside Ukraine but also those still garrisoned at the border. Many of these exchanges, particularly the recorded ones, have been uploaded to YouTube channels and other platforms, mostly untranslated. Ukrainians have targeted not only Russians but also Belarusian troops. An example of a Belarus-aimed PSYOP:

Ukrainian messenger (UM): “I am calling Sergey Marchuk. Are you Sergey?”

Belarus soldier (BS): “Yes.”

UM: “Look, I’m calling to tell you not to come here [invade], not to make a mistake, because here you will for sure…”

BS: “How could you reach me? How did you get the information?”

UM: “Look, we know each of you. We have a database of your soldiers. We have telephone numbers, names, surnames, dates of birth — we know everything about you, you get it? We don’t want Belarus to fight with Ukraine. If you go forward, you will all die here. We are waiting for you. Is it clear? Personally, I have tons of friends, relatives in Belarus, and I don’t want us to fight with Belarusians. Therefore, make the right decision, don’t go to Ukraine because you will die!”

On 30 March Putin seemed to have confirmed that Russian troops have surrendered territory around Kyiv and lost Irpin as they flee back towards the Belarusian. This statement is so silly that I cannot believe it is true. If this was April 1, I would assume it is an April Fool’s joke. He allegedly said:

Just like our ‘special military operation’ is not an illegal war, this ‘special military fallback’ is not a sad, chastening retreat born out of the incompetence of myself and my inner circle. No piece of Ukrainian territory has been ‘taken back’ by Ukraine rather it has been generously gifted by the Russian army.”

Elsewhere, Russian has confirmed they would continue to refer to the bombing, killing, and starving out of the residents of the city of Mariupol as ‘peacekeeping efforts’ and forced removal of Ukrainian citizens to Russia as ‘a holiday.’

On 31 March, Russian troops that had occupied Chernobyl suddenly pulled back and began to withdraw from the Chernobyl nuclear plant. Ukraine’s state nuclear agency reported that the troops dug trenches in the highly radioactive Red Forest, within Chernobyl's Exclusion Zone, and apparently fell ill from the latent radiation and retreated to the Belarusian border.

A message from Russian Bots

On the same day Ukraine's intelligence service accused Russian operatives of creating a bot farm that sent 5,000 SMS messages to Ukrainian military and law enforcement officers encouraging them to defect and surrender to the Russians. The Ukrainian Armed Forces announced on Facebook that the Security Service of Ukraine had managed to shut down the Russian bot farm, or “special information operation,” which aimed to “shake the moral and psychological state of the Ukrainian security forces.”

Soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, launch an offensive on Kyiv - before Kyiv destroys you!

The outcome of events is predetermined! Be prudent and refuse to support nationalism and discredited leaders of the country who have already fled the capital!!!

Reward for Military Weapon Systems

On 1 April 2022, the Ukrainian parliament - the Rada - passed a law offering rewards to Russian soldiers who surrender with their equipment. In a statement written on the Rada's website, Bill 7229 proposes that anyone who delivers Russian equipment to Ukraine receive generous payouts. For example, the Rada states that anyone who gives the Ukrainian military a Russian warship or a combat aircraft (either a fighter or an assault aircraft) can receive up to a $1 million reward. A military vehicle, such as a specialized truck, will receive a reward of up to $10,000.

A man lay sprawled by the roadside in the Ukrainian city of Bucha on Sunday, his hands tied behind his back and a bullet wound to his head, one of hundreds of residents that officials say have been found dead in the wake of five weeks of Russian occupation. [Reuters]

Over the weekend of 3-4 April, things quieted down on the shooting front as Russian forces withdrew to refocus on regions in the east of the country. Reports of civilian casualties have emerged, including hundreds killed in the town of Bucha. The town's mayor said Ukrainian forces had buried at least 280 people in mass graves. The findings spurred many officials to accuse Russia and President Vladimir Putin of possible war crimes. Russia also carried out air raids against the southern port city of Odessa amid its retreat from the northern part of the country.

On 6 April, after several days of finding tortured and murdered civilians in the areas the Russians had been driven out of or retreated from, President Biden upped the sanctions by targeting Russian banks and elites with a new round of sanctions, including banning Americans from investing in Russia. The new sanctions hit Russia's Sberbank, which holds one-third of Russia's total banking assets, and Alfabank, the country's fourth largest financial institution. The United States also sanctioned Russian President Vladimir Putin's two adult daughters, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's wife and daughter, and senior members of Russia's security council.

On 7 April all was quiet. The Russians seemed to be recovering and preparing to continue attacks in the southeast of Ukraine. meanwhile the Adweek site told of new Ukrainian posters thanking the world for support.

On the same day, Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman allegedly said:

The Russian army has suffered significant losses in the country's unprovoked war with Ukraine. We have significant losses of troops, It's a huge tragedy for us.

I found that hard to believe because Putin would call that fake news and Peskov would be discredited and fired for those statements. And yet that same night I saw him make the statement on the evening news. At the same time, NATO estimated as many as 40,000 Russian troops have been killed, injured, or captured since the start of the war — which the Center for Strategic and International Studies said was about 25% of its initial attacking force.

The next major propaganda campaign by Ukraine was to point out that the Russians had attacked a Kramatorsk train station that was being used by the women and children to flee the expected Russian attack. 52 people were killed. To make matter worse for the Russians, one of their missiles with the words “For the Children” was found in the wreckage.

On 9 April, a site called The Daily Kos recommended that the United States beat Putin’s disinformation campaign by leafleting Russia. It said in part:

The PDU-5/B is an aircraft-deployed leaflet dispersal unit. It is derived from a cluster bomb developed by the U.S. Air Force around 1999. It was used successfully in Afghanistan and Iraq to distribute leaflets. In 2015, it was used again to drop 60,000 leaflets near Raqqa, Syria. Obviously, this cannot be done over Russian air space. But it could be done near Russian air space, at the Russian border. And with prevailing eastern winds, tens of thousands would still float into Russia.

It is a nice idea. And the U.S. used it to leaflet North Vietnam and to leaflet North Korea. It is sometimes called “standoff,” and means that without entering a territory you can stay 30-50 miles outside of it at altitude and let the prevailing winds blow leaflets over a targeted country. There is something Putin could do about it though. He could consider it an act of war and send fighters to shoot down the leaflet aircraft. It is safer to use radio from greater distance.

The Czech Information and Cyber ​​Forces Command has watched the Russian invasion of Ukraine carefully and commented on various aspects of it. In early April they said:

A well-executed psychological operation can have a catastrophic effect on enemy morale. They are used by both sides in the Russian/Ukrainian war; from calling phone numbers from hacked Russian and Belarus databases to classic leaflets explaining how to give up. The Ukrainians are not idle in this regard. Since the beginning of the war, they have been proving that sophisticated work in the information environment is no stranger to them. Their hackers were able to obtain the personal data of Russian and Belarusian soldiers at their borders, and they soon began to contact them. The aim is to deter them from attacking Ukraine. The message is clear:

We know about you; we know where you are. Don't come to our country.

On 14 April, CNN reported that the Ukrainians claimed to have hit a Russian warship while the Russians say it was a fire onboard the ship that ignited some ammunition:

One of the Russian Navy's most important warships has been badly damaged in the Black Sea, a massive blow to a military struggling against Ukrainian resistance 50 days into Vladimir Putin's invasion of his neighbor. Russian sailors evacuated the guided-missile cruiser Moskva, the flagship of its Black Sea fleet, after a fire that detonated ammunition aboard, Russia's defense ministry said. Ukraine's Operational Command South claimed Thursday that the Moskva had begun to sink after it was hit by two Ukrainian Neptune anti-ship missiles. "In the Black Sea operational zone, Neptune anti-ship cruise missiles hit the cruiser Moskva, the flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet -- it received significant damage."

Moskov

This was a powerful 600-foot-long warship loaded with all the latest offensive and defensive weapons. It has been called by naval experts a “carrier killer,” armed with so many weapons that it could break through a destroyer screen and destroy an aircraft carrier. It was an “unsinkable cruiser.” It had 16 anti-ship missiles, 64 long-range anti-aircraft missiles, 40 short range anti-aircraft missiles, and 5 torpedo tubes aiming forward and five aiming backwards. Most military experts believed it was impossible for the Ukraine with older subsonic missiles to hit the Moskva. The current theory is that the Ukrainians used a TB-2 Bayraktar drone to distract the search radar, which only has a 180-degree view, allowing the two 2016 subsonic R-360 Neptune missiles to slip past the radar about 15 feet above the rough seas at a top speed of 556 mph. The Russians first announced that after an accidental fire all the crew left the ship safely, later said that the Captain Anton Kuprin was killed in the explosion. The Ukrainians say that about 400 crew members were killed.

On the same day the British Spectator reported that, Elvira Nabiullina, the chair of the Russian Central Bank stated that “the invasion has flushed the Russian economy into the sewer.”

War Crimes in Bucha

During the time that Donald trump was President, it seemed that every day the N.Y. Times would have a story about some meeting or decision made inside the White House. Now, Intelligence Units and hackers have information on Russian forces and Russian spies and are making it freely available.

Using a mix of high-tech and Cold War tactics, Ukrainian activists and Western institutions are circulating information about the Ukraine war among Russian citizens to sow doubt about the Kremlin’s accounts. The Wired website mentioned some of the information that has been published, it says in part:

Names, birthdays, passport numbers, job titles - the personal information goes on for pages and looks like any typical data breach. But this data set is very different. It allegedly contains the personal information of 1,600 Russian troops who served in Bucha, a Ukrainian city devastated during Russia’s war and the scene of multiple potential war crimes. We should note that although the list contains the names of possible war criminals and murderers, Google blocked access to the list of Russian troops in Bucha because the file violated its policies against the publication of people’s private information.

The data set is not the only one. Another allegedly contains the names and contact details of 620 Russian spies who are registered to work at the Moscow office of the FSB, the country’s main security agency. Neither set of information was published by hackers. Instead, they were put online by Ukraine’s intelligence services, with all the names and details freely available to anyone online:

Every European should know their names.

Broadly, the data comes two ways: information published proactively by Ukrainian authorities or their allies, and information obtained by hackers. Hundreds of gigabytes of files and millions of emails have been made public. Since the war started, Ukraine has mobilized a volunteer IT Army that has targeted Russian websites and companies, aiming to take their services offline. Ukraine’s digital ministry has also become a polished war machine.

Thank You

Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam motion designer Serhii Serbin, who is from Ukraine, teamed up with his Kyiv-based friend and fellow designer Olla Kuzovkina to create a series of downloadable posters and social media assets that simply say “Thank you” for the help Ukrainians have received from people around the world since Russia invaded the country on Feb. 24. The idea is to spread this message of gratitude globally, keep the spotlight on the war and inspire others to help. The posters are available in 16 languages and come in blue and yellow, the colors of the Ukrainian flag, with seven different “thank you” lines highlighting ways that people can show support. “Thank you for sharing your homes with us,” while another says, “Thank you for amplifying our voices.” They set up an Instagram channel, @UkrainiansSay.Thankyou, and a website, UkrainiansSayThankYou.com, which offer guidance on where to donate and tangible ways to support Ukraine, as well as a form to request a personalized version of a poster.

Deception Operations

During this war both sides have used numerous deception operations to fool the enemy into wasting ammunition and exposing themselves to counterfire.

Ukraine Deploys Decoy Mannequins to Fool Russian Forces
SOFREP

SOFREP says that photos emerging from the battlefield in Ukraine show a peculiar strategy being adopted by the Ukrainian forces. Decoy mannequins in military fatigues were seen deployed in certain areas of Ukraine to fool Russian forces into thinking they were real targets. The mannequins, armed with fake rifles and other makeshift weapons aimed at the enemy, are placed to confuse incoming forces that might try to make a push. Images of the decoys came out after Ukrainian forces regained control of Kharkiv in the eastern region of the country. The decoys, found positioned in the north of Kharkiv, were likely scavenged from destroyed buildings around the city. There is still no information about who dressed and set up these mannequins. Along with the decoys, “scarecrow soldiers” have also been spotted across Ukraine. Unlike the mannequins, these decoys were armed with not fake rifles but with portable missile launchers. Military strategists say that the decoys are set up to confuse Russian aircraft that might see the crows. In one rather odd case that was not deception, Ukraine Russia War Updates depicted Russian tanks apparently attacking a WWII tank that was part of a wartime monument in Bucha. Perhaps it was a case of better safe than sorry.

Photos circulating online have even shown a dummy soldier holding a stripped-down Stinger missile launcher along the outskirts of Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital. In another location, a ghost costume was spotted wielding an NLAW anti-tank system to scare off Russian tanks. These decoys have been seen attached to trees and greenery, as well as cars fitted to look like armored vehicles.

The Ukraine PSYOP Organization

Headquarters of the 72nd CIPSO.
Photo by Beregini

This article will now become even more unbalanced. We know very little about the Russian PSYOP organizations. On the other hand, the Ukrainian PSYOP organizations can be found all over the open news sources on the Internet. So, we shall talk about them here, and hope that at some future time, data on Russian PSYOP organizations become available.

 

Unit Insignia of 72nd Center for Information and Psychological Operations, Ukraine

The Centers for Information and Psychological Operations of Ukraine, says in part (edited for brevity):

In 2016, Ukraine began to form a new structure within its armed forces - the Special Operations Forces (SOF). One of the tasks of this type of troops was the conduct of information and psychological operations. The first attempts to create such unit’s date back to the middle of the 1972s. The 2004th Chief Center was founded in Sevastopol. Subsequently, the Ukrainian army and special services organized new centers. In June 2016, four centers of information and psychological operations were in different cities. In February 2017, the Doctrine of Information Security of Ukraine was approved by presidential decree. Ukraine PSYOP was carried out both independently and with the active support of friendly foreign states. Foreign specialists advised Ukrainian colleagues, provided them with the necessary software and hardware, shared working methods, etc. For example, since 2018, a team of instructors from the British Information Troops Brigade has been working in the 72nd Center of Information and Psychological Operations (CIPSO).

The structure of the PSYOP of Ukraine was quite simple. It was attended by four CIPSOs. The 72nd Chief CIPSO worked in Sevastopol, but after 2014 was transferred to the city of Brovary near Kyiv. The unit had approximately 150 people and coordinated the activities of other centers and was responsible for interaction with foreign units. The 16th CIPSO was in Guyva. The 74th and 83rd centers were deployed in Lvov and Odessa, respectively. A CIPSO, in addition to leadership and support units, has an analytical department, a department of observations and special actions, as well as the departments of printed propaganda, telecommunications networks and information and computer technologies. The Ukrainian CIPSO can act independently, or it can work together with foreign units. In addition, people from the civilian population and famous people, both Ukrainian and foreign, are recorded.

72nd center after the Russian strike, 24 February.
Photo by bmpd.livejorunal.com

Ukrainian PSYOP staged operations aimed at changing public sentiment in the target states through media channels, social networks, “bot” systems, etc. More recently, advertising services have been actively used to spread propaganda. The centers carried out various kinds of hacking attacks on various resources in Russia and other countries. On February 24, the Russian armed forces launched an operation to demilitarize Ukraine and attacked many its military sites including the 72nd CIPSO in Brovary. Despite all resistance, the Centers and adjacent structures are systematically being destroyed by the Russians with accurate blows.

According to TASS:

Russian Armed Forces hit Security objects of Security Service of Ukraine and the 72nd Center of Informational and Psychological Operations in Kiev with precision weapons, Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov announced. “In order to prevent informational attacks on Russia, technological objects of Security Service of Ukraine and the 72nd Center of Informational and Psychological Operations in Kiev were hit with precision weapons.” According to the spokesman, the control room of the Kiev TV tower was disabled.

A destroyed Russian tank in Chernihiv, Ukraine

On 18 April 2022, Russia's full-scale offensive into Ukraine's Donbas region began. Russia moved east after failing to capture the capital of Kyiv, along with other major cities across the country. The front is said to stretch nearly 300 miles long. The mostly Russian-speaking region lies along the Russian border. More than 14,000 people had been killed in the eight years of fighting in that area before Russia's broader invasion in February. In Mariupol, southwest of the Donbas region, Russian forces bombed the Azovstal steel mill after Ukrainian forces defied an ultimatum to lay down arms. The massive plant is believed to be the last pocket of resistance in the city. For several days Russia claimed they were not going to attack the last group of Ukraine fighters in the steel mill, remembering the street fighting of WWII in Stalingrad. They later claimed that they did attack the steel mill but apparently without success.

On 24 April, the British Daily Mail reported Russian losses according to Ukraine. I have no idea how accurate these might be:

Ukraine's land forces released new figures today, suggesting more than 21,000 Russian troops have died. A total of 873 tanks are said to have been destroyed, along with 2,238 armored vehicles and 333 aircraft. The flagship of Russia's Black Sea Fleet - the Moskva - sank last week after being hit by a Ukrainian missile. Putin's troops pulled back from Kyiv in late March, suffering low morale amid stiff resistance and heavy losses. Russia has now launched an assault designed to seize territory in the Donbas region in the east of Ukraine. But experts believe the war could go on for months or even years as Ukraine's military continues to defy the invaders, while Western allies continue to send financial aid and arms shipments to the defenders.

The war entered its third month as Russia continues to batter the port city of Mariupol and the Donbas Putin's forces today called in more airstrikes on the Azovstal steel plant - the last remaining Ukrainian holdout The move ignored Ukrainian officials' calls for an 'Easter truce' to allow civilians trapped there to evacuate. Russian forces intensified attacks in Popasna and Sieverodonetsk in Luhansk, and Kurakhiv in Donetsk. Putin's forces also deployed mine-clearing vehicles to destroy Ukrainian armed forces holdouts in Rubizhne. The attacks come as Ukrainians and Russians alike celebrate Orthodox Easter, two months since war began. The Kremlin announced it will deploy its fearsome nuclear-capable 'Satan II' missile this autumn.

An elderly Ukrainian woman is pictured receiving aid from a Russian soldier in Ukraine

 

Milk carton rigged with a wire connected to a detonator placed inside the carton in what appeared to be a cruel boobytrap

Some of these stories are so awful that they are hard to believe. According to the Daily Mail of 26 April 2022, a Ukrainian grandmother narrowly escaped death after a Russian soldier gave her a boobytrapped carton of milk loaded with explosives.

Russian soldiers are now pretending to hand out 'humanitarian aid,' but when the pensioner from the besieged city of Kherson went to open the screw-top carton she noticed wires attached to the lid. Further investigation revealed the wires led to a detonator. The woman's son told local media, “My retired mother noticed that there was something wrong with this milk, as if someone had been drinking from it before, or if it was broken. 'She carefully unscrewed the cap and showed me what was there.' The boobytrapped milk carton contained a homemade explosive attached to a fishing line which when opened would detonate the bomb.”

On the same day, two explosions were reported in the Trans-Dniester region. The thin, 249-mile-long strip of land, sandwiched between Moldova and Ukraine, has been controlled by separatists since 1992 and is home to roughly 1,500 Russian troops. Concerns have grown that the troops, ostensibly there for peacekeeping efforts, may attempt to invade Ukraine and link to the eastern Donbas region, giving Russia control of the country's south. The Ukrainians believe this was a Russian “false flag” operation, meant to justify Russia attacking Moldova.

President Putin was thought to be ill by the Western press for several weeks. They mentioned the fact that while talking he held on to the table, perhaps to keep his hand steady and he tapped his right foot. There were comments of Hitler at the end of WWII where his hands shook, and he hid them behind his body. I thought that was western propaganda, or at best, wishful thinking.

On 2 May 2022 it was announced by the Telegram channel General SVR that Russian President Vladimir Putin was set to undergo cancer surgery and temporarily hand over power to a hardline former federal police chief. Putin will transfer control of Russia’s government to Nikolai Patrushev, head of the Russian federal police’s Security Council, while he is incapacitated during and after the procedure. Now I wonder with the war going so badly, if Putin is trying to get out from under by being incapacitated and perhaps the new man at the top will catch the blame. I find it hard to believe anything I read and am always wondering if this is some new form of “sympathy” PSYOP.

KNSS Radio said on 2 May that hackers wreaking havoc in Russia:

A recent survey said that Russia had the most passwords and sensitive data leaked throughout the internet compared to any other country in the world in March, according to The Washington Post. The small group called Network Battalion 65 formed just prior to the war beginning and were able to release 20 years of emails from VGTRK, the All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Co. Network Battalion spoke to the newspaper in their first interview and explained that they believe going after Russia is "the right thing to do" and are working on their missions on the side of their real jobs and personal lives.

Other hacktivist operations have gone after Russian soldiers and Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (F.S.B.) agents, releasing the names and personal information about those who allegedly were part of the large massacres of civilians in Bucha, Ukraine, according to The New York Times. Conti, a ransomware group, said it would protect Russia from cyberattacks following their invasion of Ukraine. But instead, many of the Russian group members were in Ukraine and posted 100,000 internal group messages and hacked their code to make it easier for others to attack them.

The Admiral Makarov

A Russian frigate may have been struck by anti-ship missiles in the Black Sea, the Ukrainian outlet Dumskaya reported on 5 May. The vessel, the Admiral Makarov, was reportedly struck near Snake Island by Ukrainian-made Neptune anti-ship missiles. According to Dumskaya, Admiral Makarov is damaged and on fire, but has not sunk. Open-source analysts at OSINTdefender said that the claims are becoming more likely to be true, as multiple Rescue Ships and Aircraft are reportedly in the area with US Surveillance Drones keeping eyes on it. Commissioned in 2017, Admiral Makarov is the third, last and most modern vessel in her class. All three of the Admiral Grigorovich-class frigates belong to the Black Sea Fleet. Armed with 24 Buk medium-range surface-to-air missiles and eight Kalibr cruise missiles, all in vertical cells, the frigates can escort other vessels and attack targets on land.

On 9 May, “Victory Day” in Russia where they celebrate the WWII defeat of the Nazis with parades and patriotic ceremonies, hackers apparently broke into Russian TV and placed anti-war comments on every channel. Reuters said:

Russian satellite television menus were altered on Monday to show viewers in Moscow messages about the war in Ukraine: “You have blood on your hands,” according to screenshots obtained by Reuters. The photographs showed Moscow satellite television menus on Victory Day, when Russia celebrated the 77th anniversary of Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany, with every channel showing anti-war slogans. Other slogans were “You have the blood of thousands of Ukrainians and hundreds of dead children on your hands,” “The TV and the authorities are lying. No to war.” A Russian news website also showed anti-war material that was deeply critical of Putin. It was not immediately clear how the negative articles appeared. They swiftly disappeared.

On 9 May 2022, Russia held its annual Victory Day celebration, with events including a massive military parade helmed by President Vladimir Putin in Moscow's Red Square. More than 65,000 people were estimated to have taken part, with an estimated 2,400 pieces of military equipment being put on display. The occasion marked the anniversary of the 1945 defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II. In his remarks, Putin framed the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a battle to protect Russian interests, as well as a fight against neo-Nazism in the neighboring country. The Soviet Union lost 27 million people during what Russia calls the Great Patriotic War, and many of them were Ukrainians, once a part of the old USSR. Russia is believed to have about 97,000 troops fighting in Ukraine in 97 Battalion Tactical Groups. On the same day, Ukraine, President Zelensky said to his people:

Very soon there will be two Victory Days in Ukraine. We are fighting for freedom, for our children, and therefore we will win.

On 14 May, New Lines Magazine reported that an oligarch close to the Kremlin said that President Vladimir Putin is very ill with blood cancer. The type of cancer was unspecified, New Lines reported in a story discussing myriad rumors about Putin’s health. The magazine added: “The recording represents rare testimony by someone with proven ties to the Russian government that its fanatical dictator may well be seriously unwell.” The unnamed oligarch said of Putin on the tape, “He absolutely ruined Russia’s economy, Ukraine’s economy, and many other economies — ruined them absolutely. The problem is with his head. … One crazy guy can turn the world upside down.” I remind readers that they should take any alleged comments with an unnamed oligarch could be real or a complete fabrication.

It is believed that Putin started this war because he feared the NATO nations getting so close to his borders. If that was the case, he failed miserably. On 12 May 2022 it was reported that Finland announced its wish for the country to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, ending a decades long position of neutrality. The country shares an 830-mile border with Russia, and the membership would more than double the border length NATO shares with Russia. The Finns now believe they would be safer under NATO’s protective umbrella than left to deal with Russia alone. Before the war, only 20 percent of Finns supported joining NATO. By May, that figure had reached 76 percent. Finnish President Sauli Niinisto told Putin that it was above all his “massive invasion” of Ukraine that prompted Finland to seek the protection afforded by the NATO security alliance. Russia retaliated on 14 May when their state-owned company RAO Nordic halted electricity exports to Finland. It might have been punishment, but Russia blamed Western sanctions for the move, saying they had made it difficult for Russia to receive payments for the supplies.

Sweden’s ruling party dropped the country’s historic military nonalignment on 15 May and agreed to join NATO, shortly after Finland’s leaders officially announced they would do the same. All NATO countries must agree on new members, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has criticized the Nordic nations. This has nothing to do with Ukraine but is about Turkey’s own defense of its policy against the Kurds which it considers its enemy while the Nordic nations have been sympathetic of their plight.

On 15 May, Reuters reported that Switzerland's fabled neutral status is about to face its biggest test in decades, with the Defense Ministry tilting closer to Western military powers in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The Defense Ministry is drawing up a report on security options that include joint military exercises with NATO countries. Moving closer to the alliance would mark a departure from the carefully nurtured tradition of not taking sides that its supporters say helped Switzerland prosper peacefully and maintain a special role as intermediary

On 16 May 2022, McDonald's Corporation said it would pull out of Russia after more than 30 years of operation in the country, in response to the invasion of Ukraine. The departure carries huge symbolic as well as economic weight because the fast-food chain was one of the first Western brands to set up shop in Russia when it opened a branch in Moscow’s Pushkin Square in 1990, just before the fall of the Soviet Union. A reported 30,000 people lined up at the restaurant on its opening day. MacDonalds has 820 restaurants in Russia and employs 62,000 workers. The Renault automobile company is also leaving. It is selling its companies there that employ 45,000 workers. It does have a clause in the contract that it can buy back the company holdings in the next 6 years if things change for the better in Russia. The company sold almost a half million cars in Russia in 2021.

Russia has been very careful not to disclose deaths and injuries to its army during Putin’s Special Military Operation. On 16 May many Russians were probably shocked when they turned on one of their top TV shows and suddenly heard about the war. The BBC reports:

The program was 60 Minutes, the flagship twice-daily talk show on Russian state TV. A studio discussion that promotes the Kremlin line on absolutely everything, including on President Putin's so-called "special military operation" in Ukraine. But studio guest Mikhail Khodarenok, a military analyst and retired colonel, painted a very different picture. He warned that “the situation for Russia will clearly get worse as Ukraine receives additional military assistance from the West” and that “the Ukrainian army can arm a million people. The biggest problem with Russia's military and political situation, is that we are in total political isolation and the whole world is against us, even if we don't want to admit it. We need to resolve this situation. The situation cannot be considered normal when against us, there is a coalition of 42 countries and when our resources, military-political and military-technical, are limited.”

The BBC seems to think this is part of Putin’s plan to tell the people about the state of his war:

Was it a pre-planned burst of reality to prepare the Russian public for negative news on the progress of the special military operation? It's difficult to say. But as they say on the television, stay tuned to Russian TV for further signals.

Volodymyr Zelensky – May 16, 2022

Time named the 100 most influential people in 2022, including President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valerii Zaluzhnyi, and Editor-in-Chief of “Ukrainska Pravda” Sevgil Musaieva.

Russian Armored Train

According to Ukrayinska Pravda, on 18 May in occupied Melitopol, the Ukrainian resistance movement blew up a Russian armored train as it was transporting soldiers and equipment. The train consisted of 10 cars. The explosion was carried out under a car carrying personnel from Russian occupying units, who were rotating home.

The Ukrainian resistance movement is also putting up pro-Ukrainian leaflets in public places in Melitopol. Residents of Melitopol told journalists that in the city park named after Gorky, unknown persons put leaflets with pro-Ukrainian slogans on the pillars and walls. The signs are hand-written in the Ukraine colors of blue and gold and seem to say “Melitopol is Ukraine.”

Russian troops also distributed leaflets with instructions on how locals should behave during the “special military operation.” Ukrainians were told to keep away from Russian soldiers and their armored vehicles, to give them the right of way on the street, and to remain unarmed. To avoid “propaganda and disinformation from Kyiv,” the leaflets said, Melitopol’s residents should tune in to Russian state television, and to the Telegram channel of one of Moscow’s most famous and bombastic propagandists, Vladimir Solovyov. People driving around town discovered that the local radio airwaves had been taken over by Russian broadcasts, including one that aired a speech by Putin over and over.

On 20 May, in a sign of Russia's urgent need to bolster its war effort, parliament said it would consider a bill to allow Russians over 40 and foreigners over 30 to sign up for the military. The Ukraine already has a volunteer foreign Legion made up of citizens of many countries that remember the Soviet Union in the Cold War days. On the same day, The Group of Seven countries—Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the US—agreed to send $19.8B in economic aid to Ukraine. The funds, a combination of loans and grants, are meant to help Ukraine bolster its short-term finances so the country doesn't run out of money as it defends itself against Russia's invasion. The International Monetary Fund in April estimated Ukraine needs at least $5B per month, or $15B through June, for its economy to stay afloat. The annual inflation rate hit 16.4% in April in Ukraine, the highest since September 2017. In Russia, annual inflation rose to a two-decade high of 17.8% in April. In contrast, annual inflation in the US is at 8.3%, while in the UK, it's at 9%.

On 24 May, Starbucks announced that it was closing its 130 stores in Russia. At the same time, Russia decided to use the disease card again said a source at the European Center for Disease Control reportedly claims that an unnamed source told him that preliminary analysis of the monkeypox strain currently doing the rounds found the virus came from a lab and may be related to U.S. biological research in Ukraine. Another news story said that it appeared the disease came from a “Rave” in Europe and the transmission was sexual in nature.

On 25 May it was reported on Twitter that Russia had placed three propaganda trucks in occupied Mariupol that broadcast Russian state-owned television news channels.

On the same day, both sides gave their numbers for enemy troops or weapon systems captured or destroyed after 92 days of fighting.

The Russians said that 178 Ukrainian planes and 126 helicopters, 1,006 unmanned аeriаl vehicles, 322 antiaircraft missile systems, 3,258 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 430 multiple launch rocket systems, 1,671 field artillery and mortars, as well as 3,155 units of special military vehicles were destroyed during the operation.

The Ukraine reported that Russia had lost about 29,450 soldiers and officers, 1,305 tanks, 3,213 armored fighting vehicles, 606 artillery systems, 201 MLR systems, 93 air defense systems, 206 warplanes, 170 helicopters, 491 operational and tactical level UAVs, 112 cruise missiles, 13 warships/cutters, 2,217 other vehicles and tanker trucks, and 44 pieces of special equipment during the invasion.

As Russia focuses its attack on the industrial Donbas region. Russia is ready to provide a humanitarian corridor for vessels carrying food to leave Ukraine, in return for the lifting of some sanctions, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko said. U.S. intelligence shows that a Russian naval blockade has halted maritime trade at Ukrainian ports, in what world leaders call a deliberate attack on the global food supply chain. The Ukraine was known as the Breadbasket of Europe during the Cold War Days. The British Defense Ministry said that Russia’s blockade of the Black Sea has left “significant supplies of Ukrainian grain” stranded and “unable to be exported,” as fears grow that the war could spark a global food crisis. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen accused Russia of using food “as a form of blackmail.” On 27 May, The American general slated to become NATO’s next supreme allied commander warned that Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian grain exports could enable terrorist networks in other parts of the world and may require U.S. military intervention to ensure global markets don’t become destabilized.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged political and business leaders to scrap their remaining interests in Russia at the World Economic Forum in Davos:

All trade with the aggressor should be stopped. All foreign business should leave Russia so that your brands are not associated with war crimes. Values must matter.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg echoed that call:

Russian President Vladimir Putin made a big strategic mistake in invading Ukraine. Freedom is more important than free trade. Protection of our values is more important than for profit.

On 28 May 2022, it was reported that two regional officials in Russia were branded traitors and ordered to leave a legislative meeting after calling on Vladimir Putin to end the invasion of Ukraine. Deputies Leonid Vasyukevich and Gennady Shulga spoke at a meeting of the legislative assembly of Primorsky Krai in far eastern Russia. Both are part of Russia's Communist Party. Video of the meeting shows Vasyukevich unexpectedly calling on Putin to end the war, which he said is failing and costing many Russian lives. Shulga later spoke in his support.

At the same time Vladimir Putin signed a law removing an upper age limit on the Russian military, meaning over-40s can now serve. The law was passed just over three months after Russia invaded Ukraine, amid heavy Russian losses said to be limiting its ability to fight. There used to be a British TV Show called Dad’s War. It looks like the Ukrainians could soon be facing Russian infantrymen 50 and 60 years old.

By 1 June, the Russians seemed to be slowing taking control of the area they coveted in Ukraine. They repaired their earlier mistakes by having one general in charge of the war instead of several generals. They would not attack unless there were many days of artillery barrages to soften the target. They no longer sent waves of troops into battle to be torn apart by the Ukrainian guns. Now they sent smaller groups of better trained troops which lowered their body count. Russian forces now controlled most” of the city of Severodonetsk. This was one of the last major cities under Ukrainian control in the eastern region of Luhansk. After 100 days of battle things look bleak for Ukraine.

American President Biden, who sometimes seems to not recall what he said on earlier occasions, announced that his administration will send advanced missile systems to Ukraine, the opposite of what he said one day earlier when he said the US would not deliver the rockets to the war-torn country:

We have moved quickly to send Ukraine a significant amount of weaponry and ammunition so it can fight on the battlefield and be in the strongest possible position at the negotiating table.

Reading that quote, it almost seems there is no hope of Ukraine winning back its territories and this is more about making a strong argument at the negotiating table.

On 2 June 2022, the Washington Post reported that the transfer of four M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, commonly known as HIMARS, to Ukraine will come soon, and will require about three additional weeks to train Ukrainian forces to use them. The weapons will allow Ukrainian forces to launch multiple rockets rapidly and precisely at Russian artillery and forces. The rocket systems transfer was approved after Ukraine assured the Biden administration that it will not use them to launch cross-border attacks on Russia. The administration also decided to send munitions the HIMARS can launch that have a range of about 45 miles, rather than the long-range Advanced Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) that can reach up to 186 miles, limiting how Ukraine can use the weapons.

On 3 June, Russian President Vladimir Putin fired five more generals from the military's top brass amid Moscow's stumbling invasion of Ukraine. Putin's dismissal of the generals was reported by the Russian newspaper Pravda, which cited an extract of the decree that a source confirmed to be authentic. The decree listed five major generals, Vasily Kukushkin, Alexander Laas, Andrey Lipilin, Alexander Udovenko, and Yuri Instrankin, as well as police colonel Emil Musin. All five major generals held leading positions in the military for their various regions. Their firing comes weeks after two generals were fired for performing poorly in Ukraine

The New York Times reported on 3 June 2022:

Thousands Swept Up as Kremlin Clamps Down on War Criticism. The arrests are a stark gauge of how the Kremlin has intensified repression of critics. At least 50 people face prison sentences of up to either 10 years or five years hard labor, or fines of as much as $77,000, for spreading “false information” about the military. More than 2,000 people have been charged with lesser infractions, according to a human rights organization that tracks cases nationwide.

Some of the politicians who have tried to mediate the war have said some very strange things. On 4 June, as Ukraine made some slight gains in the battle for Severodonetsk, French President Macron worried that the Russians who started the war with an attack on Ukraine should not be humiliated by the poor record of its army. He asked Ukraine not to humiliate Russia in the fighting so that peace could be achieved more easily. As might be expected, Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba was enraged and said:

Calls to avoid humiliating Russia can only humiliate France and every other country that would call for it.

On 6 June intense fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces raged in the streets of the industrial city of Sievierodonetsk. The Ukrainian defenders had over the weekend regained control over about half the city just as the Russians appeared on the verge of victory. They seemed to have the city in their grasp but then it slipped away. It was also reported that another Russian general, Major General Roman Kutuzov's was killed in eastern Ukraine. James Stavridis, a former NATO supreme allied commander for Europe, said:

In modern history, there is no situation comparable in terms of the deaths of generals … Here, on the Russian side, in a two-month period, we've seen at least a dozen, if not more, Russian generals killed.

On 8 June 2022, it was reported that Russian forces are escalating the use of psychological and information operations to damage the morale of Ukrainian soldiers. The Ukrainian Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) reported that Russian forces are sending threatening messages to the personal devices of Ukrainian servicemen calling on them to betray their service oaths, lay down their arms, surrender, or defect to Russia. The GUR reported that Russian forces are sending messages on a variety of platforms including SMS, Telegram, Viber, Signal, and WhatsApp and that the messages use location information to threaten to harm Ukrainian soldiers or their family members. Ukrainian military expert Dmytro Snegirov additionally noted that Russian propagandists are conducting informational and psychological campaigns to spoil the morale of Ukrainian troops by disseminating information that the battle for Severodonetsk will become the “next Mariupol.” These information and psychological attacks likely seek to lower the morale of Ukrainian servicemen as operations on multiple axes of advance continue to generate high causalities on both the Ukrainian and Russian sides.

There was very little news about the Ukraine for the next 10 days. The Russians slowly obliterated Severodonetsk with massive artillery and missile barrages and the Ukrainians stubbornly gave up ground. On 16 June two minor stories broke that might become bigger news later. In the first U.S. Federal agents question technology companies on how their computer chips ended up in Russian military equipment recovered in Ukraine. Western chips and components were found in Russian radar systems, drones, tanks, ground-control equipment, and littoral ships. In the second, the United States said it would give another $1 billion in military aid to Ukraine including anti-ship missiles which could be used against the Russian blockade of Ukraine shipping. NATO members also promised more weapons.

Dutch authorities made a surprise announcement on 17 June 2022. They caught a Russian spy posing as a Brazilian national named Viktor Muller Ferreira trying to infiltrate the International Criminal Court. Authorities speculated that the man was seeking to gain access to information relating to the ICC investigations of alleged Russian war crimes. He was sent back to Brazil. His social media accounts showed that the intelligence officer had studied at top academic institutions in Europe and the United States, including the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Washington. His real name was Sergey Vladimirovich Cherkasov.

Fake Newspaper?

There was an unverified report from Ukraine that the Russians had produced a fake newspaper in the occupied territories that looked like a Ukraine newspaper, except had stories of Ukraine defeats, designed to lower the morale of the local people.

On 17 June, the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, released an opinion recommending that Ukraine (as well as Moldova, its smaller former Soviet neighbor) be granted candidate status for membership to the European Union. A slate of prominent European leaders said the decision was necessary, principally as a gesture of solidarity and recognition of Ukrainian courage and valor on the battlefield in the face of the ongoing Russian invasion.

On 23 June 2022, the Russians continued pounding Ukraine and the stories coming out of Ukraine were not so much about the fighting as odd special interest stories. One Washington Post story claimed that the Russian FSB, a successor to the KGB intelligence service is a domestic intelligence service, but Putin had given one of its departments, known as the Fifth Service, the responsibility of keeping former Soviet republics in the Russian orbit. Allegedly, the Fifth Service provided intelligence on Ukraine in the buildup to the war that led Putin to conclude the invasion of Ukraine would be a walkover. After that evidence proved faulty, there was a purge in FSB ranks, with one Fifth Service leader sent to a notorious prison.

Ukranian Predator sniper

In another story, a Ukrainian 'sniper' has been captured on camera sitting on the ground in grassy camouflage gear, with a Predator mask to complete the look. Viral footage of the soldier has been posted to social media and it's gone viral. Snipers in the U.S, are taught to be invisible, wear camouflage or even a full body “Gilly Suit” which makes one invisible in high grass. The idea of a sniper walking around dressed like a Hollywood alien character is kind of absurd.

On 24 June, Ukraine said its troops were withdrawing from the city of Sievierodonetsk after weeks of constant bombardments and street fighting. They had apparently been preparing another defensive line behind the city for some time. The Russians are already producing propaganda pointing out how the Ukraine is being forced to fall back from cities, so it will be a big boost for them. The morale of the Ukraine troops will surely suffer from this withdrawal. The manpower of Ukraine is limited and the Russians with a regular draft can send in new troops as needed. The same day The United States agreed to provide an additional $450 million to Ukraine, including more long-range rocket systems.

By 27 June, there were a mishmash of unconfirmed reports by both sides, but little hard news. The US attempted, with partial success, to stop Russia from importing gold. The Russian rocketed Kiev, thought to be a message to the G7 Summit meeting at that time. The Russians said they hit a convoy of Ukrainians leaving Sievierodonetsk, and the Ukrainians said they destroyed a convoy of 6 Uragan rocket launchers, transporter-loader vehicles, fuel trucks, trucks, fire control vehicles, armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles. The Russian attacks now shifts to neighboring Lysychansk, the last city in the Luhansk region still under Ukrainian control. Sources in the U.S. said that the Russian war machine would soon grind to a halt. U.S.-supplied rocket systems entered the fight in Ukraine and Ukraine forces used US-made radar to fight off Russians. Both sides continue to beat away at each other, but Russia still seems to be advancing, even if extremely slowly. Russia apparently missed its foreign debt payments, not because it does not have money, but because of the economic sanctions. Although leaflets, posters, loudspeakers, and radio were surely being used, nothing regarding PSYOP was reported. The Group of Seven nations pledged to back Ukraine “as long as it takes” to successfully resist Russia’s invasion. It described an apparent Russian missile strike on a crowded shopping center in east Ukraine as a “war crime.” The group’s nations are “hurriedly” pursuing the implementation of a price cap on Russian oil to further deprive Putin of much-needed revenue.

Discussing the coming NATO summit, the member states will announce they will boost the number of forces kept at a high readiness level to 300,000. It’s a direct response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Transforming NATO’s quick-response force of 40,000 troops, is one of the ways the 30-member alliance is responding to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

On 29 June, it what is surely a political victory for the U.S. and possibly Ukraine, Turkey agreed to drop its opposition to the NATO bids of Sweden and Finland, paving the way for the alliance to grow. Turkey had resisted because they felt those countries had sided with the Kurds against Turkey. I assume that political promises were made to have the opposition dropped. It is said that Ankara is already seeking the extradition of alleged terror suspects and Turkey may get F-16 fighter jets. With two more countries entering NATO, it might be possible to fast-track the entrance of Ukraine too. At the same time, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, a day after a Russian missile strike killed at least 18 people at a mall in central Ukraine said, “The person who carried out this strike knew for sure that he was aiming a missile at an ordinary shopping center,” urging the council to strip Russia of its permanent seat and label Moscow a state sponsor of terror.

On 30 June, A group of wives of Russian soldiers recorded an extraordinary video appeal to authorities to bring their men home alive. The appeal is a sign of desperation in a society where even the mildest criticism of Russia's war is criminalized. At the same time, Russia, and Ukraine each exchanged 144 soldiers in a swap that Ukrainian authorities called the largest prisoner exchange since the start of the Russian invasion.

The Leaflets

I am sure that there have been Russian propaganda leaflets dropped every day by Russia.  I have seen hundreds that were dropped during WWII, and dozens that were dropped on Afghanistan during their brief stay there. But we have seen almost none of the leaflets that were surely dropped on Ukraine. The same applies to the Ukraine leaflets. They must exist but very few have been seen. I hope to add more leaflets to this article as they become available.

The Congressional Research Servicesays that Unit 54777, also known as the 72nd Special Service Center, reportedly is responsible for the GRU’s psychological operations. This includes online disinformation and information operations. This includes operating in support of other GRU cyber units and operating on the tactical level by conducting electronic warfare and psychological operations. Media reports have linked Unit 54777 to online disinformation campaigns, specifically regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

  

Ukraine Leaflet – Russian Soldier – Pass

This leaflet is a standard safe conduct pass. It tells the Russian soldier that he can throw away his weapon, come over to the Russian side and live. He was deceived by his commanders and the only way for him to survive is to come over to the Ukraine side where he will be well treated.

The front of the leaflet says:

Russian Soldier!

Your command hides thousands of casualties on the Ukrainian front, does not report deaths of relatives, lies in the news about the absence of victims.

You have the opportunity to return home alive!

This leaflet is a passport to a normal life. Show it to the Ukraine military and they will help you get home!

Drop Your Weapon!

  • Ukraine does not kill prisoners
  • They are in a safe place
  • They are being fed
  • They get medical help!

Come to the Ukrainian positions individually or in small groups, holding your weapon in front of you with the muzzle down.

The back of the leaflet says:

This is not your war. You are wanted at home.

February 24 at 3 am, you were alerted and deceived, dragged to the territory of independent Ukraine.

Sitting in your tank or armored personnel carrier, you didn't even understand that from a Russian Soldier-Defender of the Fatherland - you in an instant became a vile occupier.

Ukraine has never threatened Russia! Ukraine did not violate the state borders of Russia! Could you have imagined a week ago that Russia would bomb and destroy Ukrainian cities? Putin's rockets hit residential areas of Kyiv, Kharkov, Chernigov and Kherson! Hundreds of civilians and children have been killed!!

You were deceived by the command!!

Putin lies to the entire people; he lies to you about the Bendera fascists. In Ukraine, Russians and Ukrainians live peacefully and amicably together, defending themselves from Russian occupation! Ask any local resident yourself!

And now Putin has made you a fascist!

In Ukraine, the People's War began against the Russian occupiers. We protect out land! We are defending against invasion! The people cannot be defeated! To protect their homes, everyone, both military and civilians, is destroying Russian tanks and equipment with Molotov cocktails.

Did you know that over 4,000 Russian soldiers died in the first 4 days of the war in Ukraine?

Open your eyes! Drop your weapon! Save your honor! Save your life!

HOW TO DO IT:

1. If you see Ukrainians, go out to them with your hands up and surrender voluntarily. This leaflet is your safe conduct pass.

2. Or refuse to go into battle! Yes, you will be threatened with a court martial, but you will remain alive. This is not cowardice - This is prudence.  

 

How to Surrender Correctly

The leaflet was purportedly made by the Ukrainian Bar Association and is titled “How to surrender correctly.” The colorful poster comes with diagrams and is an exhaustive account of the do’s and don’ts of the surrendering process. It states that Russians should throw down their weapons, stand up straight and yell surrender. If these conditions are followed the troops will be captured where they will enjoy the full benefits of prisoners of war under the Geneva Condition. The leaflet states: “Amnesty for those who voluntarily laid down their arms and presented military equipment. Phone call to family and friends to notify them about your condition.”

  

What can you do to overcome Russian filth?

We do not have much information on this Ukrainian leaflet. You can see it consists of eight paragraphs and shows things like trucks, destroyed trees, a rifle, and an explosion and fire. The only thing we know for sure is the title and theme.

What can you do to overcome Russian filth?

Follow the instructions and victory is ours!

Glory to Ukraine

  

  

Vulnerabilities of Enemy Vehicles

This single leaflet contains multiple images, each shows a different Russian vehicle and all the weak points that should be attacked by a Ukrainian fighter with a Molotov cocktail. I believe these were prepared by Operational Command “West,” Land Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Operational Command “North,” Command “Special Operations Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine , and Territorial Defense of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Some of the text is:

Vulnerabilities of enemy vehicles.

Beat the occupier!

Let's win together!

This leaflet mission was depicted on Twitter. Leaflets were seen blowing across the ground in in what appeared to be deep tank tracks in the ground. The Russian soldier holding the leaflets in his gloved hand then proceeded to crush them and throw them away. The short tweet was apparently accompanied by a Russian comment:

According to our positions near Kirillovka, Ukraine militants fired artillery shells, which carried leaflets calling for our surrender.

I cannot attest for the accuracy, but the leaflets are alleged to say:

THINK!

If you want to live - surrender!

Not a leaflet, but Ukraine guerrillas in Kherson are said to have put up the posters shown above.
Get Ready! We know all the routes of your patrols. Kherson is Ukraine.

This leaflet was not seen until June 2022 on Twitter, but apparently was used in Kherson in early May. The text is rather “dirty mouth” as much Ukrainian propaganda is. However, it is worth printing for historical purposes:

Oh yes, Russian, you can disconnect our Internet!
And scare us with your guns!
And [try to] bring your Russian nonsense,
and forbid [us to use] Instagram and Facebook.

But you will not be able to forbid [us] from loving
MY UKRAINE, MY COUNTRY!
And even if you fancy killing [us]
in [illegible] Russia I do not want to live.

Oh, if you knew what HELL awaits you,
and how you will die [like a dog] here,
then you would need to quickly prepare for a DEATH MARCH:
So that you learn how [they will come and] defend us!

9th of May

Fuck you cunt, Do visit, do not fear:
learn how much time is there left in your life: [Website address]

I show one poster above and in early June 2022 British researcher Lee Richards put several such posters on Facebook. Lee is an old friend and we worked together when we published the psychological warfare journal Falling Leaf for the Psywar Society, and I have written many articles for his website Psywar.org. These posters are easy to make and print and hundreds can be secretly put up in a Russian-occupied area overnight. The three posters above depict a smiling soldier and civilian, a Molotov cocktail lit and ready to throw, and a dagger. The texts are:

What is common to Kalush and SBU?
They both win.

Note: Kalush is a popular Ukrainian rap group formed in 2019. On 12 February 2022, Kalush represented Ukraine at the Eurovision Song Contest 2022 in Turin, Italy, and won. The Security Service of Ukraine or SBU is the law enforcement authority and main intelligence and security agency of the Ukrainian government.

[in Ukrainian]
1-2-3-4-5 We are out there to get you.
The Russian scoundrels dropped [bombs] on the dormitory of the Kherson secondary school of Kherson city council.
Let us all, friends, organize a hot student's day [for them, in return]. Prepare Molotov's cocktails.
Address of the dormitory + coordinates.

Note: This holiday marks the coming of the spring season, which takes place in different countries, on varying dates.

[in Ukrainian]
Our [lads] will emerge from the fog,
they will take a knife out of pocket
we will carve, we will beat,
It doesn't matter to you Orcs, you will still rot.

If the translator is correct about the use of the word Orc, that makes him a Tolkien fan. An Orc is a fictional humanoid monster like a goblin. Orcs were brought into modern usage by the fantasy writings of J. R. R. Tolkien, especially The Lord of the Rings. In Tolkien's works, Orcs are a brutish, aggressive, ugly, and malevolent race of monsters. “Orc” is also a derogatory slang used by Ukrainians to describe Russians, in the same way the British used to call Germans "Huns."

Mincemeat

I thought this poster was interesting. In Korea UN leaflets often depicted Russians pushing Chinese, or Chinese pushing North Koreans into the fire and death. We were saying, “you are dying for the foreign Communist leaders that tell your leaders what to do.” In America’s battle against the Islamic States one leaflet showed the terrorists running their own men through a meat grinder at the “Daish Recruiting Office.” In this poster, the Russians are depicted as a bowl of ground up mincemeat. Notice that the Ukrainians capitalized the “Z,” often seen on Russian tanks and other vehicles. The text is:

The Russians RealiZe
The SBU is close
You will turn to mincemeat.

Other leaflets depict the Russian “Z” over text and the message:

Russian occupiers and all who support their regime.
We are close and already working in Kherson. Death awaits you all. Kherson is Ukraine.

A poster showing a hand holding a Molotov cocktail and inviting attacks says:

Dear Guerrillas. Russian soldiers are handing out their shitty passports here.

One of the more common sayings with many different images such as a passport in a mousetrap, a passport in a bird cage, and a picture of the planet Earth is:

The Russian passport isolates you from the world.

As Ukraine found itself being welcomed by the European Union, it put up posters to tell the people that membership seemed eminent. This poster was seen in occupied Melitopol. The text is:

Melitopol residents, don't watch Russian news!

Ukraine continues fighting!

On June 24 Ukraine will get European Union candidate status.

Do you sleep at night, Russian?

Another poster seen in the city of occupied Melitopol on Ukrainian Constitution Day:

Do you sleep at night, Russian? We have managed to stab more than 300 of your comrades at night. Partisans don't sleep at night, they're hunting.

Russian Soldiers…

Resistance activities have ranged from posters threating Russians soldiers, the destruction of transport infrastructure and equipment, and the targeting of Russian soldiers and Ukrainian collaborators. We may not have all of this poster. I suspect it is very dangerous to be caught photographing Ukraine propaganda. What we have of this poster says:

Russian soldiers, if you don't want to be a NAZI in the 21st century then leave our lands! Otherwise, waiting for you are the fate of Hitler's soldiers and the Nuremburg trials!

We honor the memories of our grandfathers and continue their traditions of the destruction of enemy forces in our occupied lands.

Syrians…

During the fight against ISIS in Syria, the US, Russia, and Turkey helped to defeat the terrorists. Russia had very close ties with President Bashar al-Assad of Syria. Apparently, Assad repaid Russia by sending fighters to Ukraine. Here a Ukraine poster warns them of eminent death. The poster depicts a coffin with a Syrian flag. The text is:

Syrians, we will cut you down like dogs

On 6 June 2022, the Psywar.org site displayed a picture of a group of mixed Ukrainian leaflets that had been fired on Russian forces by 122 mm artillery on 18 March. Four different leaflets are depicted. I notice one features Hitler, Goebbels. Goering, Mussolini, and Putin. I am sure they represent a quintet of dictators. Also notice the round cardboard spacers above the leaflets. They are usually placed above and/or below the leaflets in an artillery shell to make the package tight and to protect the leaflets from the shell blast which can crinkle or burn them.

Letter Symbols

Winston Churchill makes the “V” for Victory Sign

Letters are interesting symbols that can be used as wartime propaganda. The most interesting use of such a symbol was WWII when British Prime Minister Winston Churchill made a letter “V” with his fingers. There was a certain inside joke there because in some cultures that sign is pornographic.

Russian Tank with “Z” sign

When Vladmir Putin started his war on the Ukraine his tanks and other vehicles bore the letter “Z,” which the Russians understood meant “For the victory.” In reality, it is probably just to help Russians identify their own vehicles and avoid friendly fire. During Operation Desert Storm, Coalition tanks bore an inverted V (Point up) to help identify friendly vehicles.

Ukrainian Leaflet with “L” sign for Liberty and Legion

Not to be outdone, the Ukrainians have a Russian Legion of Freedom that uses an “L” symbol on various objects such as leaflets, posters, signs, and graffiti which stands for “Liberty” or “Legion.” The letter may be accompanied by a fist with the words “Freedom” and “Russia,” another symbol of the Russian pro-Ukrainian movement. The leaflet above shows a soldier using his two arms to make the letter “L.” The “L” is also found on white flags with a horizontal blue stripe (called the Russian peace flag). I have also seen the symbol on banknotes in blue with the words “Liberty” and “Legion.” Some documents use the term “Legion of Freedom.” The Russian Legion of Freedom is an all-Russian regiment within the Ukraine Army. It gets its members from volunteers, deserters from the Russian Army, and prisoners of war captured by the Ukraine. The soldiers get more pay than the Russians, have better supplies and their men have more time off when they can rest. The text on the leaflet above is:

HOW TO REACH THE LEGION:

LAY DOWN YOUR ARMS.
SURRENDER TO THE SBU.
NOTIFY US OF YOUR WISH TO JOIN THE LEGION.

WHEN SURRENDERING TO THE FIGHTERS OF THE SBU, MAKE A SIGN OF THE
LETTER "L" WITH YOUR HANDS.
THIS WILL HELP IMMEDIATELY TO SHOW YOUR INTENTION AND DESIRE TO JOIN
THE LEGION.

A Freedom of Russia Legion poster.

This man is your friend. He fights for freedom.

Russian Leaflets

It is very hard to find willing Russian translators. A good friend did step forward and I want to thank PSYOP Researcher and Military Historian Obin Robinson for his kindness in sending me some Russian material he had found, and his efforts in translating some Russian-language leaflets for me.

 

Russian Leaflet

This is the first Russian propaganda leaflet that I have seen. It was disseminated in Melitopol. Some of the text is:

Russia is not fighting the Ukrainian people, only the Kyiv junta.
The people have nothing to fear. Russia guarantees you peace and security.
Do not leave your house unless necessary.
Do not approach military.
Read our telegram channels.

A Russian Leaflet depicted on Twitter

Many people, including myself, assumed that the Russian invasion would take perhaps 72 hours to succeed. We had no idea of the fierce resistance Ukraine would put up. It reminds me so much of the American resistance during the battle of the bulge when 26 German divisions attacked to split the allied forces. The weakened American divisions stood, fought, and stopped the German advance. This leaflet appeared on Twitter and if genuine, shows just how confident the Russians were of their quick victory.

DAILY ROUTINE OF THE PSKOV PARATROOPERS

0600. Rise
0700. Morning toilet
0800. Breakfast
0900. Attack on Ukraine
1200. Dinner
1300. Capture of Kyiv
1800. Gazmanov's concert
2100. Artillery salute

Signed: Minister of Defence S. Shoigu
approved: V. Putin

 

On 25 March it was reported that in Chernihiv, the Russians are circulating leaflets urging citizens not to hinder or obstruct the advance of the Russian forces. These are truly poor images but we have seen almost none of the Russian leaflets so I feel we must show them. Oleksiy Biloshitskyi, First Deputy Head of the Patrol Police unit, Ukrinform said:

Chernihiv. Today. Fascist Russians are distributing leaflets, trying to curb resistance put up by Ukrainians. The Nazis distributed the same leaflets in 1942. All by the same playbook. What's next? Concentration camps? Gas chambers?” They claim it’s the Ukrainians who allegedly "started it" and "can stop it." The leaflets contain appeals "not to hinder or obstruct the advance of Russian forces – so that everything ends sooner." These papers also claim that Russian soldiers are allegedly not at war with the civilian population. "Ukrainians will stick these papers onto the bottles of Molotov cocktails to burn you all."

Dear Residents…

On 31 March British specialist Lee Richards put this partial image of a Russian leaflet on his site. The leaflet message is reported to be: 

DEAR RESIDENTS OF UKRAINE

Russia is not at war with the civilian population, so family living, a comfortable living environment, improving the city’s infrastructure, freedom of speech, opinion, and choice, are Russia’s guaranteed priorities for native Ukrainians.

The history of the unity of Ukraine and Russia is the history of common victories, discoveries, and great achievements.

There is a lot of work ahead to be done on the mistakes made by weak, incompetent, and corrupt Ukrainian politicians.

Only together we, based on the foundation laid by our fathers and grandfathers, can prevent the atrocities of armed gangs of looters, robbers, and nationalists!

To achieve these goals, we ask you to assist the servicemen of the Russian armed forces in identifying and transmitting information about the activities of sabotage groups and nationalists.

THIS WAS ONLY ONE HAND

A French news report depicted these two images which are probably the front and back of a single sheet. There is an implication that the Russians had not really started to fight yet since they claim to be fighting with just one hand. The text from left to right is:

This was only one hand

The blood of Ukrainian children is on your hands

Dear Comrade…

On 2 April 2022, Radio Free Europe reported that Russian soldiers returning or redeploying from Ukraine frequently try to sell looted goods to Belarusians in southern border districts. Hospitals were also being filled with wounded Russian soldiers, and doctors and medical staff were being forced to work exclusively on treating them, and Russian soldiers killed in combat in Ukraine were overwhelming some of the region’s morgues.

In the Brahin district, which is just 20 kilometers from a major road crossing into Ukraine, residents reported lengthy columns of tanks, armored personnel carriers, and Ural troop transport trucks over the past week. One resident told RFE/RL that Russian soldiers gave him a leaflet in Russian that appeared to be a propaganda effort aimed at justifying the Russian invasion. The all-text leaflet said in part:

Dear comrades, friends, we do not need war! We are not going to attack and bomb cities. We came to fight not with the Ukrainian people, but with the nationalists, at whose hands peaceful people are dying…

The leaflet that Mariupol officials say has been circulated among the city’s residents
Photo: Mariupol City Council/Telegram

Mariupol officials have warned Ukrainian civilians about leaflets circulating which promise financial rewards if they move to the far east of Russia. Civilians were given the leaflets to aid Russian troops in forcibly deporting them to Kremlin soil.

First the racists destroyed a warm city on the Sea of Azov, and now they are driving people to Siberia and Sakhalin.

The leaflets, titled “The far east of Russia is waiting for you!”, appear to offer incentives for those willing to relocate to remote parts of Russia, including a monthly living allowance of 170,000 rubles and a free hectare of land. The leaflets, bear the logos of both Russia’s Ministry of the Development for the Far East and the Far East and Arctic Development Corporation. QR codes at the bottom of each page link to the official Telegram channels of each department. A third QR code links to a chat forum on Telegram titled: “Let’s go to the far east,” in which Ukrainian civilians have been asking for advice about relocating to remote parts of Russia. One woman from the city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine wrote on the channel: “Sorry to bother you. I am a mother of several children – I have a huge request for help. We recently escaped from hell and came to Russia. “Until I find a job, we need to live on something, we need to buy food and medicine, pay for housing.” Mariupol City Council compared the leaflets to those handed out by the Nazi party during World War Two urging Kyiv residents to move to Germany.

The Nazis also promised a good life in the 1940s when they drove people to work in Germany. But hundreds of thousands found there were not mountains of gold but humiliation, inhuman abuse, or death. History repeats itself again, and Putin’s ugly logic is now clear.

Last week, Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boichenko accused the Kremlin of forcibly deporting some 31,000 residents of the city to filtration camps on the Russian border.

A Russian Leaflet used in Kherson (Date Unknown)

This leaflet has the following text:

The Ukrainian News adds:

The occupation administration of Kherson distributed leaflets in which it tried to convince the local population that the crimes of the Russian Federation in Ukraine are committed for the benefit of the people, and “the armed forces of the Russian Federation are not at war with the Ukrainian people,” and calls for the overthrow of legal power in Kyiv. This was reported by the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine on 16 April.

In their leaflets, the invaders write that the war allegedly began because of Western plans to destroy the Russian and Ukrainian peoples and claim the goal of hostilities is the “operation to eliminate the anti-people Kyiv regime.” It is noted that in the leaflets that are distributed in Kherson by the invaders they say that the Ukrainians themselves and their chosen power are guilty of Russian aggression. In their messages, the aggressors call on Ukrainians to cooperate, and separately note: “Do not think that it will be quick and painless.”

In the Kherson region, the invaders are looking for military personnel and activists. At the same time, the Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Rights Liudmyla Denisova said that the invaders created in Kherson an analogue of the Donetsk prison "Isolation" for torture of Ukrainians.

  

Russian Leaflet Shells

On 17 April 2022, A Russian short film on their leaflet artillery appeared on Facebook. It showed the shells being loaded, described by a spokesman, and then fired by what appeared to be a self-propelled gun. The film text was:

Russians loading pamphlets with surrender instructions into shells to be fired over Mariupol where pockets of Ukrainian resistance are holding out.

Iryna Balachuk of Ukrayinska Pravda reported on 29 April 2022, that the Russian occupiers have begun distributing leaflets in Mariupol called “Answers to Questions,” which are more like the “rules of life” under the occupation. We do not have a photograph of these leaflets, but the author says about them:

The occupation authorities are distributing these leaflets called ‘Answers to Questions’ in Mariupol. They show all the realities of Mariupol's present and future during the occupation. Restriction of movement, restriction of freedom, restriction of rights and complete devastation. Total control. A true ghetto. The occupiers say that all residents must be filtered (the invaders call this verification). This is mandatory for everyone. Not only for those leaving Mariupol, but even those who want to go to occupied Donetsk. Also, according to the leaflet, it is impossible to convert non-cash money into cash. Mariupol residents will also not be able to receive compensation for destroyed housing or reimbursements for rebuilding it themselves. Travelling in private cars, even to the occupied part of Donetsk Region, is possible only as part of a convoy. Leaving for Ukraine is possible, but the occupiers are intimidating residents, saying that they will supposedly be immediately ‘handed a summons and sent to the front.’

Photo by: Alexander Ermochenko – Reuters

On 24 May 2022, a self-propelled howitzer 2S1 Gvozdika of pro-Russian troops fires a leaflet shell in the direction of Sievierodonetsk to disperse information materials from the combat positions in the in the Luhansk region, Ukraine. The Washington post said that Russia is attempting to capture Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk region at all costs, with the strategic city of Sievierodonetsk under enemy fire around-the-clock. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has described the situation in the Donbas region as extremely difficult, accusing Russia of wanting “to destroy everything there.”

Save your life, write to us [numbers, and five media services the finder can use]

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Detach the magazine from your weapon.
2. Hang the weapon over your left shoulder with the taper bore [aiming] down.
3. Raise your hands above your head and slowly approach the positions of the troops.
4. Use a piece of white cloth, a handkerchief, or this leaflet [to show that you surrender].

The military personnel of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation are aware of these conventional signs, which are evidence of your peaceful intentions.

Most of these pictures taken from a film are blurry. The leaflet seems clear enough to read. It says on the front:

THE SOLDIERS AND OFFICERS OF SBU! [Ukrainian Security Service]
The HQ of the 24th Brigade has been destroyed,
your commanders have run away,
the reserves have been liquidated.
NO HELP WILL BE ARRIVING!

Any further resistance
dooms you to death.
Your only chance is to run away
or to give up.

Zelenski has betrayed you, the same [as he had betrayed]
the Azov fighters, who had ignominiously surrendered.

FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS
ON THE OTHER SIDE

Russian leaflets before being rolled and placed in the artillery shell

The Russian PSYOP soldier rolls the leaflets to place in the shell

The leaflet roll is placed in the artillery shell before firing.

On 25 May, the Russians released a short film without sound that depicted some of their leaflets, possibly from the leaflet shells depicted directly above. The film was published by the The Sun. One seems to show various Ukrainians both dead and alive and likely tells of how good treatment will be for any Ukrainian soldiers that come over to the Russians. The second is all text and probably tells them how to defect and how to tell the Russians of the whereabouts of any Ukrainian troops. The third seems to be the best of the lot, showing the status of the battle and the Russians in the process of surrounding the Ukrainian fighters. Several more are depicted in the short 1.12-minute film but they could be the back of the leaflets.

Some of the leaflets reportedly demand that Ukrainian soldier’s hand over their weapons and surrender to the enemy according to Zvezda, a Russian state-owned nationwide TV network run by the Russian Ministry of Defense. The leaflets included detailed instructions on how to hand over weapons and surrender safely to pro-Russia forces.

A People’s Militia artilleryman said:

We give the last warning to the Ukrainian Nazis to surrender, or we’ll replace the shells with live ones, and they won’t have time to write goodbye letters to their loved ones

A Russian Death Notice Leaflet

Citizens of the Chechen Republic!

Something very odd happened on 17 June. The First Russian-Chechen war was a rebellion by the Chechen Republic against the Russian Federation, fought from December 1994 to August 1996. The Russians used propaganda leaflets as well as overwhelming force and won that war. On the 17th, Russian occupation forces fired propaganda leaflet shells at the Chernihiv region that apparently contained the old leaflets used against Chechens. It is hard to understand how a mistake like that could happen, but the leaflets said in part:

Citizens of the Chechen Republic!

They are trying to involve you in an armed confrontation with federal troops. They are trying to force you to protect other people's interests. The interests of local tycoons, leaders of terrorist gangs…


During the siege of the factory in Severodonetsk, the Russians dropped leaflets for the soldiers of Ukraine, who were fighting inside the plant. The leaflets called for their surrender and depicted a map of a of a proposed humanitarian corridor and guarantees of safety for any Ukrainians who voluntarily laid down their arms and surrendered. I should add that the soldiers inside the plant held out until all the civilians were gone. Four days after civilians were evacuated, the Azov fighters surrendered.

We are starting to see more Russian propaganda as the tide slowly turns in Ukraine. This is a poster, said to be put up in Zaporozhye, showing that all Ukrainians are not pro-Zelensky. The caption was that the poster showed the hatred of Ukrainians for the “Supreme Commander” and his statements about endless "victories." The text mentions two recent losses:

Surrendered Azov!
Hands over Azot!
Our Sons Surrendered

On 21 June, the New York Times ran an article titled “Residents besieged by Russian propaganda.” The story told of Ukrainian citizens that believed it was Ukraine and not Russia that was shelling their village of Lysychansk. It showed that the Russians clearly already had a foothold here, a psychological one. The people can listen Russian broadcasts over the radio and watch Russian TV shows. These channels appear to have a stronger hold in some neighborhood than Ukraine broadcasts. The Russians have constantly told the people on radio, TV, and the Internet that it is the Ukrainians that are shelling their villages. The Russians cut off all Ukraine content and then filled the void with Russian propaganda. One broadcast from Russia’s Radio Victory uses a female with a soothing voice. Shades of Tokyo Rose and Axis Sally.

Russian Rocket delivery of Leaflets

    

The Leaflets to be rocketed at the Ukrainian lines
This short Russian film depicts the leaflets being printed, cut, and rolled by Russian technicians.
Some of the text on the first leaflet roughly translates to the following (edited for clarity)

GOALS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION ARMED FORCES

The Russian Federation armed forces helps to return a peaceful life to your land. The military services of the Russian Federation are ready to provide humanitarian assistance to people and provide hot water and medicines.

The warriors of the Russian Federation do not have the purpose to kill the civil population and destroy civil infrastructure.

If you can't get to the humanitarian corridor store food and get shelter

Stay updated and obtain reliable information in Telegram Channel Operation Z.
Military commanders of the Russian Spring
Russian Spring Z: special for Ukraine and Donbass

SAVE YOUR RELATIVES AND BELOVED FAMILY.
THIS IS NOT YOUR WAR.

The text at the bottom gives instructions on how to get to a Telegram Channel online with more information. When you follow those instructions, you get this message online:

Good day! We are glad to welcome you to the "Group O" bot, which continues to successfully fulfill the tasks set by the leadership of the Russian Federation. We would like to show the whole world that for many years the nationalists kept the civilians of Ukraine in fear and did not give them a peaceful life.

We ask you to help us put together all the atrocities of Ukrainian nationalists that took place on the territory of Ukraine. To do this, send us your story and, if possible, photo/video materials of the crimes that took place before your eyes.

This bot was created by @LivegramBot”

The back of the leaflet is:  

ARMED FORCES OF UKRAINE!  

You have an opportunity to get home alive!

Make the right decision to put down your weapon!
Stop the bloodshed!
Ukrainian cities should stay whole, and people should live!
Russian military will not cause harm to the civilian population!

`Get out of the settlements and do not risk the civilian populations!
You did not start this war, but you can stop it!

ARMAGEDDON

The actual Rockets being Unloaded from their Crates
Here we see the Longer Rocket Payload Capsule being Removed from the Rocket Body for Loading

The leaflets being rocketed at the Ukrainians
Here the Multiple Rocket Launcher unleashes a barrage of Rockets toward the Ukraine Lines

A Russian Leaflet Artillery Barrage

Laying out the leaflets preparing to make artillery leaflet rolls

 

Loading the artillery shells

The leaflet translations

Leaflet Front

UKRAINIAN SOLDIERS AND OFFICERS!

Kiev deceived you and left you to die in Mariupol.

There is no help!

You are completely surrounded.

With further resistance you are doomed to die!

More than 450 Ukrainian military voluntarily laid down their arms and left Mariupol alive.

Your only chance to survive is to lay down your weapons.

FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS ON THE BACK.

Leaflet back

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Detach the magazine from your weapon.
2. Hand the weapon over your left shoulder with the barrel facing down.
3. Raise your arms above your head and hold a white piece of cloth.
4. Slowly approach the positions of our troops and follow their commands.

The military forces of the Russian Federation and the DNR know these conditional signs showing your good will and rejection of resistance.

We do not want senseless bloodshed! Save your life!

A 10 June 2022 Russian Leaflet Artillery Mission

The Russian finally found a way to get past the black out of all their propaganda campaigns. They began to make small films of the missions which can be found in many different places. This Film starts with a study of the leaflet shells. It then shows how they are loaded with a long strip of paper placed on a flat surface. Then small piles of leaflets are placed on regular intervals along the paper strip. Then a narrow board is used by moving over the piles spreading them out. Finally, they board is used to provide extra strength when the leaflets are rolled into a tight packet. It is rare to see the whole operation. The end of the mission, the leaflets are fired by artillery at the Ukrainian Forces

The delivery Drone

The Russians seem to have made some sort of arrangement with The Sun because another short film, this time with subtitles, appeared in the British newspaper, from the same area of the Ukraine, this time showing the use of drones to carry leaflets. The text of the film is (edited):

The People’s Militia of the DPR is using methods like sending leaflets like this Death Certificate. “Stop resisting or fill out your death notice,” sent from drones. Right now, we are near the contact zone where we launch drones with leaflets of the appropriate content.

Russian Billboard

A man rides a scooter past a billboard urging people to vote in the Crimea referendum.
Photograph: Baz Ratner/Reuters

Note that the billboard depicts the Ukraine as a Nazi stronghold and tells the people to vote for independence from the Ukraine. The text is:

Stop Fascism
[Ban] Ukrainian Insurgent Army
[Ban] Swastika
[Ban] Right Sector
All to the Referendum

A Russian Cartoon for Children

To explain their “special operation” to children, Russia made a short cartoon. It first showed Russia and Ukraine as friends, then a sneaky America whispers in Ukraine’s’ ear, and he suddenly begins beating the children representing the breakaway portions of the Ukraine. So, clearly Russia has done nothing but stop a bully who has been attacking their old friends. It should convince the young, but I wonder about the older students.

Russian Loudspeakers

A Russian ZS-88 (a BTR-80 fitted with loudspeakers) calling on Ukraine troops to surrender, somewhere in the Donbas region.

A Russian ZS 88 Loudspeaker unit dug in directing surrender messages to Ukrainian forces.
Courtesy of Andrew Chaney

 

A Russian Tiger PSYOP vehicle in Melitopal
Courtesy of Andrew Chaney 

The newspaper The Guardian reported on what the Russians were hearing at home:

When Russian state TV announced the invasion of Ukraine last week, it did not use the words “attack”, “invasion” or “war.” Instead, it reported on a “special military operation” in the neighboring country designed to liberate a nation that would welcome its forces to free it from fascism. The Guardian’s Moscow correspondent Andrew Roth says this initial distortion of the facts did not last the week. Instead, as the war grew more intensive and Russian forces met with fierce resistance, there was a subtle change in what Russians were told was going on. Yes, casualties were being taken, major cities were being targeted, but it was a necessary sanction against a government propped up by an imperialist west, determined to humiliate Russia.

Now, as the attacks get increasingly deadly and cities are transformed by bombing campaigns, Russian propagandists are having to adapt their message again. Meanwhile, an economic crunch unlike any other many Russians have faced before is hitting them in their wallets, and many are looking for who’s to blame. And it’s not necessarily their own government led by Vladimir Putin.

During the Korean and Vietnam war the communists claimed that the United States was using germ warfare. It seems to be a favorite tactic of theirs. The U.S. prepared leaflets to refute those claims. On 5 March 2022, Russia's Defense Ministry said Kiev ordered scientists to destroy samples of plague, anthrax, and other lethal pathogens and as Russian troops entered Ukraine, the government in Kiev ordered the "emergency destruction" of pathogens at US-funded laboratories near the Russian border.

On 12 May 2022, Moscow claims Ukraine tried to infect the pro-Russian population in the Lugansk People’s Republic with tuberculosis and allowed the Pentagon to carry out human experiments at Kharkov’s psychiatric wards. During a briefing on the findings of the Russian Defense Ministry’s investigation into the purportedly US-funded bioweapon labs in Ukraine, Chief of Russia’s Radioactive, Chemical, and Biological Protection Forces Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov claimed that Russian forces had obtained evidence suggesting Kiev attempted to infect residents of the Slavyanoserbsk district of the Lugansk People’s Republic with a highly pathogenic strain of tuberculosis in 2020. “Leaflets made in the form of counterfeit banknotes were infected with the causative agent of tuberculosis and distributed among minors in the village of Stepovoe,” the report quoted Kirillov as saying, adding that the organizers of this crime took into account the behavior of children, which includes “putting things in their mouth” and handling food without washing their hands.

The Alleged Tuberculosis Treated Leaflet Banknotes

On 20 May it was reported by StopFake that the Russians were making the same claims that they first made in 2020. The Russian Defense Ministry resuscitated an old fake campaign about leaflets in the form of 100-ruble banknotes being dropped and used it again to claim proof of Ukraine using biological weapons, but now the evil deed was being done in Slavyanoserbsk in the Luhansk region. One of the Ukrainian PSYOP volunteers said:

This is a joke, a complete joke. Imagine coming up with something like this. I guess if you believe in crucified boys (a notorious Russian fake claim about Ukrainians crucifying a child), you will believe in this tuberculosis fake. They make up these fakes so people who find these leaflets don’t take them home. They come up with all sorts of stories about us.

It should be noted that the Donetsk and Luhansk regions had heightened levels of tuberculosis even before the 2014 Russian occupation and the two regions’ population was known for high levels of health problems. In 2013 one of the highest levels of tuberculosis recorded deaths took place in Luhansk (20.6 per 100,000 people) and Donetsk (18.2 per 100,000 per people). Then the Luhansk region had the lowest rate of success in treating tuberculosis.

The U.S. criticized China and Russia for promoting a conspiracy theory that the U.S. military runs biolabs in Ukraine, escalating a dispute over attempts at misleading the public over the war in Europe.

We took note of Russia’s false claims about alleged U.S. biological weapons labs and chemical weapons development in Ukraine, we’ve also seen Chinese officials echo these conspiracy theories. This kind of disinformation operation we’ve seen repeatedly from the Russians over the years. Russia may use chemical weapons in Ukraine. It’s Russia that has a long and well-documented track record of using chemical weapons, including in attempted assassinations, and poisoning of Putin’s political enemies like Alexey Navalny. It’s Russia that continues to support the Assad regime in Syria, which has repeatedly used chemical weapons. It’s Russia that has long maintained a biological weapons program in violation of international law. This is all an obvious ploy by Russia to try to try to justify its further premeditated, unprovoked, and unjustified attack on Ukraine.

For decades, Moscow has consistently accused Washington of secretly developing biological weapons. Moscow suggested in 1950 that the United States was sending Colorado potato beetles that had been infected with a new virus to poison potato crops in East Germany. From 1985 to 2000 the Kremlin claimed that Washington was the source of the AIDS virus and was using it to target African and African American populations. The AIDS conspiracy theory appeared in 2,000 newspapers across 25 countries since 1985.

On 12 March 2022, Yahoo reported that a Norwegian computer expert has created a website enabling anyone to send an email about the war in Ukraine to up to 150 Russian email addresses at a time, so that Russian people have a chance to hear the truth their government is hiding. All over Russia email inboxes are pinging. Millions of messages are being received with the same intriguing subject Ya vam ne vrag - I am not your enemy. In just a few days, more than 22 millions of these emails landed in Russian inboxes. The message appears in Russian with an English translation, and it begins:

Dear friend, I am writing to you to express my concern for the secure future of our children on this planet. Most of the world has condemned Putin's invasion of Ukraine. Reject the war in Ukraine and seek the truth about the invasion from non-state news services.

On the same day, the Daily mail reported that the White House was using Tik Tok to reply to Russian propaganda. President Joe Biden has turned to a bevy of TikTok influencers to help him battle Russia's propaganda machine about its invasion of the Ukraine. The White House held a Zoom briefing for about 30 popular internet figures, who promptly took to their social media accounts to talk about what they learned.

Kahlil Greene, who calls himself a 'Gen Z historian' and has 540,000 followers, posted in a video to his social media accounts:

I just got off a zoom call with the White House about the situation in Ukraine. The officials on the briefing call encouraged them as content creators to use our platform to highlight different issues as they arise, especially when mainstream media fails to do so.

Russian Warship Go F**k Yourself Commemorative Ukraine Stamp

On 24 February 2022, A Russian navy vessel approached the Black Sea “Snake Island” south of Ukraine and ordered the Ukrainian soldiers there to surrender.

This is a Russian warship; I propose you lay down your weapons and surrender to avoid bloodshed and unnecessary victims. Otherwise, you will be bombed.

Russian warship, go f–k yourself.

Allegedly, they told the Russian soldiers to Go F*ck Yourself. The intellectuals that know the finer nuances of the Language said a better translation was Go sit on a D**k. The press was told at that time the men had all been killed by the Russians and were martyrs. President Volodymyr Zelensky said:

On our Zmiinyi Island, defending it to the last, all the border guards died heroically. But they did not give up. All of them will be posthumously awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine.

Later we were told that the men might still be alive. So, the story was dubious, and I did not add it to this article. Then, on 13 March 2022, Ukraine introduced the design for a new postage stamp that memorializes the now-famous battle cry rallying the country in its fight against the Russian invasion.

The stamp depicts a lone Ukrainian soldier giving the one finger salute to the Russian ship which is in the background. The Ukrainian Postal Service (Ukrposhta) announced the stamp design after holding a public vote on social media for a postage stamp competition meant to commemorate the soldiers who defended a military outpost on the island last month. The artist of the winning design, Borys Grokh, told Ukrposhta he was so impressed by the soldiers' refusal to surrender that he decided to submit an illustration to lift morale.

He said it took him three days to complete the sketch and, if he hadn't been distracted by the news, he could have created it in five hours.

The BBC reported that on 14 March a very brave Russian TV director named Marina Ovsyannikova finally decided she could lie to the public no longer and broke into a news program. She ran behind the Channel 1 newscaster holding an anti-war sign that read:

No war, stop the war, don't believe the propaganda, they are lying to you here.

Russian TV news is tightly controlled by the Kremlin and reflects only the Russian version of events in Ukraine. MS Ovsyannikova was arrested, held without access to her lawyer, fined 30,000 rubles, and later released. Before the program director cut early to a recorded news report her voice could be heard during the saying:

No to war! Stop the war! 

After her protest, a video she had pre-recorded on Telegram was released. She said in part:

What is happening in Ukraine is a crime. Russia is an aggressor country and the responsibility for this aggression rests on the conscience of only one person. That person is Vladimir Putin…Unfortunately, I've spent the last few years working for Channel One, doing Kremlin propaganda, and I'm very ashamed of this. Ashamed that I allowed lies to be broadcast from TV screens. We were silent in 2014 when all this started. We didn't protest when the Kremlin poisoned Navalny. We just silently watched this inhuman regime at work. And now the whole world has turned its back on us…It's in our power alone to stop all this madness. Go protest. Don't be afraid of anything. They can't lock us all away.

As always, readers caring to comment, or share information about this conflict are encouraged to write to the author at sgmbert@hotmail.com .