RUSSIA INVADES UKRAINE – 2022

SGM Herb Friedman (Ret.)

Note: PERSPECTIVES, the Journal of the Psychological Operations Veterans Association, featured some of this story in its premier issue, Volume 1, Issue 1, Winter 2023. It’s readers were advised to read the entire article here. An Israeli Author asked to use some of my material in a book called "Hebrew PSYOP 2.0." It will deal with case studies such as the Gilad Shalit abduction; Gaza Fence clashes; and Ukraine.

    

Ukraine Leaflet Depicts a Cat with Eyes the Color of the Ukraine Flag 

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.

More recently, the Salt Lake Tribune of 16 October 1994 mentions items found in East Germany after the Russians left:

They had street signs all made up for use after the invasion of the West. The Russians left behind $20 billion dollars in specially printed currency to be used as Russia occupied western Europe. They had a scale model of Europe and operation plans and documents that said they would be in Hamburg in two days and Calais on the coast in five days.

I used to teach the defense of the Fulda Gap in Germany to American high-ranking non-commissioned officers. That exercise called for American forces to stand in place and hold the Russian armor back for several weeks while American forces were mobilized and sent to Germany. It appears one of us was very wrong.

As early as 1954, the United States was sending propaganda messages to Ukraine. In an article in Cold War Vignettes, Richard H. Cummings, the authority on U.S. Clandestine radio, mentioned the first RADIO LIBERATION broadcast to Ukraine, on August 16, 1954:

Dear brothers and sisters! Ukrainians!

Today, for the first time, we address you over Radio Liberation. We live abroad, but our hearts and thoughts are with you always. No-iron curtain can separate us or obstruct that. Today is a day of joy for us, for over the air our vibrant word of greeting, joy, and hope will reach you.

Over one million of us Ukrainians are living abroad. For a long time, we have been telling people in the free world the truth about life in our country. The beginning Ukrainian broadcasts over Radio Liberation entrust us with a new task. We shall speak to you and for you, fellow countrymen, because there in our homeland you have neither freedom, nor democratic press, nor a free radio.

Wherever we may be … our paths all converge toward Kiev and the towns and views of the Ukraine … Kiev Rus, which became the cradle of our Ukrainian nation’s existence was an important cultural center, the focus of ancient democratic freedoms in Eastern Europe. Through Kiev, the "mother of Russian cities," our culture spread to all corners of Eastern Europe. Later, in Khmelnytsky's time [the seventeenth century], the Cossacks gave the Ukraine glamour and might.

In the fire and storm of the Revolution of 1917, the Ukraine was reestablished as an independent state. Our people, longing to be masters of their own destiny in their own country proclaimed the Ukrainian Democratic Republic. That was done in a democratic way-the manifestation of the sovereign will of the Ukrainian nation. It took place in accordance with the principles of self-determination of peoples. But the Ukrainian Democratic Republic fell victim to Bolshevist aggression. To deceive the Ukrainian people, to persuade them that nothing had happened, the aggressors converted the Ukrainian Democratic Republic into the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, which the Communist dictator ship made an instrument of oppression of the Ukrainian people.

In the struggle against Communism, our native land has made great sacrifices on the altar of liberation. But we have faith in God's justice. We are convinced that those sacrifices were not made in vain and that God will reward the Ukraine for all her sufferings. The struggle of the Ukrainian people will achieve their purpose.

And you, the Ukrainian people, "master in your house," will take your seat in the "circle of free peoples" The words of Taras Hryhorovych Shevchenko the beloved Ukrainian national poet of the nineteenth century will come true: “And there will be a son, and there will be a mother, and there will be justice on earth. Because "in our house there is truth, and strength, and the will for freedom."

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 Activities in Ukraine 2014

In November 2023, Headquarters, Department of the Army published ADP 3-13 INFORMATION. Often these Army Doctrine Publication are classified but this one is "Approved for public release- unlimited." I therefore depict a chart that is shown in the doctrine titled "Russian Activities in Ukraine 2014."

We should stop now for a moment and talk about the word "irredentism," Irredentism, where a country claims ownership of a land that it feels once belonged to it, is the most prevalent word to describe Russian justification for its attack on Ukraine. The problems exposed by any irredentist justification always lie in the manipulation of historical details, and namely depend on who is making the claim, what land they are referring to and what point in history they are using to link all this together. An obvious example is when German Chancellor Adolph Hitler used irredentism to "reclaim" the Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia in 1938. Then wanted part of a German speaking Poland. Today, China wants to take Taiwan, but its arguments for ownership are not clear.

Irredentism is defined in the Free Dictionary as "a national policy advocating the acquisition of some region in another country because of common linguistic, cultural, historical, ethnic, or racial ties."  This is a fair description of Russia's "national policy" towards Ukraine (especially Crimea and the other Russian-majority areas of the country). Putin has been loudly proclaiming the Russian people's historical rights and interests in that country whilst denying that the Ukrainians even exist as a distinct people. Everything that you will read in this article seems to be caused by Russian irredentism.

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.

When Russia invaded the Ukraine, I had no interest in writing about it because I thought the war would be over in 2-3 days. That did not happen. Over 100 days later, Ukraine is still fighting. The next problem was that we saw lots of Ukraine propaganda, but very little Russian propaganda since Facebook, Twitter, and other social media banned it. If you want to write about PSYOP, you need to evenly show both sides and let the product speak for itself. We know the Russians love propaganda (they dropped thousands of leaflets on German troops during WWII). Starting about June 2022, we started to see more Russian propaganda as some British newspapers and other sites began to use Russian television reports on their leaflet artillery and rockets.

This story is not finished. We don't know how much longer the fighting will go on, but we do know Russia can outlast the West and wait for it to become bored and move on.  Russia has a vast manpower advantage and can draft more people and send them to the front while the Ukraine's manpower is limited.

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.

I want to stop here just for a moment and point out how difficult the Russian plan is to interpret. Mervyn Roberts takes a crack at it in his 2022 book, Propaganda and Influence: Russian and Chinese Targeting of America (Edited for brevity):

Anti-government protests grew by early 2014. At this point, Russia seized the Crimea. This conflict highlights the current state of Russian doctrine—use proxies, deflect international response through deniability, use info/cyber war to control the narrative, use political/economic warfare as battlefield preparation. The Russian hybrid war resulted in annexation within a month. The eastern Ukrainian separatist movements were developed by Russia. This left the conflict 'frozen between 2017 and 2021 during which the international situation was not conducive to action.

However, after January 2021, and especially after the Afghanistan debacle, Putin clearly saw conditions ripe for the expansion of the war. In the runup to the 2022 Russo-Ukrainian War, the playbook unfolded in classic fashion. He used the Soviet history of land transfers to delegitimize the current Ukrainian borders. Putin also tied the current Ukrainian leaders to fascists who fought for the German SS during the Second World War.

The February 2022 pre-invasion operations were conducted directly in line with Russian doctrine—deny, distort, dismiss, dismay. They deployed of conventional forces on 'maneuvers' coupled with contradictory messages. They played the diplomatic card to the last minute to prevent unified action. Which brings us to the last phase, dismay, Russia threatened massive retaliation to any supporters of Ukraine. The Russian doctrine of "escalation control" calls "for the threat of early use of a nuclear strike" to pose a strategic dilemma for the adversary.

It seems that at the tactical/operational level the Russian Army has evolved little beyond the blunt force used in Chechnya. Reliance on artillery is wise when your NCO corps lacks the initiative and capabilities to exploit opportunities. A trait American soldiers have in spades.

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. This leaflet depicts 10 different Russian weapon systems and offers a reward for each. The text is:

REWARD FOR THE VOLUNTARY TRANSFER OF THE AGGRESSOR'S
COMBAT EQUIPMENT
BILL #7229

WAR PLANE - $1 million.

COMBAT HELICOPTER - $500 thousand.

TANK, GROUND ARTILLERY, - $100 thousand.

INFANTRY COMBAT (LANDING) VEHICLE, ARMORED TRANSPORTER, ARMORED RECONNAISSANCE AND SURVEILLANCE VEHICLE - $50 thousand.

ROCKET LAUNCH SYSTEM - $25-35 thousand,

1 OR 2 RANK SHIP - $1 million.

A RANK 3 OR 4 SHIP - $500 thousand.

MILITARY (AUXILIARY) SUPPLY VESSEL - $200 thousand.

SMALL COMBAT VESSEL (RECONNAISSANCE PURPOSE - $50 thousand.

MILITARY VEHICLE, MILITARY TRACTOR, MILITARY ENGINEERING MACHINE, MACHINE FOR LAYING MINES, MACHINE FOR LAYING OBSTACLES - 10 thousand.

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 same day Russian forces announced they had abandoned the strategic Black Sea outpost of Snake Island, in a major victory for Ukraine that could loosen the grip of Russia's grain export blockade. Russia claims they left as a gesture of good will. Ukraine has been attacking the island with commando raids and feel they have taken it by force. The commander of Ukraine's armed forces said Ukrainian-made Bohdana howitzers played an important role in liberating the island and thanked foreign partners for their support. NATO agreed to modernize Ukraine's military and Britain said it would provide another 1 billion pounds ($1.2 billion) of military support, including air defense systems, uncrewed aerial vehicles, and new electronic warfare equipment. Russia has been able to jam many Ukraine radios and left forward units unable to communicate with each other.

On 1 July, President Vladimir Putin raised the stakes in an economic war with the West by signing a decree to seize full control of the Sakhalin-2 gas and oil project in Russia's far east, a move that could force out Shell and Japanese investors.

On 3 July, Moscow’s claimed to have seized the last major Ukrainian stronghold in the Luhansk region. Kyiv denied that Russia has “full control” over Lysychansk and maintained that the battle for the broader Donbas region “is not over yet.”

To bolster its military forces on 6 July Russia’s parliament passed measures to shore up its wartime economy, allowing the government to force business to provide goods to the military and make workers put in overtime. Austrian lawmakers probed Russian interference in the intelligence services and contracts that the partly state-owned gas giant OMV had with Russia. A joint report from Oxfam and Save the Children found that one person is dying of hunger every 48 seconds in drought-ravaged Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia. The conflict in Ukraine had led to prices spiking to record levels and made food “unattainable for millions” of people in East Africa. Indonesian President Joko Widodo visited both Kiev and Moscow to discuss the situation of no fuel and no food in Sri Lanka. He urged an end to hostilities and pressed Russian President Vladimir Putin to ease conditions that have placed a chokehold on crucial exports of grain and fertilizer. The war in Ukraine is severely affecting the Third World.

On 8 July, each side seemed exhausted. The Study of War and Critical Threats published four war maps of critical areas of Ukraine and said:

For the first time in 133 days of war, we assess no changes since our last map. Neither Ukrainian nor Russian sources claimed any new territories.

On 12 July, one sign the Russia is slowing winning the information war is that the news is slowly becoming more and more about what Russia is doing and less and less about what Ukraine is doing. We were told that Iran is preparing to supply Russia with hundreds of drone aircraft, including advanced models capable of firing missiles. The same day the news said that Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree that would expand a fast-track procedure for Russian citizenship to all citizens of Ukraine. The procedure since 2019 applied to residents of Donetsk and Luhansk and was broadened after the invasion to areas under Russian control, and now, it extends to the entire country. Finally, Russian strikes hit the city of Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city.

There was one short comment on Ukraine claiming to have fired a long-range against Russian forces in southern Ukraine.

American Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on 13 July that Russia had deported 900,000 to 1.6 million Ukrainian citizens from Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine in a systemic “filtration” operation.

A rather strange story appeared on 14 July stating that in occupied Melitopol, the Russians needed blood supplies amid the explosions of a military base at the local airfield. The invaders asked residents to donate blood and distribute leaflets in the market. The Russians took all the blood supplies in the town, but that was not enough for the wounded invaders. The Russians walked through the city's markets and handed out propaganda leaflets to the residents urging them to donate blood. No pictures of the leaflet were depicted.

We all know that to properly brainwash people it is important to start at an early age. On 19 July, the Washington Post reported that Russia has promised hundreds of teachers’ big money to go to occupied Ukraine and give students there a “corrected” education, with Russia’s take on Ukraine’s history, in the coming school year.

On 23 July, Russia and Ukraine signed a pact in Turkey that would allow both sides to freely send grain to the rest of the world. The lack of that grain left many nations without adequate food. The ink was hardly dry when Russia fired four Kalibr cruise missiles at the Ukraine port of Odessa. Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry called the act “a spit in the face” of Turkey and the United Nations who brokered the agreement. Russia first assured Turkey that they have absolutely nothing to do with this attack, but with the proof so damning, a day later their foreign ministry representative Maria Zakharova admitted claimed Russia attacked a military infrastructure facility in the port of Odesa with a high precision strike and sunk a Ukrainian warship.

The Associated Press reported that two million Ukrainians in areas held by the Russians had been sent to Russia. The Ukraine calls these forced relocations to enemy soil which they consider a war crime. The Russians call them humanitarian evacuations.

On 24 July, Ukrainska Pravda reported that the occupation authorities in Kherson are forcing business owners to undergo so-called re-registration and to operate under Russian law, paying taxes to the occupiers. As part of the ‘registration’ process, the business owners must obtain Russian passports. The state administration also reported that the Russian occupying forces in Skadovsk, a port city in Kherson Oblast, have seized the offices of Chornomorets, a local news publication, and are using them to publish propaganda leaflets.

Ukraine offered 1 Million Dollars

On 25 July there was a report that the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense had prepared a 1 minute, 27 second film, offering each Russian pilot a reward if they defect to Ukraine with their aircraft. $1,000,000 U.S. dollars per aircraft and $500,000 per helicopter. The United States made such an offer during the Korean War called OPERATION MOOLAH. It did result in a MiG-15. The funny part is the pilot came for freedom, not for cash. He eventually got paid, but it was a problem because nobody thought it would work and no money was put aside to pay the reward. Taiwan has also offered rewards for Chinese aircraft.

On 27 July there was not much to report on the actual war in Ukraine, but Russia became more separated from the west as it came out with several actions meant to punish the west and their own standing in it. Russia will pull out of the International Space Station after 2024 and focus on building its own orbiting outpost, amid high tensions between Moscow and the West over the fighting in Ukraine. Russia delivered less gas to Europe, in a further escalation of an energy stand-off between Moscow and the European Union that will make it harder, and costlier, for the bloc to fill up storage ahead of the winter heating season. Russia's fined Alphabet's Google $34.2 million dollars for abusing its dominant position in the video hosting market. The decision is the latest multi-million dollar fine as part of Moscow's increasingly assertive campaign against foreign tech companies. Russia seems willing to make itself a pariah among the major nations of the world over Ukraine when it could end its problems by simply stopping its invasion.

On 30 July Ukraine ordered its people out of the Donbas. At first, I thought this was a strategic retreat because of recent Russian advances, Ukraine states it is being done to save lives because there will be no way to heat the residences of the people who stay through the winter:

The Government of Ukraine will introduce the compulsory evacuation of residents of unoccupied areas of Donetsk Oblast ahead of the heating season. There is absolutely no gas supply in Donetsk Oblast, all the gas pipelines that could be repaired have been repaired, but, unfortunately, the enemy again and again destroys everything that could keep people warm in winter. There is no proper electricity supply. The 33rd article of the Code of Civil Protection stipulates exactly that this form of evacuation is mandatory. 200,000 to 220,000 people remain in the region today, including 52,000 children.

On 1 August, the United States said that it had admitted at least 100,000 Ukrainians over the last five months. President Biden said the U.S. would provide a haven for Ukrainian refugees, who fled the country due to the ongoing Russian invasion. The Russians celebrated fleet day over the weekend with Naval parades and demonstrations of their power. Ukraine sent a drone into Russian Fleet Headquarters in Sevastopol, a Ukrainian city which was annexed by Russia. Five people were injured, and all festivities related to the Russian Fleet Day were cancelled for security reasons.

The Razoni leaves Odesa
Reuters/Serhii Smolientsev

On the same day a ship carrying grain left the Ukrainian port of Odesa for Lebanon under a safe passage agreement, the first departure since the Russian invasion blocked shipping through the Black Sea five months earlier. The departure came after a Russian missile strike on the port city of Mykolaiv killed a Ukrainian grain tycoon and his wife. It is hard to believe the Russians will allow this because it lets Ukraine make hard currency for its war effort from its major money-making business, grain.

On 5 August North Korea announced that it had selected workers to be dispatched to eastern Ukraine. The Russian ambassador to Pyongyang said that North Korean workers could help rebuild Ukraine. The North Korean authorities have already selected workers to be dispatched to the pro-Russian Donbas region in eastern Ukraine. One wonders if they will be armed.

On the same day three grain ships left Ukrainian ports under a safe passage deal while the first inbound cargo vessel since Russia's invasion was due in Ukraine later in the day to load, and Kyiv called for the pact to be extended to other goods such as metals.

The North Korean Volunteers are Welcome to Join the War

On 6 August here was word of the North Koreans coming to help the Russians. The comments by an official spokesman stated that they were coming to help repair the damage caused by the war. The talk quickly got into North Korean military help and mentioned rocket systems, etc. While the spokesman talked, film of North Korean military vehicles and rocket launchers was depicted in the background. Some of the comments were:

There are reports that 100,000 North Korean volunteers are prepared to come and take part in the conflict and North Korean builders are ready to work alongside ours [to repair war damage]. They are resilient and undemanding. The most important thing is that they are motivated. We shouldn’t be shy in accepting the hand extended to us by Kim Jong-un. If North Korean volunteers, with their artillery systems, wealth of experience with counter-battery warfare and large caliber rocket systems made in North Korea want to participate in the conflict, let's give the green light to their volunteer impulse. If North Korea expresses a desire to meet its international duty to fight against Ukrainian fascism, we should let them. It is the sovereign right of the DPR and LPR to sign the relevant agreements.

At the same time there were reports on Twitter that:

Ukrainians are preparing leaflets in Korean explaining how all soldiers of the DPRK can surrender and get South Korean citizenship, and Ukraine will facilitate it. A white flag is attached to each leaflet.

Reuters reported that despite what the West has described as an unprecedented series of strict sanctions against Russia, many electronic components still aren’t subject to export controls. A review by Reuters of Russian customs records identified more than 15,000 shipments of Western electronic components that reached Russia after its 24 February invasion of Ukraine through the end of May. The manufacturers included AMD, Analog Devices, Infineon, Intel, and Texas Instruments. In many cases, Russian missiles hitting Ukraine cities are being controlled by US electronics.

The Associated Press reported on 10 August that in a growing challenge to Russia’s hold over areas occupied by southeastern Ukraine, guerrilla forces loyal to Kyiv are killing pro-Moscow officials, blowing up bridges and trains, and identifying key targets. The resistance has eroded Kremlin control of those regions and jeopardized Russia’s plans to hold referendums in various cities as a move towards annexation. A member of the Zhovta Strichka — or “Yellow Ribbon” — resistance group, spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity to avoid being tracked down by the Russians. The group takes its name from one of Ukraine’s two national colors, and its members use ribbons of that color to mark potential targets of guerrilla attacks. Ukrainian troops recently used multiple US-supplied rocket launchers, known as HIMARS, to hit a strategic bridge over the Dnieper River in Kherson. Just before the attack on the bridge, leaflets surfaced that read:

If HIMARS cannot do this, a partisan will help.

One of the Crimea beaches after explosions at a Russian military air base in Novofedorivka, Crimea.
(Stringer/Reuters)

The raid that wasn’t! On 9 August there were several explosions at a Russian air force base in the Crimea. This was a strange affair. The Russians claimed there had been no attack and an ammo dump had accidently exploded because of a careless smoker. They added that no planes were lost, but satellite photos showed the wrecked panes on the airbase. The Ukrainians at first claimed no knowledge but posted several satirical comments that implied they might have been involved. They talked about "careless smoking and safety regulations" and "how hot the Crimea can get in the summer." The “Crimean Riviera” offered beaches along the Black Sea, relaxing dachas, and luxurious beach resorts, and had always been a summer vacation spot for the Russians, even under Ukrainian rule, and of course was now occupied territory. The Ukrainian air force said in a statement that nine military planes were destroyed at the base. After a day or two there was a rumor that Ukraine special forces carried out a raid. The U.S. said that Ukraine was responsible but apparently wanting to avoid and trouble with Russia, said they had used a weapon “not provided by the United States.” The United States has not given Ukraine longer-range weapons, despite requests from Kyiv, largely due to fears that they could be used to strike within Russian borders. Who did it? Only time will tell. Pictures on Twitter the next day showed long lines of bumper-to-bumper traffic as Russian tourists apparently cancelled their vacations, fled the Crimea beaches, and headed home to safety.

The Next Ukraine Target?

On 16 August, the website EXPRESS stated that since the surprise attack on the Russian airfield, Ukraine has started using posters and leaflets that warn of future attacks to frighten the Russian occupiers. The leaflets have a graphic of an explosion on a totally black background, with the name of a potential next target for striking written above, including its coordinates. Leaflets seen in the streets declare the following targets: Heliport Dzhankoy, Airfield Guards, International airport Sevastopol (Belbek), HF to Sevastopol, Kacha Air Base, and the Airbase Oktyabrskoe. Viktor Kovalenko, a Ukrainian journalist, reported about the leaflets on Twitter, saying:

After the strike on the airbase the Ukrainian partisans launched a PSYOP attack to scare occupiers in the Crimea. They disseminate leaflets with exact coordinates of next targets.

It is believed that Ukraine Special Forces blew up this ammunition Dump
Notice the secondary explosions and shells flying through the air at upper right

At the same time the Ukraine did hit another target. Ukrainian special forces struck deep inside the Russian-occupied Crimean Peninsula for the second time in less than a week, this time blowing up an ammunition depot near the northern city of Dzhankoi. Russia's Defense Ministry blamed “an act of sabotage” for the blast.

On 18 August, the Washington Post printed a story that claimed that in October 2021 the United States intelligence community penetrated multiple points of Russia’s political leadership, spying apparatus and military, and found Vladimir Putin preparing for a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The United States had discovered Putin sharply increasing funding for military operations while leaving his pandemic response underfunded. The U.S, informed Ukraine of the plot but Ukrainian officials complained that whenever the Americans shared their bleak outlook about an imminent invasion, they never fully provided Kyiv with the details of their intelligence. Zelensky suspected that some Western officials wanted him to flee. The Ukrainian leader worried that with his government out of the way and a Kremlin-backed regime installed, NATO powers would seek a negotiated settlement with Moscow over Ukraine. Zelensky said. “I think the majority of people who called me, well, almost everyone, did not have faith that Ukraine could stand up to this and persevere.” Without more proof, Ukraine did nothing to prepare for war.

A Parade of Russian Tanks
Maxym Marusenko/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Ukraine reminds me often of New Yorkers. We are a nasty bunch, seldom apologize, will bust your balls over anything, and if we find a weak spot will torment you forever. We have seen the Ukrainians insult and belittle the Russians time and again. The latest bit of Ukraine propaganda mocking Putin and Russia occurred on 20 August according to the Insider.

Ukraine holds victory 'parade' of captured Russian tanks to mock Putin who 'dreamt of capturing Kyiv in 3 days.' Ukrainian officials had held a display of destroyed enemy armor to mock the Russians, who they say intended a victory parade as a show of strength by the Putin regime when it believed it would capture Kyiv quickly. According to the Ukrainian news site Ukrainian Pravda, the Russians planned a military parade in the Ukrainian capital that they mistakenly believed would fall in three days. The Telegraph reports that some Russian officers were so ready they even had prepared formal uniforms for the event. Instead, to celebrate Independence Day, the Ukrainian authorities displayed dozens of burnt-out, captured Russian tanks and military vehicles in two long lines on Khreshchatyk boulevard, Kyiv's main street.

24 August was exactly six months since the Russian invaded Ukraine. It was also Ukraine’s Independence Day. Ukraine warned that Russia might try some major actions to punish Ukraine on their holiday, and the people were told not to parade or congregate anywhere the Russians might attack. The U.S. warned that Russia is preparing to launch more strikes against Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure and government facilities in the coming days. Ukraine stated that the Russian attacks had solidified their pride and country with such comments as:

We are stronger in spirit, in unity, as a society, as a nation. Many bilingual Ukrainians are forsaking speaking Russian after the trauma of seeing their homeland overrun by Russian soldiers. The struggle for Ukrainian independence goes together with the struggle for individual freedom. Support for Zelensky has surged: 88 percent of respondents said they trust the president “mostly” or “completely.” Only 20 percent felt that way when surveyed in December, before the war began. Moscow appears more determined than ever to proceed with its genocidal agenda, whatever the cost.

It seems that Putin has turned a country with no great identity or feeling on “oneness” into one filled with patriotism and resolve.

On Ukraine Independence Day, A Russian attack killed 25 civilians when missiles struck a railway station and a residential area in eastern Ukraine, officials in the capital Kyiv said, as the nation marked its Independence Day under heavy shelling. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Twitter:

Russia’s missile strike on a train station full of civilians in Ukraine fits a pattern of atrocities. We will continue, together with partners from around the world, to stand with Ukraine and seek accountability for Russian officials.

On 25 August 2022, Putin ordered a major buildup of Russian armed forces, perhaps to replenish the troops he lost in Ukraine. 137,000 new troops are to be added to the Russian total force which would now be 2.04 million.

On 29 August, the Guardian Reported that Russia had opened a station called Tavriya TV to promote happiness and love in occupied Kherson. As Moscow gears up to annex Kherson in a ‘referendum,’ Tavriya shows Russia as liberator, saving citizens from Ukrainian Nazis. In the towns near Kyiv that were occupied in the spring, Russian rule was a time of terror when even stepping outside was dangerous for residents. In Kherson, too, there are credible reports of kidnappings, arrests, and torture. much of the population has fled and those who remain are scared to talk freely and worry about what the coming months with bring. Much of the population has fled and those who remain are scared to talk freely and worry about what the coming months with bring. But on television, residents can watch a through-the-looking-glass version of their own reality, in which the population has joyously welcomed Russian rule. In the new media world Russia has created in Kherson, Moscow is not an invading force, but a benevolent liberator, bringing economic plenty and cultural renaissance to Kherson and saving its citizens from Ukrainian Nazis.

The same day Kyiv announced it had begun its long-awaited counterattack aimed at taking back the southern region from Russian forces. It was reported that a Moscow-installed leader of occupied Kherson, Kirill Stremousov, who was appointed deputy head of the Russian-backed Kherson military-civilian administration, fled to Russia.

A Ukraine Decoy – Deception at its best
Ukrainian soldiers are making wood decoy versions of the above HIMARS rocket system

On 30 August, the Washington Post reported that Ukraine is using wooden decoys of advanced US rocket systems to trick Russia into wasting its missiles on them. The decoy versions of US-supplied rocket launcher systems drew at least 10 Russian Kalibr cruise missiles, leading Ukraine to further boost its production of replicas, to lure Moscow into firing its expensive long-range missiles on fake targets.

A NAFO Meme Symbol - The Shiba Inu dog breed from Japan

On I September the Washington Post wrote about a group called “the North Atlantic Fellas Organization” who “fight the Kremlin’s trolls.” NAFO have served as fundraisers for the Ukrainian military, even raising money so Ukraine would paint their memes on a tank. Indirectly, the largely English-language memes have kept Western attention on Ukraine’s war — attention that is vital given the importance of Western arms to Ukrainian forces. The group has undercut both Russia’s justifications for the war, as well as accounts claiming that Russia was winning victory after victory. It’s noteworthy that many of NAFO’s supporters come from the Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT) community. Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov changed his Twitter icon to an image of a dog in a suit in what he said was "a personal salute to #NAFOfellas.”

About the same time a PowerPoint file for Russian plebiscite preparers just leaked. Essentially a guide in how to fake an election somewhat convincingly. Some of my favorite parts are:

STRATEGY
Preparation and holding of a referendum on the accession of the Donetsk People's Republic to the Russian Federation

ELECTORAL DATA
The number of residents of the Donetsk region until 2014 was 4.1 million people, which is approximately 2.8 million voters

Number of voters participating in the referendum 2,180,000 That is, the legitimate turnout should be 70% or 1,500,000-1,600,000 voters. FOR result, 70% = 1,100,000 - 1,200,000 voters

Campaign Slogans: (note that DATE is to be entered when the date has been selected).

Stage 1: Informational
1. Donbass returns home
2. Donbass is the heart of Russia!
3. The future of Donbass is together with Russia
4. Donbass and Russia are united
5. Donbass-Russia - forever
6. The fate of Donbass together with Russia

Stage 2: Campaign
1. On DATE we choose happiness for our children
2. Our choice - Russia
3. My home is Russia
4. Come to the referendum on DATE! Become a part of your Motherland!
5. It's our time to choose our path! Come to the referendum on DATE
6. On DATE Donbass chooses the world!

And again, on the same day, Science and Technology reported that Facebook and Twitter Took Down Pro-US Influence Campaigns. We hear constantly that Russia and China load the Internet with bots but now it seems that the U.S. has been caught doing the same thing. The investigators who examined the activity say the campaigns used “deceptive” methods to push “pro-Western narratives in the Middle East and Central Asia." A series of secret campaigns were likely carried out over a five-year period, a report from California’s Stanford University and the social media data company Graphika found. Twitter said the evidence it gathered pointed to the United States and Britain as the likely origin of the activity. Meta identified the U.S. as being the country of origin for material appearing on Facebook and Instagram. One set of accounts in Central Asia mainly centered on Russia's military activities in the Middle East and Africa. But in February, it moved to the war in Ukraine, "presenting the conflict as a threat to people in Central Asia," the report said. The researchers noted the campaign methods used did not really work to increase user involvement. Most of the posts and tweets received only a handful of likes or retweets. And most of the accounts had fewer than 1,000 followers.

The Associated Press reported that all over Europe nations that were once part of the Soviet bloc are destroying war monuments honoring the Soviet WWII victories. So far monuments have been or are planned to be destroyed in Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Lithuania, and Czechia. Another 400 are destined for removal. Russia’s war on Ukraine has encouraged many nations that were once part of the Soviet Union to topple the last remaining monuments. This war to make Russia great again seems to have turned into a nightmare for Putin. Russia has threatened Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia with retaliation for their “barbaric” actions.

  

HIMARS got Talent

On 5 September Ukraine released a short propaganda 4.5-minute film that used actual scenes from various “America’s got talent” shows and featured a character called HIMARS. The cartoon rocket system was interviewed by Simon Cowell and talked about the fascist Russians and how more rockets were needed. When asked to show his talents, the film displayed about three minutes of explosions in Russian occupied Ukraine. At the end, the four judges stood up as the crowd gave HIMARS massive applause.

Russia is apparently close to running out of weapons and ammunition. In September it was reported that they were buying military drones from Iran and millions of rockets and artillery shells from Pyongyang. North Korea is already banned by United Nations Resolutions from exporting arms to or from other countries. This could lead to greater penalties on North Korea. At the same time, it was reported that while Russia was selling less energy to its usual European buyers, it was sending more to China and India, who seem happy to purchase it at reduced prices. China bought 35 billion worth of Russian oil and gas. Meanwhile Ukraine President Zelensky asked the Biden administration to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism. On 7 September Biden answered with a single word, “No.”

On 9 September the Washington Post reported that for anyone contemplating a top administrative position in the Russian-occupied territories in Ukraine, Kyiv authorities have a message: Be afraid. Very afraid. Since Russia's invasion, close to 20 Kremlin-backed officials or their local Ukrainian collaborators have been killed or injured in a wave of assassinations and attempted killings. They have been gunned down, blown up, hanged and poisoned.

Part of the Deception Campaign – A Leaflet distributed in Occupied Kherson

Algorithm of actions for the civilian population during the #liberation of Kherson:

1. Prepare shelter in advance and clearly mark it "PEOPLE" with contrasting paint.
2. Stock up on food, water, & medicine for at least 1 week.
3. Charge the electronics for communications, and secure additional charging sources (Power Bank).
4. Maintain mode of darkness.
5. Do not leave shelter during street battles, do not engage with soldiers, until Armed Forces of Ukraine find you. Make sure to answer questions loudly & clearly from inside your shelter and comply with any orders precisely & meticulously!
6. Do not touch the corpses of Russian soldiers, and do not move vehicles or other obstacles that may be blocking the roads.
7. If you possess any information regarding the locations of the occupants, report it to the Armed Forces of Ukraine!"

The Ukrainians seem to have fooled the Russians with deception. For weeks they have talked about taking back Kherson. Leaflets were prepared telling the citizens what to do when Ukraine forces returned. The Russian dug in and protected that front. On 29 August, Ukraine’s southern command announced that the long-anticipated offensive in the Kherson region had begun. The southern offensive was a coordinated disinformation campaign by Ukraine, targeted at Russian forces. Then Ukraine launched a counteroffensive near Kharkiv, the country’s second city, against the depleted Russian invaders. So far, they have taken back 1,158 square miles of territory, the key city of Izium liberated, they are 50 kilometers from the Russian border, and Russian soldiers were abandoning their tanks, weapons and even clothes in the face of the Ukrainian onslaught. Meanwhile, On the day Russia retreated from Izium, Russian President Putin attended the grand opening of Europe’s largest Ferris wheel in Moscow. Russia said the retreat was a preplanned move. President Zelenskiy said Ukrainian forces had liberated more than 30 settlements in the Kharkiv region.

 

Surrender Leaflets fired at the Russians

Residents of Donbass
Russians use you like cannon fodder
[A human skull]
Your life means nothing to them
While you are exposed in the open they are at home in comfort
Surrender to the Ukraine security forces that guarantee you amnesty. Your family needs you alive.

---
Make the right choice
Surrender to the APU

How to surrender correctly:
1. Throw your weapon aside.
2. Stand up straight.
3. Raise your hands up.
4. Bring a white flag.
(Not necessary)
5. Yell "I give up" loudly.
Call number:
+38 066 580 34 98
+38 066 580 34 98

On 11 September it was reported that Ukraine was firing leaflets at the retreating Russians. These projectiles were being launched from RM-70 Vampire multiple-launch rocket systems [122-mm multiple Launch Rocket Systems] MLRS provided by Czech Republic. Each projectile contains 1500 leaflets with instructions on how to surrender. The defense Forces give the Russian occupiers one last chance to surrender. Otherwise, the only thing which awaits them on the Ukrainian land is death.

On 13 September, Newsweek ran a story implying that Donald Trump has become the hope of the Russian government. I hesitate to mention this because we know that the American press despises Trump, and this could be a black operation to attack him and harm his chances for a political comeback. We simply don’t know. Daily Beast columnist Julia Davis, claimed to quote some snippets from Russian news stories and translated comments like, “Trump is an incredible guy,” “I believe there is no real need for us here to rip the masks off European politicians and American ones, to a certain extent—except for our beloved Trump, in whom we place all of our hope that he might sober up America,” and “As always, our candidate doesn't let us down. We need to support him.” She mentions a Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Trump comment “I got to know a lot of the foreign leaders and unlike our leader, they're at the top of their game. These are like central casting... nobody [in Hollywood] could play the role of President Xi of China...He's a fierce person. Putin: fierce. They're smart. Xi rules with an iron fist 1.5 billion people, yeah, I'd say he's smart.” Trump is known to admire strong leaders who think only of their own nation’s needs, and this might lead the Russians to believe life would be easier with him back in charge of the USA.

 

Another Surrender Card

Ukraine continued to send surrender leaflets to the Russians. The two-sided card above says in part:

Your ticket to a peaceful life. Show this card to a Ukrainian soldier – it will save your life and help you get back home.

The other side of the card offers a telegram chat and phone number they can call “to receive detail support.”

On 15 September 2022, Russian TV finally admitted the Kremlin's defeat in Kharkiv region as Ukrainian forces pressed a counteroffensive that has driven occupying troops out of about 300 northeastern cities and towns. Kremlin officials and state media propagandists on TV are extensively discussing the reasons for the Russian defeat in Kharkiv.

We have heard this story before but on 16 September an actual film was found that showed to address Russia’s shortage of soldiers, the Wagner mercenary Group is making an offer that it hopes convicted criminals can’t refuse: a get out of jail card. The recording pitch, captured on video, surfaced Monday night on Russian Telegram channels, and the man in fatigues making the offer appears to be Yevgeniy Prigozhin, the billionaire nicknamed “Putin’s chef” who is also the reputed financier of Wagner private military company:

After six months [at war] you receive a pardon, and there is no option for you to return to prison,” a man dressed in tan-colored fatigues said, addressing a crowd of Russian inmates standing underneath a poster that read “Choose life.” “Those who arrive [at the front line] and say on Day 1 it’s not for them get shot,” the man added.

On the same day, Ukrainian officials said they found a mass burial site with 440 bodies, mainly of civilians, in a northeastern city of Izium recaptured from Russian forces, calling it proof of war crimes carried out by the invaders in territory they had occupied for months. Meanwhile, because of the Ukrainian advance Moscow-installed officials canceled proposed referendums for Donbas and the coastal land along the Black Sea to break away and join Russia.

At the same time, The United Nations granted President Zelensky an exception to virtually address the chamber on 21 September. Russia could get only six other countries, Cuba, Eritrea, Belarus, North Korea, Nicaragua, and Syria, to vote against it.

After a few days of relative quiet, on 19 September there was news of Ukrainian strikes in the south. Ukraine had originally claimed they were moving south and then attacked eastward catching the Russians by surprise. Now we heard that they were fighting in the south near Kherson. There was news of a Russian headquarters in a cotton mill destroyed.

On 20 September Russian President Vladimir Putin declared “partial mobilization” of his country’s army reserves, calling on 300,000 people who are currently part of the Russian military reserve or have previously served in the Armed Forces to fight in Ukraine. It’s a major escalation of the invasion as existing Russian forces on the ground face major setbacks. The same day I read that flights out of Russia were sold out after Putin ordered a partial military call-up. The following day there was a report that a surge of Russians purchasing one-way tickets out of the nation, was in some cases driving economy-class flight tickets north of $9,000. There was a five hour wait to drive out of Russia at the borders, and by 23 September More than 1,300 people have been arrested while demonstrating against the order.

That same day Kremlin-backed officials in four occupied regions in Ukraine began holding referendums on whether to formally join Russia. Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson, and parts of Zaporizhzhia have been under control by Russia or Russia-backed separatists and cut off Ukraine's access to the Azov Sea and parts of the Black Sea. The votes are expected to easily pass, though unlikely to be recognized by most of the international community. However, analysts say claiming the regions may enable President Vladimir Putin to portray Ukrainian counteroffensives in the region as direct attacks on Russian soil, thereby significantly escalating the conflict. Putin really wants to be the victim of Ukraine aggression.

Russia Wants Women

The leaflet above was reported on 24 September. It shows a pretty girl in a Russian uniform. The leaflets were dropped in the occupied Kherson region, calling on women to join the pro-Russian military service of the Donbas. The text seems a bit confused:

And for what?
Ready yourself
for victory?

They give themselves to war!
They don't live in human conditions!
They bring closer the reunion of two fraternal peoples!

This translation is very hard to understand. When they talked about “they” I thought they meant the Ukrainians. Now I think they mean the Women. I think they want to say something like “and why do they join.” It then compliments them on joining up, says that under Ukraine they live in awful conditions, but they are bringing together the two peoples. It is a strange way to compliment the women, but I can find no other meaning for their words.

On 25 September there were reports that 750,000 men had left Russia since Putin called up 300,000 draftees. There are miles of cars with people trying to get out and go anywhere. Almost 17,000 Russians crossed the border into Finland alone during the last two days. The Russian military has allegedly ordered "commander’s order No. 222," which says any Russian soldiers trying to retreat will be shot on sight. If true, we saw this same attitude in the movie Enemy at the Gates where the Russians killed their own retreating soldiers during the defense of Stalingrad.

On 26 September the time Russians waited in line to leave Russia was 50 hours. The news showed shooting in Russian draft offices, and several cases where citizens threw Molotov cocktails at the offices.

Russian Methane Gas rises from the Baltic Sea

On 27 September three explosions were recorded from the Baltic Sea. At the same time the Russian natural gas Nord Stream Pipelines 1 and 2 sprung a leak. Coincidently, about the same time gas was turned on from the Baltic Pipe, sending natural gas from Denmark to Poland.

The Russian exodus continues. By 28 September Kazakhstan alone counted 98,000 Russian arrivals since 21 September. Georgian officials say some 10,000 Russians are crossing the border each day. Thousands, too, are arriving in Mongolia and Turkey. One TV news said that the line of cars trying to leave Russia is so long that it can be seen from outer space. On the same day Meta says it took down one of the most complex Russian propaganda social media operations to date: a campaign that impersonated legitimate websites including The Guardian and Bild in European nations and shared pro-Russia articles that criticized Ukraine and its refugees. Fake accounts then promoted the stories across upward of 60 websites, including FacebookInstagram, Telegram, Twitter, and petition website Change.org.

Russian Leaflets found in an Izium Warehouse

The leaflet at left has the text:
Our cause is right
Victory will be ours

On 1 October, Reuters reported that Russian IT professionals are moving abroad in great numbers to avoid military mobilization. Ukrinform reported that Ukraine's State Bureau of Investigation discovered a warehouse in Izium, Kharkiv region, where Russian invaders were storing ammunition and propaganda materials as part of preparations for pseudo-referendums.

On 3 October, after finding themselves surrounded in the occupied Ukrainian city of Lyman, Donetsk region, just claimed as a part of the new greater Russia, the troops evacuated the city. The city had been used by the Russians as a logistical hub.

We have no data about the next two Russian leaflets. They were offered on auction with the proceeds going to Ukraine. They were apparently fired by Russian artillery, and we can see the paper has been slightly affected by the blast.

Leaflet 1 says:

CITIZENS OF UKRAINE!

The command of the Russian troops is addressing you. Don't turn the current situation into a standoff!

The duration of the special period depends on your loyalty.

Nobody is going to fight the civilian population.

Prevent military personnel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and other law enforcement agencies from turning settlements into an arena of military operations with destruction and death of civilians

Watch your children, husbands, and brothers. Do not let them into a senseless confrontation that will bring nothing but their death.

No one needs a fratricidal war.

The further well-being of you, your family and friends will depend on your correct understanding of the current situation.

This message also appears on a larger leaflet that was probably used as a poster.

Leaflet 2 says:

Soldiers and officers of the armed forces of Ukraine!

Kyiv deceived you and left you to die.

More than 600 marines in Mariupol were not frightened by the Nazis’ threats; they made their choice and surrendered to the Russian army.

They are safe and will see their families soon.

YOUR ONLY CHANCE TO SURVIVE IS BY LAYING DOWN YOUR WEAPONS.

In case of further resistance, you will be doomed to death!

THERE WILL BE NO HELP!

FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS ON THE REVERSE SIDE

Text on the back of leaflet 2 is:

INSTRUCTIONS

Detach the magazine from your gun.

Hang your gun on your left shoulder with the barrel down.

Raise your hands with a piece of white cloth above your head.

Slowly approach the positions of our troops, following their commands.

The servicemen of the armed forces of the Russian Federation are familiar with these signs,
which testifies to your voluntary refusal to resist.

We do not want senseless bloodshed! Save your life!

The further well-being of you, your family and friends will depend on your correct understanding of the current situation.

Ukraine Loudspeaker Tank near Lyman

The Ukrainian military using loudspeaker tanks to inform Russian soldiers in Lyman: 1. They're surrounded, and resistance is futile; 2. Instructions on how to safely surrender; and 3. Reminder that they are disposable to the Russian government and are considered nothing more than cannon fodder.

Perhaps I should add a word or two about this "cannon fodder" campaign. Apparently, the Russian recruiting and training officers have used that term on several occasions and the Ukrainians saw it and jumped on the phrase to lower the Russian morale. For instance, the Daily Mail reported that furious drunken conscripts beat up their Lieutenant Colonel commanding officer after he told reservists "You are all cannon fodder, you are facing slaughter."

President Zelenskyy called the Russian reserve mobilization "An attempt to provide commanders on the ground with a constant stream of cannon fodder," and encouraged the Russian troops to "Get a tattoo with your name and surname so that we know how to find your relatives when you are killed."

On 28 September a Russian staff officer told his troops, "You are all just cannon fodder. You’re the third group of people to form this battalion. Do you know where the first two groups died? And you will die here." He then told the unit commander "Send in the meat."

On 2 October, the heads of nine European NATO members issued a joint statement backing a path to membership for Ukraine in the U.S.-led security alliance and calling on all 30 NATO nations to ramp up military aid for Kyiv. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy applied for fast-track NATO membership, in response to Russia’s annexation of four regions of Ukraine.

On the same day Russians under attack from Ukraine forces near Kherson apparently could not contact their headquarters or simply panicked and threw out all their security precautions and went on social media crying for air support on a public Telegram channel.

On 4 October, the Chief Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine said that more than 2,000 Russian soldiers have contacted them over the past few weeks asking for an opportunity to surrender. The state project called I WANT TO LIVE is designed to help military personnel of the Russian army safely surrender to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. To receive information on how to surrender, Russian military personnel or their relatives and friends can call the 24-hour numbers: +38 066 580 34 98; + 38 093 119 29 84.

On 5 October as the Ukrainians continued to advance in their west and south, it was reported that 700,000 Russians had fled the country in two weeks to avoid the draft. As a comparison, during the Vietnam war which lasted close to a decade, 40,000 Americans fled their country to Canada to avoid the draft. A day later the first defecting Russians were found in Alaska. They had apparently crossed the Bering Strait and asked for political asylum.

On 7 October Jailed Belarusian activist Ales Byalyatski won the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize - an award that will be seen by many as a condemnation of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko. A Russian-installed official in Ukraine suggested Putin's defense minister should consider killing himself due to the shame of the defeats in the Ukraine war.

      

On 8 October 2022, A key bridge connecting the Crimean Peninsula with mainland Russia was significantly damaged after an explosion caused a partial collapse of two segments of the structure. The 12-mile-long bridge, spanning the Kerch Strait, is the longest in Europe and the largest ever built by Russia. Opened in 2018, the structure symbolized Russia's occupation of Crimea. Analysts say the blast was likely carried out by the Ukrainian intelligence service.

On 10 October, Russia launched its most widespread air strikes since the start of the Ukraine war on Monday, raining cruise missiles on busy cities during rush hour and knocking out power and heat, in what President Vladimir Putin called revenge for a blown-up bridge. Missiles tore into busy intersections, parks, and tourist sites in the center of the capital Kyiv. Explosions were reported in Lviv, Ternopil and Zhytomyr in western Ukraine, Dnipro, and Kremenchug in central Ukraine, Zaporizhzhia in the south and Kharkiv in the east. Ukrainian officials said at least 10 people were killed and scores injured, and swathes of the country left without power.

Demonstrators march with a banner that reads "Ukraine-Peace, Russia-Freedom," in Moscow on 24 February 2022 after Russia’s attack on Ukraine. Many large antiwar protests were organized in the immediate aftermath of Russia’s invasion, but the Russian government has subsequently stymied large-scale street protests and closed the opposition’s access to Russian media.
                                                                                             Photo by Dmitry Serebryakov, Associated Press

Defense and State Department Analyst Jim Dunnigan wrote a brief report called PSYOP in Ukraine in October 2022. He says in part (edited for brevity):

From the beginning Russia sought to justify the invasion with faked videos of Ukraine attacking first and assurances that the operation would be quick and painless. Copies of the official plan, known only to senior officers were captured and it was revealed that the invasion was supposed to take fifteen days. This would include the capture of the capital Kyiv and installation of a pro-Russian government.

There was no news about what was happening to Russian troops inside Ukraine. The Russian military took their wounded back to military or militarized civilian hospitals in Russia and neighboring Belarus. The condition of the surviving Russian troops was declared a state secret. it eventually became known that Belarus railroad staff were cooperating with their Ukrainian counterparts to sabotage railroad access to Ukraine for Russian trains crossing the border parts of Ukraine the Russians considered safe.

Ukrainian PSYOP and Ukrainians in general found ways to get the news of what was going on back to the Russian public. By early March 2022, most Russians knew something bad was going on in Ukraine and it was not going well for Russian troops. The official Russian position was that this was all about NATO aggression against Ukraine and Russia. The Ukrainians used their ability to contact Russians by cell phone or via the Internet to get past Russian Internet censorship. Initially this was done by allowing captured Russian soldiers to use Ukrainian cellphones to call their parents, often via a video call, to let them know they were OK. Ukrainian PSYOP later began using an Internet based facial recognition system that used facial images of millions of Russians who had appeared on the Internet, in social media or in videos. The facial imaging app was used to identify dead Russian soldiers the Ukrainians recovered so that the Ukrainians could notify families back in Russia who were openly complaining about their own government refusing to provide any news.

On 12 October, more than 50 countries gathered on the sidelines of a NATO meeting in Brussels to discuss bolstering Ukraine air defenses, after Moscow launched its most intense missile strikes since the start of the war. Russian attacks using more than 100 missiles have killed at least 26 people across Ukraine, when President Vladimir Putin ordered what he called retaliatory strikes for an explosion on a bridge. At the same time, Desperate to avoid military call-up to fight in Ukraine, more than 20 Russians have sailed in yachts down the North Pacific coast to South Korea.

Once again, the Russian tactics seem to have backfired on Putin. Because of the massive missile attacks by Russia, on 13 October, Canada, France, and the Netherlands promised to send anti-missile defense weapons and radar to Ukraine. The US earlier made a similar pledge. One high-tech system from Germany is already in Ukraine. Kyiv hailed the summit as historic.

On 16 October the N.Y. Times reported that a half-dozen Russian soldiers said they were shipped to an area of intense fighting in eastern Ukraine just 11 days after their mobilization. Asked about his shooting practice, one said, "Once. Three magazines." Scores of relatives of freshly drafted Russian soldiers crowd outside their training center, passing items through its fence to the recruits - boots, berets, bulletproof vests, backpacks, sleeping bags, camping mats, medicine, bandages, and food.

On the same day the Washington Post stated that Iran is strengthening its commitment to supply arms for the Russian assault on Ukraine, according to U.S. and allied security officials, secretly agreeing to send not only attack drones but also what some officials described as the first Iranian-made surface-to-surface missiles intended for use against Ukrainian cities and troop positions. In a second story they said that Police and military officers swooped down on a Moscow business center this past week unannounced. They were looking for men to fight in Ukraine, and they seized nearly everyone they saw. Some musicians, rehearsing. A courier there to deliver a parcel. A man from a Moscow service agency, very drunk, in his mid-50s, with a walking disability. At a predawn sweep on construction company dormitories on Thursday, they took more than 200 men. On Oct. 9, they rounded up dozens at a Moscow shelter for the homeless. The press-gangs appear to descend at random. It is terrifying, and, at times, comically haphazard.

This image of an Iranian-made kamikaze drone approaching
for attack was captured in Ukraine's capital, Kyiv on October 17.
(Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty Images)

On 19 October, the Washington Post pointed out Russia’s campaigns against Ukraine electrical systems:

Nearly 30 percent of Ukraine's power stations have been destroyed by Russian airstrikes over the past week, causing blackouts and damaging water supplies for thousands of Ukrainians across the country. Russia has broadened the use of Iranian-made kamikaze drones in Ukraine since Oct. 10 in retaliation for the explosion of a lone bridge connecting Russia to the Crimean Peninsula.

On the same day Russian President Vladimir Putin declared martial law in Russia-occupied areas of Ukraine and ordered the evacuation of civilians from the city of Kherson. Kherson, a key Black Sea port city, was captured by Russia in March, but Ukrainian forces are now within 20 miles of its perimeter. Ukraine formally requested air defense technologies from Israel amid increased use by Russia of Iranian-made kamikaze drones. Israel has used its Iron Dome system to protect against short-range missile attacks.

Save Your Family - Relocate to the Left Bank

On 19 October, as the Ukrainian forces approached the Russian-occupied city of Kherson, the Russians tried to get people to evacuate and move across the river. This leaflet implored then to Save your family, relocate to the left bank.The back of the leaflet Recommended routes: Kherson-Skadovsk, Kherson-Zalizny Port, Kherson-Kalanchak, and Kherson-Prymorsk.

Study and Vacation

On the same day, the Russian occupation administration of Kherson distributed these leaflets urging local population to go to Crimea or to Russia for Study and for vacation. The Ukrainian Government of course considers this not to be an evacuation or a vacation but instead the kidnapping and deportation of the population to Russia before Ukraine liberates the city. The text is:

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MOVING TO THE WEST COAST OF THE DNEPR?

WHAT DO YOU NEED IT FOR?

The Kherson leadership administration received a recommendation to organize an opportunity for Kherson families to go to other Russian federation regions for recreation and study. The first turn goes to residents on the right bank.

First, this is the Crimea, Rostov region, Krasnodar territory; Stavropol territory are your neighbors.

Take your children and loved ones out!

BEST ROUTES

Take your children and loved ones out!

On 1 November 2022, as Russia continued to fire missiles toward civilian targets in Ukraine, due to the worsening war situation, Russia ordered civilians to leave a swath of Ukraine along the eastern bank of the Dnipro River, a major extension of an evacuation order that Kyiv says amounts to the forced depopulation of occupied territory. Russia had previously ordered civilians out of a pocket it controls on the west bank of the river, where Ukrainian forces have been advancing to capture the city of Kherson. Russian-installed officials said they were now extending that order to a 9-mile buffer zone along the east bank as well. President Putin froze participation in a Black Sea grain export program claiming that Ukraine had attacked Moscow's fleet in Crimea. Ukraine continued to put grain ships to sea.

On 4 November, for the first time in weeks, there was news of leaflet use. Ukrainian artillery units fire special agitation shells in the direction of the occupiers in Kharkiv Oblast. There were instructions inside those shells on how to surrender to Ukrainians. The Ukrainian military said the leaflets were addressed to the Russians and the conscripted occupiers from DPR and LPR [the self-proclaimed Donetsk Peoples Republic and Luhansk Peoples Republic]. Special shells from D-30 howitzers were used for information distribution. Each shell contains 1,500 leaflets. They are being fired in various directions to ensure that as many invaders as possible receive them.

The Symbol of the Yellow Ribbon Movement

On the same day Ukrinform reported:

Activists of the Yellow Ribbon movement regularly hang up flyers and ribbons. We warn all citizens who are under the occupation that the passport of the Russian Federation is a direct path to lawlessness and mobilization! Activists are calling for the Russian propaganda products to be recorded on the phone and the movements of collaborators and the Russian military to be recorded. In addition, activists in Kherson put up flyers that read: Time to make a goodwill gesture. Kherson is Ukraine.

On 7 November the Washington Post reported that the Biden administration was privately encouraging Ukraine’s leaders to signal an openness to negotiate with Russia and drop their public refusal to engage in peace talks unless President Vladimir Putin is removed from power. At the same time there were reports in various newspapers that if the Republicans took over the House and Senate, the support of Ukraine would be diminished. Allegedly, the Republicans believe that this is a European problem not an American one and enough money has been spent on this foreign war already. This could be misinformation or election strategy by either political party or it could be true.

On the same day, President Zelensky said: The Donetsk region remains the epicenter of the greatest madness of the occupiers. They are being killed in their hundreds every day. The ground in front of Ukrainian positions is littered with bodies of the occupiers. Ukraine also announced the arrival of the Norwegian Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS) and Aspide air defense systems (Italian medium range air-to-air and surface-to-air missile). Ukraine thanked Norway, Spain and the United States for the shipments and said: These weapons will significantly strengthen the Ukraine and will make our skies safer.

On 8 November, Reuters reported that Ukraine continued its tough stance on negotiations with Russia, saying talks could only resume once the Kremlin relinquishes all Ukrainian territory and that Kyiv would fight on even if it is stabbed in the back by its allies. Ukraine is wise to think ahead. As I mention above, a strong Republican victory in the 2022 Mid-term elections could lead to a cut in the aid from The United States.

On 10 November, Reuters reported that Ukrainian troops advanced in the south after Moscow ordered one of the war's biggest retreats from Kherson. Kyiv remained publicly wary; warning that fleeing Russians could turn Kherson into a City of Death. Ukraine could not confirm whether Russia was pulling out, but Ukrainian troops had advanced 4 miles in the past 24 hours and recaptured 12 settlements.

Moscow ordered its troops to withdraw from the entire Russian-held pocket on the west bank of the Dnipro River, including Kherson city, the only regional capital Russia had captured in nine months of war. A senior adviser to Ukraine's president accused Moscow of mining everything from apartments to sewers and planning to shell the southern Ukrainian city from the other side of the river Dnipro.

A New Ukraine Surrender Leaflet

The same day Ukrainian forces in Bakhmuted conduct psychological operations against Russian forces by delivering surrender instructions via the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS). Ukraine released a film of a PSYOP team loading 122mm leaflet warheads for a BM-21 GRAD to disseminate over enemy positions. I depict a frame of the film where you can see the leaflet being fired. It is out of focus so I cannot translate, but you can see the image.

On 11 November, the Russian Defense Ministry said that it finished pulling out its troops from the western bank of the river that divides Ukraine's southern Kherson region, including the only provincial capital that Moscow had captured since invading the neighboring country. The Kremlin remained defiant, insisting the development in no way represented an embarrassment for Russian President Vladimir Putin. Meanwhile, Ukrainians are celebrating in the free streets of Kherson.

We skip to 25 November 2022. There has been little in the way of PSYOP activity. Ukraine forces have stopped advancing as the Russians dig in and try to hold what they have taken in the early days of the war. The Russians no longer wish to fight and have changed their tactics to attacking Ukraine civilian power, fuel, and water assets, with long range missiles attempting to make the civilian suffer in the cold winter and beg for an end to the war. Russia shut down all of Ukraine's nuclear plants for the first time in 40 years in late November. Much of Ukraine remained without heat or power after devastating Russian air strikes on its energy grid, and in Kyiv residents were warned to brace for further attacks and stock up on water, food, and warm clothing. Ukraine has asked for long range missiles to possibly attack Russian infrastructure, but the US does not want to risk WWIII so has not complied. Britain will pledge millions of pounds in further support for Kyiv to ensure the country has the practical help it needs through the winter. Ukraine said more Western support is needed to help it meet its growing reconstruction costs.

Pro-Russian Leaflets found in Ukraine Monastery

Enough of the bloodshed!
For a bright future together with Society.
Peace - peace!

Note: The text is in Ukraine and does not seem to be pro-Russian until you realize the word they use for society, Pocieyu in Russian means more than just society, it means the community of people living in a particular country or region and having shared customs, laws, and organizations. It means one people. Ukraine clearly does not consider itself one country, part of Russia. During these raids, various literature promoting the ideology of the "Russian world," a notion denying Ukrainian sovereignty, was found. SBU found numerous leaflets calling for "unity" of Ukraine and Russia, as well as addresses of Moscow Patriarch Kirill saying that Ukraine's independence is a mistake since "spiritually and historically it was never the case… so let’s restore historical truth."

The bottom one is Ukrainian, and it says:

Hellenic national people
One righteous faith
One country.

Again, nothing outwardly anti-Ukraine, but "one country" seems to leave out the independence of the Ukraine. Once again, the "Russian World" ideology.

Other leaflets found in the Monasteries

Ukraine has cracked down on some of the Russian Orthodox Churches. Of course, they have been accused of the persecution of Christians. The Church in Russia has been very supportive of Putin and the Russian security agency FSB has a "Religious Department." Allegedly, the leaflet above with appeals to join Russia, were found in a monastery in Ukraine.

Euromaidan Press reports that Ukraine has moved closer to banning the Moscow-backed Ukrainian Orthodox Church after a series of Security Service raids on monasteries that claimed to reveal Russian propaganda and Russian citizenship of church hierarchy. After the beginning of the 2022 Russian invasion, in May, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the Moscow Patriarchate claimed to have cut all ties with the Russian church. However, there were numerous cases of the collaboration of the priests of this church on occupied territories as well as propaganda during sermons that undermined Ukraine's Independence. During these raids, various literature promoting the ideology of the "Russian world," a notion denying Ukrainian sovereignty, was found, according to the SBU.

Russian Hardware Targeting the City of Kharkiv

The photograph was published on 5 December 2022. The city of Kharkiv, a city of civilians that the Russians have constantly targeted. Here two Ukraine soldiers look at a pile of Russian projectiles and missiles that have been destroying this city for past 9 months.

On 7 December 2022, Time magazine selected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as their “Person of the Year.” Their cover depicts Zelenskyy, surrounded by other individuals and crowds of protesters woven together with bright yellow sunflowers and blue and yellow Ukrainian flags.

After over a month of relative inactivity except for drone attacks on the Ukraine's power system, Russian forces pounded targets in eastern and southern Ukraine with missiles, drones, and artillery. Millions remained without power in subzero temperatures after further strikes on key infrastructure. Russia seems to have caught it's second wind. On the Ukraine side there was political activity, European Union foreign ministers met to try and agree on agree further sanctions on Russia and Iran and an extra $2.11 billion for arms deliveries to Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy met the leaders of the United States, Turkey and France ahead of planned Group of Seven (G7) online talks, U.S. President Joe Biden told Zelenskiy he was prioritizing efforts to boost Ukraine's air defenses and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan discussed the Black Sea grain export agreement on Sunday with the leaders of Russia and Ukraine, which are both seeking to boost their exports.

Patriot System firing a missile

The Russian winter attacks seem to be motivating the western nations to take more action against Russia. On 13 December, dozens of nations at an international conference in Paris rallied around Ukraine. They pledged more than $1 billion in additional aid to support Ukraine in the near term, including to help boost its battered energy grid and other aspects of its civilian infrastructure. The Biden administration was preparing to send the Patriot missile system, its most sophisticated air defense technology to Ukraine.

Meanwhile, in Taiwan, Deputy Foreign Minister Ming-Yen said at a major international security conference in Halifax, Canada, that watching Ukraine's struggle has inspired Taiwan to implement major long-term military reforms, including extending the period of compulsory military service expected of its citizens:

The Russian invasion of Ukraine shows that authoritarian countries have no qualms invading other countries’ territory, revising national borders, and challenging the rules-based international order. For Taiwan, the lesson is to prepare now for an invasion rather than when it’s too late.

It seems that Russia needs more soldiers but is unwilling to draft them because of the number of young men that have left the country. As a result, in late December 2022 they began showing patriotic recruiting films on social media. CNN reported on 17 December that Russia is trying to appeal to men through the narratives of patriotism, morality, and upward social mobility. One film shows a young soldier buying a car with his military bonus, in another a young soldier is pursued by a girl who finds him heroic. In other films an older man leaves his poor paying job and happily goes to the front for higher pay, and a bunch of young men leave the country to avoid the draft while others stay and are admired as real men. It appears that the films use every perk that young men are interested in, money, girls, and admiration. During a meeting with mothers of the mobilized, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that it was better to be killed fighting for the motherland than to drink oneself to death on vodka.

In Vietnam, both the Americans and the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong utilized Propaganda teams to sing and dance and raise the morale of the troops and recruit civilians. In Russia they are doing something similar. The British Ministry of Defense said on 18 December that Russia is sending opera singers, actors, and circus performers to the front line in Ukraine to boost their troops’ “fragile morale.” The Kremlin announced last week that it was establishing two “creative brigades” as the first anniversary of the start of the war draws closer. Military music and organized entertainment for deployed troops have a long history in many militaries but in Russia they are strongly intertwined with the Soviet-era concept of ideological political education. The Russian public have also been urged to donate musical instruments to members of the armed forces in Ukraine.

A Russian tank surrenders by appointment in a new PSYOP Program

A four-minute movie tells Russian troops how to surrender, promises the best treatment, offers rewards for weapons, and the possibility of staying in Ukraine or elsewhere if they do not want to return to Russia. You can call ahead and make an appointment to surrender.

On 23 December 2022, the USA Herald reported a new psychological operation by Ukraine:

"I want to live" is the program started by Ukraine. It’s directed at low-morale Russian soldiers who want to surrender, and it is working. The program includes a phone hotline, a website, and a Telegram channel all dedicated to talking and exchanging information with active-duty Russian soldiers and their families. In many of his daily video calls, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also encourages the Russian invasion forces to surrender.

Ukraine's efforts have included various high-tech and low-tech methods. Sometimes instead of dropping bombs, they use Vampire multiple-launch systems to launch missiles loaded with thousands of leaflets into Russian positions. The leaflets, scattered on the ground, encourage Russian forces to surrender. The Main Directorate of Intelligence of Ukraine created a hotline that aims to aid Russian servicemen discouraged by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. A soldier or their family member can call to get information on how to safely surrender to the Ukrainian army.

The Telegraph reported on 1 January 2023 that Russian police were hunting armed convicts who fled mercenary training camp. Six armed former convicts were on the run from police in Russia on Sunday after deserting a training center in Ukraine run by the Kremlin-linked Wagner mercenary group. The Russian authorities have posted leaflets around Rostov-on-Don, a city near the occupied areas of Ukraine, warning residents that the fugitives are dangerous. "Residents must pay special attention to people in uniform. Personal safety measures must be observed," the leaflets said.

Iranian "Happy New Year" Explosive Drone

On the same day Russia attacked Ukraine with a drone stamped with a sick taunt of "Happy New Year - Boom" while reportedly losing dozens if not hundreds of its own troops in an attack on dormitory housing during the ongoing invasion. Kyiv police chief Andrey Nebytov shared images of debris from the downed "kamikaze" drone covered in messages in ink, including drawings of fireworks and a gift. The message was found on the Iranian-made Shahed drone in "a playground where children play."

Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces fired rockets at a facility in the eastern Donetsk region where Russian soldiers were stationed, killing 63 of them, Russia’s defense ministry said Monday, in one of the deadliest attacks on the Kremlin’s forces since the war began more than 10 months ago. Russian military bloggers, whose information has largely been reliable during the war, said ammunition stored close to the facility had exploded in the attack and contributed to the high number of casualties.

The Strategic Communications Directorate of Ukraine’s Armed Forces had maintained Sunday that some 400 mobilized Russian soldiers were killed in a vocational school building in Makiivka and about 300 more were wounded. The Russian statement said the strike occurred "in the area of Makiivka" and didn’t mention the vocational school.

Nearly 10 million Central Asian laborers who migrated to Russia are being bribed to sign up and fight in Ukraine. Recruitment leaflets written in Tajik and Kyrgyz, offering would-be recruits £3,000 upon enlistment have been dispersed inside Moscow’s Sakharovo migration center. All five central Asian nations have forbidden their workers from taking part in any military actions except to defend their Motherland. Other methods of conscripting Central Asian men are being tested. It was announced that foreign workers could get a “simplified” fast track to Russian citizenship in return for a year of military service.

The Russians in Moscow awoke to find that some underground activity placed leaflets containing GPS coordinates of the Federal Security Service Headquarters, Lenin's mausoleum, and the Kremlin, all over the city.

Putin’s Mouthpiece Vladimir Solovyov

On 2 January 2023, Kremlin mouthpiece Vladimir Solovyov tried to solve the Russian morale problem by urging Russians to welcome death. He said on a state-run TV show from the safety of a warm studio:

Life is highly overrated. Why be afraid of what is inevitable? Moreover, we’ll go to heaven. Death is the end of one earthly path and the beginning of another. Why people would let their fear of death influence their decisions. It’s only worth living for something you can die for, that’s the way it should be.

 

A Black Germ Warfare Leaflet in Odesa

I hesitate to mention this because it is not really PSYOP in the classic way we think of it. During the Korean War the Communists claimed that the United States was using Germ warfare. The US dropped leaflets telling the Korean and Chinese soldiers that the disease was caused by their wartime conditions, lack of sleep, proper food, and cleanliness. The Communists said the leaflets were infected and told their troops not to touch them. It is a favorite technique of the enemy. During the Vietnam War the Communists again used the same ploy claiming that the US was using germ warfare. On 10 January 2023 the Russian Telegram channel spread information about an alleged cholera outbreak in Odesa. It was backed up by a leaflet that the city residents allegedly received in their mailboxes. The leaflet called residents for utmost vigilance and caution, offered a list of precautionary measures and a phone number to call to in case of symptoms of illness. The leaflet was allegedly sent out by the private company House Service Management Company.

In a comment to Ukrinform, the director of the organization confirmed the existence of the company, emphasizing that its real name is House Service LLC. He also denied any involvement of the organization in the distribution of leaflets about the alleged outbreak of cholera. The Odesa Regional Center for Disease Control and Prevention of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine officially refuted the fake information about the alleged outbreak of cholera. No cholera cases were registered in Ukraine and Odesa region. This is not the first time that fake news about cholera was spread. In June 2022, it was reported that the Kyiv water supply company denied the information that tap water was dangerous and diseases could spread through it. A similar fake was also refuted in Kharkiv. Later, the Ministry of Health of Ukraine reported that no cholera cases had been recorded in Ukraine. It is hard to see the point of this campaign unless it is simply to keep the people worried and their morale low.

While this was going on, the Wagner Group, a private Russian mercenary army has stepped up an assault on the small town of Soledar in eastern Ukraine, forcing Ukrainian troops to repel waves of attacks. Britain's defense ministry said Russian troops and forces of the Wagner contract group were probably now in control of most of the town after advances in the last four days. Troops from both sides have been taking heavy losses in some of the most intense trench warfare since Russia invaded Ukraine nearly 11 months ago. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said no walls have been left standing in Soledar and the land is covered with Russian corpses. The Wagner group has allegedly been scouring Russian prisons, the homeless, and non-Russian citizens for troops, so Putin need not worry about crying mothers if they are killed in the attacks.

Although we can trust none of the numbers either side tells us regarding deaths and injuries, it is interesting to read their reports. The Ukraine General Staff estimates that Russia has lost about 109,720 of its soldiers. Russia has also lost over 19,500 units of equipment since launching its full-scale invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022.

Ukraine pets go to War

On 19 January 2023 the Ukrainian site UKRINFORM published a long article on all the Russian “black” activity against Ukraine. We normally expect black operations to be big and strategic, fake letters about military operations, fake stories about criminal activities of enemy leaders, etc. These stories are all very small, simple things like salt or puppies. We cannot say if any are true, but every story came with photographs and had various errors like misspelled words, addresses that did not exist, etc., pointed out. So, I will just mention several of them listed in the report. The first black operation was the claim that Ukraine was taking dogs and sending them to the front. This would certainly enrage pet lovers. The second was a story that a Ukraine tattoo shop was removing swastikas from Ukrainians who wanted to travel through Europe. This was shown to be a Russian tattoo parlor. This implies of course that all Ukrainians are Nazis. The third was a story that Ukraine had no salt. I don’t quite understand that one. A fourth story claimed that Ukraine was grabbing men off the street and forcing them into their army. The Russians had seen their young men flee the army, perhaps they hoped Ukrainian youth would do the same thing. The next story was about cholera in Odesa. We mentioned this earlier in this article. There are more, but this shows the Russians are keeping busy spreading rumors. I assume the Ukraine is doing something similar.

Nothing much happened on the PSYOP front for the rest of January 2023. There was political activity as Ukraine asked for better tanks from the West, and after weeks of debate the Germans gave permission for their Leopard 2 Tanks and the U.S. approved sending 31 of their massive Abrams tanks to help Ukraine. Ukraine has been promised 321 heavy tanks by several countries in Europe. Russian troops went on the attack, apparently trying to win some victories before those tanks arrived in Ukraine. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy described the situation at the front as "extremely acute" on 27 January, particularly in the eastern Donetsk region where Russia went on the offensive. At the same time, Ukraine fired more than a dozen government officials because of scandals and graft allegations, underlining President Zelenskiy's need to show allies that he is serious about tackling corruption and misrule.

The Wagner Mercenary Group Cemetery

On 26 January Reuters reported that a rapidly expanding cemetery in a southern Russian village offers insight into the convicts who are fighting - and dying - for the secretive mercenary army of Wagner Group. Late last summer, a plot of land on the edge of a small farming community in southern Russia began to fill with scores of newly dug graves of fighters killed in Ukraine. The resting places were adorned with simple wooden crosses and brightly colored wreaths that bore the insignia of Russia’s Wagner Group - a feared and secretive private army. There were around 200 graves at the site on the outskirts of Bakinskaya village in Krasnodar region when Reuters visited in late January.

The news agency matched the names of at least 39 of the dead here and at three other nearby cemeteries to Russian court records, publicly available databases, and social media accounts. Reuters also spoke to family, friends, and lawyers of some of the dead. Many of the men buried at Bakinskaya were convicts who were recruited by Wagner last year after its founder, Yevgeny Prigozhin, promised a pardon if prisoners survived six months at the front, this reporting showed. They included a contract killer, murderers, career criminals and people with alcohol problems.

Of the 39 convicts Reuters identified, 10 had been imprisoned for murder or manslaughter, 24 for robbery and two for grievous bodily harm. Other crimes included manufacturing or dealing in drugs and blackmail. Among the convicts were citizens of Ukraine, Moldova, and the Russian-backed breakaway Georgian region of Abkhazia.

Ukraine has been warning the West that a big Russian offensive was coming. On 10 February 2023 Reuters said it might have started:

Russian forces struck the electric grid in several parts of Ukraine in overnight attacks and at least 17 missiles hit the southeastern city of Zaporizhzhia in an hour. Enemy aviation is in the air and ships which can carry Kaliber missiles are in the sea.

The Post added:

A Moscow offensive that has been brewing for days appeared to pick up pace ahead of the one-year anniversary of its invasion. The Kremlin’s forces focused their bombardments on Ukraine's industrial east, especially the Luhansk and Donetsk provinces. Moscow-backed separatists have been fighting Ukrainian forces there since 2014. The barrage struck critical infrastructure in Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city in the northeast, and hit energy infrastructure in Zaporizhzhia in the southeast. Air raid sirens went off across much of the country. The bombardments could be an effort by Russia to soften up Ukraine’s defenses ahead of a ground assault, which Kyiv believes Moscow is planning.

On 15 February, a report by the Conflict Observatory, a State Department-supported documentation initiative said that in a massive, government-wide operation, Russia has placed at least 6,000 Ukrainian children into 43 camps and institutions for "re-education" in areas from Crimea to Siberia or put up for adoption with new families. Once again, Putin uses the old nazi playbook. In WWII the Germans would take young blonde Polish children away from their Polish parents and give them to German families that could raise them as patriotic Germans.

The Ukraine Commemorative 20-Hryvnia Banknote

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine reached the one-year anniversary, there was little in the way of PSYOP in the news, just a continued Russian push to gain ground. They advanced very slowly as Ukraine awaited the arrival of promised weapons and tanks from the West. Ukraine did produce one piece that we might call propaganda.

Ukraine's central bank unveiled a commemorative banknote on to mark one year since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion, with one side depicting three soldiers raising the national flag. The other side of the 20-hryvnia ($0.54) note features an image of two hands tied with tape, an apparent allusion to war crimes Kyiv has accused Russian forces of committing in Ukraine.

To mark the anniversary of the war, we decided to launch a commemorative banknote which will depict on a small piece of paper a year of emotions, patterns, content, and iconic things.

The central bank has worked hard since the invasion on February 24 last year to keep the economy afloat and maintain stability. The new banknote, which contains innovative security features, will have a circulation of 300,000.

On 28 February the Center for Strategic and International Studies reported that Russian combat deaths in the first year of its war on neighboring Ukraine have likely exceeded the combined death toll of all its wars since World War II. CSIS tallies the number of Russians killed or missing in Ukraine since last February at between 60,000 and 70,000, a figure that tracks with recent United Kingdom intelligence. Including injuries, CSIS estimates Russia has suffered as many as 250,000 casualties in the last year of warfare.

National Public Radio reported on 28 February that Russia's war in Ukraine isn't just being fought on the ground and in the air with tanks, artillery, and fighter jets:

It's also playing out online, where the Kremlin and its allies are using propaganda, fake social media accounts, forged documents and manipulated videos and images to push false narratives, to deflect blame from Moscow and undermine support for Ukraine. A year into the conflict, Russia continues to deploy false and misleading claims to justify its actions, cast Ukraine and NATO as the aggressors, and deny responsibility for the war.

That includes falsehoods like the claim Ukraine is run by Nazis with support from the U.S., which was the subject of a recent documentary posted online by state-backed broadcaster RT. It's one of 50 such films RT has published since the invasion — nearly one a week — according to Newsguard, a company that rates news websites' credibility. But the bogus claims don't end there. Russian media and Kremlin-linked campaigns depict Ukraine's government as rife with Satanists and terrorists. They've denied documented atrocities by Russian soldiers against civilians in Bucha and claimed the bombing of a maternity hospital in Mariupol was faked, using actors. They've spread rumors Ukraine is selling western-provided weapons for a profit on the dark web.

But Russia has hit roadblocks in its information operations. After the invasion, big U.S. social networks moved quickly to label Russian state media outlets and restrict their reach. The European Union banned RT and Sputnik, another Russian broadcaster, entirely. Facebook started warning users when they clicked on or tried to share a link from a Russian state outlet.

There has been little propaganda in the early months of 2023. Russia attacked on several fronts and has made some limited gains, mostly by the Wagner Group as Putin tries to keep the Russian body count down. Curiously, Wagner seems to be advertising for soldiers in pornographic magazines with comments like "Why stay home and masturbate when you could be seeing the world as a soldier." That could be Ukraine propaganda, but it is no worse than Putin emptying the jails and offering pardons for those criminals that fight for Wagner. Several nations have said they would send fighter jets to Ukraine, but none have arrived as of 18 March. On 17 March, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin and an official in his office responsible for children's rights because of their alleged involvement in the unlawful deportation and transfer of Ukrainian children from occupied areas of Ukraine to Russia. Since neither Russia nor the United States accepts the validity of the ICC, the warrant is mostly a moral charge that cannot be enforced, though it can be published to hurt Putin’s image. The ICC, which is based in The Hague, Netherlands, alleges Putin and Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova are responsible for war crimes. Ukraine has already arrested and convicted some Russian soldiers, all of them low-ranking, for war crimes in Ukraine.

In WWII Germany took many blond children of occupied countries to Germany. Where the German Eagle had flown was consider part of Germany. Putin considers all of Ukraine part of Russia so probably thinks no crimes have been committed. The only conflict comparable to the situation in Ukraine has been World War II, when about 200,000 Polish children were taken to Germany by the Nazis under Heinrich Himmler's Germanization program.

On 29 March I note that there has been almost no PSYOP news from Ukraine or Russia for weeks. The Russian winter offensive seems to have come to a halt. We do see some comments like, “More than 5,000 former criminals have been pardoned after finishing their contracts to fight in Russia's Wagner mercenary group against Ukraine." This is really recruitment propaganda aimed at getting more prisoners to volunteer to fight in the mercenary army. Little has been heard from Ukraine. One recent article pointed out that they had an underground in the Russian occupied territories carrying out PSYOP like ribbons, leaflets, and posters, and doing the occasional execution of known traitors. They have also mentioned a spring offensive against the Russians but call for more weapons and ammunition before attacking the Russian lines that by this time should be extremely strong. The Russians have been building the defenses in Crimea so one almost hopes the talk of an offensive is deception. The loss of life will be terrible.

On 4 April 2023 Finland formally joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a historic shift for a country that once insisted it was safer outside the military alliance and a sign of how Russian President Vladimir Putin’s gamble in Ukraine is upending the post-Cold War order. Finnish membership will double NATO’s land border with Russia, adding more than 800 miles. It will also bolster the alliance’s presence around the Baltic Sea and enhance its position in the Arctic. To justify his unprovoked attack on Ukraine, Putin cited the possibility of NATO expansion. Now, his war has brought a bigger, stronger NATO to his door.

In late March 2023 there were several articles about Ukraine’s activity contacting Russian troops. We don’t know if they are true or false, but several stories appeared stating that Russian pilots or tank commanders had contacted Ukraine to determine how they could safely defect. Even more interesting there was an article that stated that Ukraine civilians had contacted at least three Russian pilots and made them an offer of cash if they would fly the aircraft to Ukraine. This was reminiscent of the Korean War Operation Moolah when $100,000 was offered for a Russian MiG-15:

In summer 2022, a group of Ukrainian volunteers, working closely with their country’s intelligence service, apparently came close to persuading three Russian aviators who were bombing Ukraine to defect with their warplanes in exchange for $1 million each. Hundreds of encrypted chat messages were exchanged between the Ukraine team and the three Russian pilots: Igor Tveritin, 48, Roman Nosenko, 36, and Andrei Maslov, 33. All three pilots also provided valuable Russian military secrets in the course of establishing their bona fides, including sharing images and recordings of the cockpits and instrument panels in their cutting-edge planes — Su-34s, Su-24s, and Tu-22M3s — as well as details of their air bases.

In April 2023, there was a leak of secret documents committed by a 21-year-old Air Force National Guard Member Airman 1st Class Jack Teixeira of the 102nd Intelligence Wing, who was a computer specialist. The leak had many comments on what the U.S. saw as the future for the Russian-Ukraine war. The prognosis was grim. There was no belief in an ultimate victory by either side, just prolonged war. Some of the comments by the Washington Post were:

A total military victory for Ukraine seemed impossible; the military-industrial base in Western countries required to sustain the flow of foreign munitions and arms to the front was under severe strain; and, at some point, the support of Western publics, especially Americans, would wane, and the spigot gushing tens of billions of dollars in aid to Ukraine would get turned off.

Beyond forecasting a costly open-ended conflict, the newly disclosed document also predicts how Ukrainian and Russian military leaders will respond to battlefield challenges, and it anticipates that the year will end with the two sides achieving only marginal territorial gains because of insufficient troops and supplies for effective operations. The war in Ukraine will likely drift into 2024 with no resolution in sight. Even if Ukraine recaptures “significant” amounts of territory — an outcome that U.S. intelligence found unlikely — those territorial gains would not lead to peace talks.

Where do we Join…We Real Men!

On 20 April, Reuters said that The Russian military has launched a video campaign to lure more professional soldiers to fight in Ukraine which challenges those interested to show they are "a real man." The film depicts a security guard, a weightlifter, and a taxi driver. They are asked if they are happy with that life, then challenged to be a real man and join the army. British military intelligence and Russian media reports suggest Moscow is seeking to recruit up to 400,000 professional soldiers - on a volunteer basis - to bolster its forces in Ukraine. The cash offer starts at 204,000 rubles, which is about $2,503 US dollars.

There has been a terrible battle in the city of Bakhmut between the forces of Ukraine and the Wagner mercenary group for almost a year. Thousands have been killed or injured. At one point the Russians almost encircled the city. Wagner is reported to be pulling out of the city by 10 May 2023. This could be an attempt to force Russia to provide more weapons and artillery, or Wagner may just need to withdraw and lick their wounds. At the same time there are numerous articles and photos of the Russian defenses in the Crimea where they expect a spring Ukraine attack to regain occupied territory. My hope is that the talk of an attack is deception and Ukraine plans to attack elsewhere. To attack a defensive position that has been built for close to a year and contains mines, trenches, and various tank traps, would seem to be suicide. In WWII, massed Russian artillery in a defensive position was formidable. Let’s hope the Ukrainian Army is not so foolish as to rush headfirst into a defense line that has been growing for a year.

Both ploys above worked out but not in the same way. The leader of the Wagner Group first said that Putin had agreed to send more weapons. But Putin was wiser than that and apparently did not do so, and the Ukrainians were suddenly able to push forward and take much of the city of Bakhmut back. At the same time. On 15 May Ukraine said it needed more time to begin its anticipated counteroffensive against Russia as it waits for armored vehicles and weapons promised by Western allies. Ukraine has started to receive advanced weapons and training from Western nations, including the US, but not everything has arrived, Zelenskyy said. He added the cost in lives would be too great if Ukraine were to proceed now with a counteroffensive. The latest holdup comes after spring weather in Ukraine caused muddy conditions, slowing down troops. So, Putin made a possible rival look bad, and the Ukraine was wise enough not to be pushed into a premature attack.

At the same time, the Washington Post reported:

Ukraine is a country where many, including President Volodymyr Zelensky, grew up with Russian as their native tongue. But now the language is vanishing from public life and fading even in some daily private conversations. Russian-language books have been pulped. Russo-centric museums have been pressured to shutter. Streets named after Russian sites, poets and Soviet army generals are marked for a change. Putin in part has justified his bloody assault on Ukraine by saying he is saving Russian people there from cultural erasure. But Russia’s war on Ukraine, including the bombing of predominantly Russian-speaking cities such as Mariupol and Kharkiv, has only pushed Ukrainians further away. Ukraine outlawed Soviet symbols in 2015 after Russia illegally annexed Crimea and backed separatists in the country’s east.

On 25 May 2023, Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of the Wagner Group and a possible rival for Russian leadership criticized Vladimir Putin by saying that the goal of demilitarizing Ukraine had failed, Russian troops had killed civilians, and he had lost 20,000 soldiers in the battle for Bakhmut. He even questioned Putin’s rationale for the war, saying that Ukraine was not stronger that before the invasion and had asked to join NATO. Russian media did not report the interview and it is worth noting the Putin adversaries have a high accidental death rate, often falling off balconies in tall buildings.

The Guardian mentioned on 4 June 2023 that Ukraine was now using Russians who had come over to their side in cross border raids. The article said in part:

A pro-Ukraine group of Russian partisans has said it captured several soldiers during a cross-border raid into southern Russia and will hand them over to Ukrainian authorities. The Russian Volunteer Corps made the claim in a video statement released on Telegram on Sunday after a raid into the Russian region of Belgorod.

The Corps, along with fighters from the Freedom of Russia Legion, has claimed responsibility for a spate of attacks inside Russian territory, including last week when Moscow said two civilians were killed during fighting. The one minute and 26 second video clip showed what appeared to be about a dozen Russian soldiers being held captive, with two lying on hospital beds. The Freedom of Russia Legion released the same video on its Telegram channel.

“We have already decided the fate of these guys. They will be transferred to the Ukrainian side for the exchange procedure,” said the man. Ukraine and Russia have carried out regular prisoner swaps.

Russia’s defense ministry later said its forces had broken up the group, driving its fighters back into Ukraine. Ukraine denies direct involvement in the cross-border attacks but has cast them because of Russia’s invasion, predicting the rise of what it calls forces opposed to the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. “These Russian men took up arms against their will. Soon they will understand the whole vileness and injustice of the war unleashed by Putin,” said another Corps member.

Curiously, the Russian partisans seem to have adopted the symbol of the U.S. Army’s 5th PSYOP Battalion on their flag. I am sure that is accidental, but it is interesting.

The 5th PSYOP Battalion Symbol

Putin as a Death’s Head
Photograph: Vadim Ghirda/AP

On 10 June, Shaun Walker of The Guardian reported that nearly 300 exiled Russian opposition politicians and activists gathered to discuss Vladimir Putin and Russia in the European parliament, the congress coming as news broke of the Nova Kakhovka dam destruction, the latest grim episode in Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine. The Brussels forum was the first such gathering to be given official status by a European parliamentary body, as some in Europe start thinking about how the contours of a post-Putin Russia would look. “This is the first time that someone is speaking about the possibility of post-Putinism. Three months ago, this wasn’t possible. EU countries thought that Putin would be president for years and years if not decades and decades … Now, the perception has changed,” said Bernard Guetta, one of the forum’s organizers.

I will be honest and do not think Putin is in any trouble now. His war seems to be going better as he is armed by Iranian drones. I add this picture and comment because I have pointed out from the start how Putin used Hitler’s playbook, the claims he was fighting Nazis, claiming he was protecting his people, claiming it was not an invasion, and even taking children to Russia just as Hitler took young blonde Polish children to Germany. Now once again we see the same sort of WWII response. At that time the American Office of Strategic Services produced propaganda that pictured Hitler as a Death’s head. We are not told where this billboard appeared and who made it and thus, we don’t know its importance, but we see the images of WWII continuing.

We have mentioned several times in this article that Yevgeny Prigozhin has been very aggressive in attacking the Russian Army, its generals, and even Vladimir Putin. I have pointed out that this could be a power play. In mid-June 2023, as the Russians and Ukrainians fought it out with no spectacular results on either side, just a lot of bodies, this poster was seen in Krasnodar. It depicts the Wagner leader and says,

We work with precision.
We shoot with accuracy.
Yevgeny Prigozhin
Strong leader for a strong nation

On 23 June 2023, Yevgeny Prigozhin finally pulled the trigger. Forces from Wagner Group reportedly crossed the border and stormed into Russia. Prigozhin, called for an armed rebellion and threatened to rush Moscow to oust the minister who he accused of ordering the bombing of his war camps in Ukraine. The Kremlin has called for his arrest on mutiny charges in response. Prigozhin said his 25,000 soldiers had stormed into Rostov-on-Don — home to the Russian military headquarters for the southern region that oversees the fighting in Ukraine. The mercenary leader said his troops faced no resistance from young conscripts at checkpoints:

Those who destroyed our lads, who destroyed the lives of many tens of thousands of Russian soldiers, will be punished. I ask that no one offer resistance… There are 25,000 of us, and we are going to figure out why chaos is happening in the country. We will consider anyone who tries to resist a threat and quickly destroy them.

Putin called the situation a "stab in the back" during his five-minute address to the nation on Saturday. "This is a criminal adventuristic campaign. It is equivalent to armed mutiny. Russia will defend itself." The most interesting attack was when he called Prigozhin "his caterer," regarding the fact that he had allegedly first dealt with the Russian military when he had a hot dog stand.

Putin was reported to have left Moscow for places unknown. Some Russian military units fired on the mercenaries and about 1 p.m. Prigozhin turned his troops around when they were about 120 miles from Moscow, saying he wanted to avoid "shedding Russian blood." As they retreated, they left leaflets behind. Prigozhin departed to Belarus while the Kremlin dropped charges of treason and offered amnesty to Wagner troops.

Wagner Leaflet to the Russian People

MARCH OF JUSTICE TO MOSCOW!

Soldiers! Officers! Patriots!

Shoigu and Gerasimov traitors to the Motherland! They threw you into a meat grinder for your own skins! Their sons are fattening while you give your lives for the MOTHERLAND!

These creatures are hiding the truth! Ruined hundreds of thousands of lives of boys! They shoot at their own! And they make you a scapegoat! Instead of honors from the motherland, you pay for their brainlessness with your life!

WE, WAGNER PMC, ARE GOING ON THE MARCH OF JUSTICE TO MOSCOW!

JOIN NOW!

THIS IS NOT A REVOLUTION! THIS IS THE RESTORATION OF JUSTICE!

SHOIGU AND GERASIMOV MILITARY TRIBUNAL!

Military! Private! Officer!

Do not follow criminal orders! don't resist! don't die for the bastards!

Join the march of justice! Let's stop evil together!

I WANT TO LIVE

About the same time this second leaflet appeared. The front and back are about the same, the main difference is that the front is black text on white paper and on the back that is reversed. The three main lines of text are:

I WANT TO LIVE.
United Center for
receiving applications
from military Servicemen for Surrender.

ARE THEY BEING SENT TO UKRAINE TO FIGHT?

SAVE OUR CONTACT INFO TO SURVIVE.

Write to us on telegram or WhatsApp.
Use Chatbot in telegram for more information.
Project "I want to live."

To the left are various phone numbers to call to contact Ukraine forces to surrender, and in the bottom center two QR codes that can be used by cellphones to quickly make contact.

  

DO YOU WANT TO LIVE?

A third Ukraine leaflet appeared that simply showed a Russian soldier's hand holding a white flag with a QR code to the right. The text on the front is:

DO YOU WANT TO LIVE?

SURRENDER!

SCAN, READ TERMS AND CONDITIONS.

The back of the leaflet depicts Russian weapons and a surrendering Russian soldier and instructions on how to surrender:

INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO SURRENDER

1. Remove the magazine and hang the machine gun or weapon on your left shoulder with the barrel down.
2. Raise and show empty hands. Display the white flag as high as possible. Shout loudly: "I give up."
3. Approach on command. Follow all instructions of the Ukrainian military.

Hotline +38 044 255 51 83.

The Ukrainian military adheres to international law. Prisoners are guaranteed humane treatment, medical care, and normal conditions of detention.

  

RUSSIAN MILITARY!

Another leaflet depicts a Russian soldier hugging his father. The text on the front is:

RUSSIAN MILITARY!

Life is the most valuable thing you have.

For you, war in Ukraine is death.

Your parents, wife and children are waiting for you at home!
come back to them alive!

+38 098 342 79 31

By this number of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine,
you can surrender and save your life.

The back of the leaflet depicts a helicopter, a jet fighter, and cash. The text is:

RUSSIAN PILOT!

The only way to save your life and honor is to surrender to the Ukrainian military.

PUTIN OFFERS YOU  UKRAINE OFFERS YOU 
→ military dishonor    - cleared conscience 
→ bloody hands from killing civilians.  - complete security
→ tribunal   - $1 million for a Russian plane
→ or death on foreign soil  -$500 thousand for a Russian Helicopter

SURRENDER TO UKRAINIAN MILITARY

1. Get in touch with the Ukrainian command.
2. Land a plane/helicopter on Ukrainian territory.
3. Surrender unarmed with a white flag in your hand.

Everything is official. Call. Make sure.

+38 0996128109
IN UKROBORONPROM

Since the short rebellion against Putin, Russia has learned a lot about the mysterious Wagner Group that was kept secret for years. Putin, had denied any state link to Wagner, now admitted that the mercenaries were fully state financed. Russia paid the Wagner Group more than $1 billion over the past year, while Prigozhin’s Concord company was paid almost $1 billion to supply food to the military. The admission that Russian authorities spent so much money on a "private" mercenary group could backfire on Putin.

On 30 June there were attempts in Kazakhstan's Kostanay Region to recruit locals to join Russian forces in the invasion of Ukraine. The report referred specifically to advertisements on local social networks calling upon locals to join the Russian military. The prosecutor's office noted that fighting under foreign states is punishable by 10 years in prison. The National Security Committee of Kazakhstan has already opened 10 criminal cases over nationals' participation in the war.

On 6 July there was a report from the UK that Russia has begun firing propaganda leaflets at Ukraine forces in English aimed at the foreign volunteers in the Ukraine ranks. This should help a lot in translation if true.

On 7 July, Supporters of the Russian mercenary Wagner Group called for a mass gathering in St. Petersburg, Russia, where groups plan to hand out Wagner-branded merchandise. The mercenary group announced the effort on its social media channel yesterday to roughly 250,000 followers as reports surfaced of Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin's return to Russia. Why he returned to Russia, and why he was allowed to, is unknown. This could be stage 2 of his attempt to overthrow Putin.

The same day the United States said it would send cluster weapons to Ukraine. Cluster munitions, which the US last used in Iraq in 2003, is a method of dispersing many unguided tiny bombs over a wide area. The weapons will be part of a new $800M military package to aid Ukraine in its counteroffensive. Many countries have banned such weapons. I remember after Desert Storm in a Texas mess hall there were about 30 young soldiers under arrest for sending home some of the baseball sized cluster bombs. The Ft. Bliss post office had an EOD expert on hand to deal with all the explosives the young soldiers were sending home as souvenirs.

Part of a Russian leaflet used in Siberia July 2023

As the Russo-Ukraine war passed 500 days, Yahoo News reported that whereas in the past Russia asked foreigners and members of the old USSR to join the Russian army to fight Ukraine, the latest effort is to get women to join:

Leaflets in Russia's Siberia are calling on women to join the army. Women would potentially serve in occupied Ukraine "in the same ranks as men," The Moscow Times reported. 39,000 women currently serve in Russia's army, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has said. Some areas of Russia are being leafleted with an appeal for women to join the army and serve as doctors, paramedics, nurses, and cooks, potentially in occupied Ukraine. "Sign a contract with the Russian Defense Ministry in the same ranks as men," one leaflet distributed in Omsk, western Siberia, read, according to The Moscow Times' translation. The Omsk Civil Association, a group that says it opposes the invasion of Ukraine, also shared the leaflet with a warning to locals not to sign up.

Major General Ivan Popov

The Associated Press announced on July 13 that a Russian general in charge of forces fighting in southern Ukraine had been relieved of his duties after speaking out about problems faced by his troops, a move that reflected new fissures in the military command. Major General Ivan Popov, the Commander of the 58th army, which is the target in Ukraine’s counteroffensive, sent an audio statement to his troops that he was dismissed after meeting with the military brass, and what he described as a "treacherous stab in the back to Russian Forces" in Ukraine.

On the same day, President Joe Biden issued an order to "augment the active Armed Forces of the United States for the effective conduct of "Operation Atlantic Resolve" to include up to 3,000 members of the Selected Reserve. Newsweek said the troops would be sent to Europe as part of a long-term operation in response to Russian actions in Ukraine. Operation Atlantic Resolve is an initiative launched in 2014 under then President Barack Obama in response to Russian military actions in Ukraine. It was designed to bolster NATO countries' defenses.

  

Finally, a Leaflet uses Sex as a Theme

This leaflet was allegedly dropped by Ukraine on Russian troops. Sex has been used as a leaflet theme in just about every war, but this is the first one I have seen from this war. The leaflet is held by the finder in a field, perhaps near the battle lines. He walks along and occasionally picks up various leaflets. The tweeter named Naumenko titles the tweet, In the Kherson area, someone attacked Russian positions with propaganda pictures designed in the style of anime. The front depicts very busty young lady in a bra and panties, or maybe a risqué bathing suit and according to the owner, it says:

Tell me!

I suspect it says, “Call me” and the translation got a bit confused. In general, a leaflet like this should be telling the finder to call the pretty girl. The back depicts a truck going off to the front line and a soldier who stayed behind saying:

Alright! I’m off to headquarters and you – hurry to the front lines.

Notice that although you cannot see it, at the lower left on the back we see a QR code. It’s a square barcode that can contain information such as a URL, Wi-Fi password, or contact card, and it can be scanned easily by a smartphone camera. About this leaflet, An American veteran adds:

This is a new Ukrainian how-to-surrender leaflet, with a pinup attached so Russian soldiers can claim it's just pornography if caught with it.

Another "Sex" leaflet

There are questions about this leaflet. Is it a Ukraine leaflet or is it a Russian "black" leaflet. Also, since I try to put these leaflets into order by date, I am breaking that rule. I think it is best to put the two sexual leaflets together. The story is a strange one.

Allegedly this leaflet was disseminated by artillery over Russian troops near the headquarters of the Dnepr Group. The Pro-Russian channels posted leaflets saying that they were distributed by the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The original reports said it depicts a naked woman calling on the Russians to return home. In the picture above. the woman’s breasts and groin have been blacked out. I do not know if that was the way the leaflet looked when printed or if the person who photographed it also censored it. The text on the leaflet is:

Russian soldier. Put on your overcoat. Go home.

YOUR LOVE IS WAITING FOR YOU THERE

Now comes the question, who made the leaflet? The woman in the photograph is allegedly the wife of the commander of the Dnepr group and Airborne Forces General Mikhail Teplinsky. Teplinsky's wife has been attacked in the Russian Z-channels, called a prostitute and a Ukrainian citizen. According to the media, the primary source of this information was the propagandist, Alexander Semchenko. On 13 January 2024, he published footage of leaflets, claiming that they were delivered by propaganda shells.

So, was this a way for the Kremlin to discredit Teplinsky and destroy his popularity because he was admired by the people and was a possible threat to the rule of Vladimir Putin?

[Note]: In June 2022, Teplinksy was appointed commanding general of the Russian Airborne Forces. In January 2023, according to The Moscow Times, Teplinsky was dismissed as the commanding general of the Russian Airborne Forces. In April 2023 Teplinsky remained commander of the airborne troops and served as a deputy commander of the Russian troops in Ukraine. The British government believed his return to a major role in Ukraine was indicative of tensions arising within the Russian General Staff. Teplinsky landed in hot water back in August when he disclosed the number of airborne troops wounded since Russia's February 2022 invasion of Ukraine during an address marking Paratroopers’ Day.

On 11 March 2024, Ukraine dropped another sexual leaflet. It depicts an attractive full-color anime figure of a beautiful blond girl at the beach with big eyes and bigger breasts. The text on the front is:

Be smart and don't fight

The back is all text:

Russian Paratroopers and Marines!

You can wait out this war by taking off your uniform and throwing away your weapons.

You don't have to surrender, just make the right decision, and hide from the war in villages, towns, and forests. Your life is much more important to you than to those who command you, your commanders do not see what you see.

No money, medals, or merits are worth your life!

Look carefully around you and remember how you and your father went fishing or had a holiday with the whole family, remember the New Year and other holidays - all this can end FOREVER.

The Russian Enemy

As the Ukrainian continues to walk in the field, he picks up another leaflet that depicts what seems to be a Russian soldier with the face of a pig.

On 4 August 2023 Dva Mayora reported on Twitter that the Ukrainians started dropping contraptions that imitate the sound of gunfire on Russian positions during combat, making them think they're encircled. But even more so, the Russians found children's toys that "echo and repeat" any sounds they pick up to confuse the hell out of Russians and warn Ukrainians.

This report was from Klishchiivka, south of Artemovsk (Bakhmut). It said that the Ukrainians have dropped mechanical items that imitate small arms fire. As the Russians advance or retreat, they hear firing from all around their positions as if they were surrounded. The reporter says, "this is pyrotechnics, but very similar to the sounds of a machine gun."

[Author’s note] During the invasion of Europe on 6 June 1944, the U.S. dropped parachute dummies that fired mock weapons to distract the Germans and cause them to empty their weapons in the empty woods.

The Ukrainians also dropped small mechanical items like children's toys in the woods. These recorder-broadcasters recorded any sounds they heard and played them back. It also combined the sounds of engines, footsteps, gear rattling, people talking and played them back. Russians walking through the woods and making the usual sounds of moving troops would hear dozens of troops walking in the woods near them that were empty. The noise would also warn hidden Ukraine forces of Russians in the area.

On 15 August 2023 there were reports of leaflets in Poland recruiting for the Russian Wagner group. This does not really belong here, but since we are talking about leaflets for the Ukraine-Russian war I think I can justify mentioning this. Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Kamiński announced the arrest of the two Russians saying:

The ABW [Poland’s domestic spy agency], in cooperation with the Police, identified and detained two Russians who were distributing propaganda materials of the Wagner Group in Krakow and Warsaw.

Yevgeny Prigozhin's plane crashed and erupted into flames

On 23 August 2023, the other shoe finally dropped. When Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of the Wagner Group mercenary force, first challenged Putin with a march on Moscow in June 2023 and then suddenly turned around, everyone expected him to be assassinated. Yet he seemed to move with impunity as if his rebellion never happened. He was supposed to be exiled to Belarus, but he was spotted in Russia on several occasions. President Biden speculated in July that Prigozhin could be a target of assassination, On the 23rd Prigozhin boarded a private aircraft registered to the Wagner Group to fly from Moscow to St. Petersburg with 10 people aboard. Eyewitnesses reported hearing two explosions before the plane tumbled from the sky and burst into flames in a field. Some have already hinted it was hit by an antiaircraft missile. It was also reported that at the very last moment, a gift consisting of a crate of expensive wine was loaded onto the plane. They looked into claims that the crate may have contained a bomb. The aircraft showed no sign of problems until a precipitous drop in its final 30 seconds. The Embraer Legacy 600 has only recorded one accident in over 20 years of service, and that was not related to mechanical failure. Grey Zone, a Wagner-linked Telegram channel, posted an obituary:

The head of the Wagner Group, Hero of Russia, a true patriot of his Motherland - Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin died because of the actions of traitors to Russia," the post read. "But even in Hell he will be the best! Glory to Russia!

At the same time, Russian General Sergei Surovikin, who once led the overall operation in Ukraine and is known by the grim nickname "General Armageddon," has been removed from his position as air force commander in an apparent Kremlin purge of officials with links to the Wagner Group.

It is now September 2023 and so little has been going on in the Ukraine front that there is little to report. The war goes on like a WWI trench battle, and Ukraine has made some modest gains. Both sides are using drones against each other. The Russian produced a propaganda film called The Witness about the atrocities of the Ukraine Army. Apparently, it is a flop as you can see at the end of this short Guardian newspaper report.

The Witness centers on a fictional character called Daniel Cohen, an esteemed Belgian violinist who arrives in Kyiv to perform in February 2022, days before Russian troops entered Ukraine. As Russia launches its war, Cohen gets caught up in the fighting, witnessing a series of "inhuman crimes and bloody provocations by Ukrainian nationalists", according to the movie’s premise. At one point, a Ukrainian commander is seen walking around with a copy of Mein Kampf, while other Ukrainian soldiers pledge their allegiance to Adolf Hitler.

In two hours of screen time, the film covers a wide spectrum of falsehoods that the Kremlin has used to justify its invasion of Ukraine. On the eve of the invasion, Vladimir Putin said Moscow had to "denazify" its neighbor, the lie that Ukraine was infiltrated by dangerous "Nazis." The release of The Witness comes on the back of plans announced by the Russian authorities to boost the production of movies glorifying Moscow’s actions in Ukraine.

But The Witness is a box-office flop. Set to a budget of 200 million rubles (£1.5 million pounds), it has grossed less than 14 million rubles (£110,000 pounds) in its first two weeks, with viewers across the country reporting empty cinema halls.

Astoundingly, Many Russians prefer to see Barbie. They want to see movies that allow them to forget for a moment what really is going on, forget about the gloom and doom of the news from Ukraine.

On 7 September 2023 Putin continues to look for allies. He has a meeting scheduled with the leader of North Korea to buy arms to use against Ukraine. His old ally Cuba reports that it has discovered a Russian human trafficking network that has been recruiting its citizens to fight for Putin’s government in Ukraine. They want it stopped immediately. Two days later Cuban authorities said they had arrested 17 people on charges related to a ring of human traffickers that allegedly lured young Cuban men to serve in the Russian military amid the Ukraine conflict.

Education will not save the country. Join the AFU.
Russian Fake Lewaflet

Russia seems to have used a black operation, preparing leaflets for Ukrainian students that appear to ask College students to join the army. I wonder if this was to take the pressure off them after the Cuban allegations. Pro-Kremlin media, z-telegram channels, pro-Russian bots on the X platform (formerly Twitter) and accounts on the Chinese social network Weibo all distribute photos and videos of alleged Ukraine leaflets with the text:

Education will not save the country. Join the AFU

They are allegedly handed out to students in Kharkiv universities. Instead of studying, students are encouraged to join the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Olena Rodina, the press officer with the Kharkiv regional military recruitment center, told this to an Ukrinform correspondent.

What the Russians spread is always fake. The narrative 'Education will not save the country' does not exist for us at all! The children of Ukraine have studied and will continue to study!

Volunteer Yuliia Paievska Ukraine Recruitment Leaflet

The real Ukraine recruitment leaflets depict famous military personnel and volunteers. Among them are Lieutenant Colonel Rostyslav Lazarenko, an attack pilot of the Ukrainian Air Force, and paramedic and volunteer Yuliia Paievska. Their visual style is completely different from the fake leaflets distributed by the Russians.

Ukrainian Launched a Massive Flag over Russian-occupied Donetsk Saturday.

The Ukrainian military launched the giant flag attached to helium-filled balloons and sent it over the country’s third-largest city. The flag was released in Avdiivka, about 15 miles north of Donetsk, to celebrate its 245th anniversary on 9 September. Vitaliy Barabash, the head of the Avidiiv city military administration told Suspilne, Ukraine’s public broadcasting company:

We can hear the Russians; they are a little mad about it. They tried to shoot it down. But the state the flag is already flying over the Kyiv district of Donetsk.

Several days later on 15 September the press reported that the balloon served a double purpose:

When the Ukrainian flag flew from Avdiyivka to Donetsk, the Russians tried to shoot it down with all the means at their disposal and revealed all their firing positions. Ukraine's 110th brigade then "worked effectively to attack the Russian soldiers."

 

Ukraine Drones drop Election Leaflets

Meanwhile, in Donetsk and other Moscow-occupied territories, Russian authorities were holding elections that have been denounced as a sham by Kyiv and the West. Russia is holding elections in occupied Ukrainian territories, including Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, and Crimea. The Armed Forces of Ukraine launched major leaflet campaign drops. A video posted by the National Resistance Center of Ukraine shows the defense forces dropping leaflets via drones with a call to ignore the "elections." It read:

We will save you and protect you! Do not participate in the 'election' farce. Do not play along with the invaders! Today we are in Tokmak, tomorrow we will be in Berdiansk!

A former U.S. PSYOP solider named John Kirbow wrote a booklet titled A Patriot’s Field Guide to Psychological Warfare. The book ended with examples of PSYWAR and a long look at Russian tactics in Ukraine. It was so well done and concise that I thought I would add a small part of it here (edited for brevity):

A video fabricated by Russian intelligence was set in place to be used by the Kremlin, painting a picture that it wanted the world to see. Staged but graphic scenes of dead bodies amidst a background ripe with explosions, rubble of destroyed buildings, and the presence of military equipment. Alongside the destruction were actors pretending to mourn their dead. This was not a movie set but a well-crafted piece of Russia’s disinformation and propaganda ecosystem.

Evidence of war crimes and mass graves started coming to light in Bucha after the withdrawal of Russia’s troops in that area. These horrifying revelations evoked an outcry around the world, and Kremlin disinformation and propaganda responded in systematic fashion. Their first step was denying that their forces were even involved; when that failed, they challenged the credibility of the reports, while re-amping the "denazification of Ukraine" narrative as a deflection tactic. Russia's Ministry of Defense falsely claimed that "the photos and video footage from Bucha are another hoax, a staged production and provocation by the Kyiv regime for the Western media." Falsely accusing Ukraine of employing the very disinformation tactics of staging that Russia uses, Russia's Foreign Ministry falsely pointed to "signs of video fakes and other forgeries." [Note: I do recall one newscast where it was claimed that some of the dead were seen moving or breathing].

Despite being easily debunked conspiracies, including false claims Ukraine used fake corpses which "reanimated" after the cameras stopped filming, these narratives were spread and amplified by Russia's embassies and some mainstream and social media outlets around the world. There was plenty of evidence furnished to essentially disprove Russia's claims (and show its involvement in the staged propaganda), notably from Bellingcat, the BBC, and the New York Times. Despite this, the Kremlin’s disinformation pipeline continually pushed their efforts to conceal this and promote their own narrative.

The amount of disinformation used by Russia in the Ukraine war is far too wide and deep to summarize in this chapter – such would be an entire book.

In a minor propaganda coup for Ukraine, they stated on 25 September 2023 that their missile strike on the Crimean headquarters of the Russian navy killed 34 and wounded 105 officers and enlisted personnel. The Chief of the Fleet, Admiral Viktor Sokolov was killed. So far, the Russians have not commented on the claim. About the same time the United States sent 31 powerful M1 Abrahms tanks to Ukraine.

A Russian inflatable tank, built to draw fire away from real weapon systems.

As fall arrived there were numerous stories about how both Ukraine and Russia were building fake weapons systems trying to get the enemy to waste artillery, aircraft, and drones on the reproductions. I purposely added none of these to the article because there were so many and some of those depicted in news stories looked quite fake and I doubt they fooled any aircraft or drones that flew close by. However, on 26 September I did see a Russian fake that was realistic. There is no doubt this one would fool even some experts. The Russians have also built fake MiG-31 fighter jets, and decoy S-300 missile systems. The Ukrainians have built fake High Mobility Artillery Systems that tricked Russian forces into wasting valuable cruise missiles to the point where Moscow was boasting they'd destroyed more HIMARS than the US had actually given to Ukraine. More recently, the Ukrainians were building fake howitzers out of sewer pipes. A company that builds the fakes said that Russian troops had struck a mock-up of the Ukrainian P-18 Malachite radar, unable to tell the difference between a fake and the real thing. The company shared images of the decoy, which comes equipped with a rotating array and a camouflaged base — just like the real thing — before and after the strike.

Russian Tu-95 Bomber Decoys
Photo by Planet Labs Inc.

The website Warzone reported on 30 September that Russia is now painting the silhouettes of Tu-95MS “Bear-H” strategic bombers in parking revetments at its master bomber base, Engels Air Base, also known as Engels-2. The base has come under repeated attack over the last year and as Ukraine's standoff weapons capabilities are rapidly evolving, so are its abilities to strike deep inside Russia using local sabotage and drone attack teams. In this case the bomber at the left seems complete, even to have a shadow pained beneath it and tires placed on the wings, a Russian ploy meant to confuse drones by somehow altering the image. The two decoys on the right are just patterns on the ground now but they will soon be painted.

How to Pay Off your Student Loans?

On 5 October 2023 the website Polygraph.info reported that Recent Russian disinformation trends on X, formerly Twitter, include a fake recruitment campaign attributed to the United States and Ukraine governments. They use a picture of an alleged recruitment leaflet that urges students in the U.S. to go fight in Ukraine. The leaflet, bearing the emblem of the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a U.S. phone number, shows a young person sitting on the floor, back to a wall, with his arms crossed and head down. Note the creator's use of the British English spelling of "defence" vs the U.S. spelling of "defense." The text below the image says:

International Volunteer Status.
Medical insurance.
Monthly payments.
00 1 202 349 29 44
Join the Brave!

The Russian Monitor, a Self-described news media account on X said about this leaflet:

As the meat grinding continues in Ukraine with an attendant massive losses for the Ukrainian military and its NATO mercenaries, The US as (sic) launched an Indirect recruitment campaign amongst student, urging them to pay their 'student loan' by joining the Ukrainian army as an Alternative.

Recruiting or hiring someone to serve in a foreign military on U.S. soil may constitute a federal crime. At the time of this writing, X suspended the Russian Monitor’s account.

Tired of Living on Welfare

Ukraine has dealt with similar fake posters in the past. In April 2023, social media users spread images of a poster purportedly placed in the New York City Subway system, calling on individuals "tired of living on welfare" to join Ukraine's International Legion.

An Unexploded Russian Leaflet Shell.

The inside of the shell showing the Leaflets

On 11 October 2023 Ukrayinska Pravda announced that the Russians had launched a projectile with propaganda at Ukraine's south, but the operation failed:

Russian occupiers launched a projectile with propaganda leaflets over the south of Ukraine, but it did not explode. Russian occupiers, trying to carry out propaganda and misinformation among our people – both military and civilians – launched a special projectile. The plan of the occupiers foresaw that it was supposed to open in the air so that the leaflets would scatter around. But, like all the plans of the enemy, the projectile simply fell to the ground, without spreading its deceitful stuffing.

One of the Leaflets removed from the shell.

Ukraine made the "projectile" sound very secret and mysterious but of course this was simply a leaflet shell that did not explode. The story depicts the shell, the leaflets packed inside and one of the leaflets.

ATAMCS Fired at Russian Troops by Ukraine 16 October 2023

On 17 October 2023, the Russo-Ukraine was 600 days old. The Russians had made some recent attacks aimed at the eastern Ukrainian city of Avdiivka but it was reported that fighting was slowing down. It was also reported that the U.S. had delivered less than a dozen Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATAMCS), a long-range missile that would allow Ukraine to strike deeper into the Russian defenses. The U.S. has types of this missile that can fly 180 miles, but the ones given to Ukraine reportedly fly about 100 miles. Ukraine has worried about further U.S. support after Hamas attacked Israel. and the Republicans voted out the Speaker of the House of Representatives. As of this date there is no new speaker, and no work can be done on aide to Israel and Ukraine.

On 27 October, The Washington Post reported that Russia has freed up to 100,000 prison inmates and sent them to fight in Ukraine. Russian forces are now heavily reliant on prisoners plucked from colonies with the promise of pardons, a practice initiated by the late Wagner boss Yevgeniy Prigozhin, who began recruiting convicts to fight in Ukraine a year ago and amassed a 50,000-strong force.

On 21 November 2023 there was lots of news about electronic interference with drones. Why should we care? Because drones are often used to drop leaflets. So, we should look at the defense against drones and how they work. The Orlando Sentinel said in part:

The drones began crashing on Ukraine’s front lines, with little explanation. For months, the aerial vehicles supplied by Quantum Systems, a German technology firm, had worked smoothly for Ukraine’s military. Then late last year, the machines started falling from the sky as they returned from missions. Quantum’s engineers found the issue: Russians were jamming the wireless signals that connected the drones to the satellites they relied on for navigation. To adjust, Quantum developed artificial intelligence-powered software to act as a kind of secondary pilot and added a manual option so the drones could be landed with an Xbox controller. The company also built a service center to monitor Russia’s electronic attacks.

A battle is raging in Ukraine in the invisible realm of electromagnetic waves, with radio signals being used to overwhelm communication links to drones and troops, locate targets and trick guided weapons. Known as electronic warfare, the tactics have turned into a cat-and mouse game between Russia and Ukraine. The techniques have turned the war into a proxy laboratory that the United States, Europe and China have followed closely for what may sway a future conflict, experts said. The war in Ukraine has been the performance enhancing drug for NATO’s electromagnetic thinking. It has been the thing that concentrates minds.

Electronic weapons do not appear dangerous at first glance. They are typically satellite dishes or antennas that can be mounted on trucks or set up in fields or on buildings. But they then beam out electromagnetic waves to track, trick and block sensors and communication links that guide precision weapons and allow for radio communications. One basic but effective tool is a jammer which disrupts communications by sending out powerful signals at the same frequencies used by walkie-talkies or drones to cause so much disturbance that beaming a signal is impossible. Another key weapon sends a signal that pretends to be something it is not, like a satellite link. Called spoofing, the fake signal can convince a drone or missile it is miles off course by feeding it false coordinates. In other cases, spoofers imitate the signals made by missiles or planes to trick air defense systems into detecting attacks that aren’t happening.

Other tools listen for beams of radiation and seek to locate their origin. These devices are often used to find and attack drone pilots. As the war has stretched on, Russia has innovated by making smaller, mobile electronic weapons, like anti-drone guns and tiny jammers that form a radio-wave bubble around trenches.

At Infozahyst, one of Ukraine’s biggest electronic warfare contractors, engineers recently worked on a project to track and identify Russian air defense systems. Russia’s antiaircraft radars were not as easy to replace as tanks. But if enough were eliminated, it could provide a turning point in the war. "Once we control the sky, then Russia fails hard."

A Fake AI-Generated Photograph, Probably for the War in Ukraine.

On 23 November the Washington post published an article about fake photographs produced by artificial intelligence. I am not implying that all recent war pictures from Gaza and the Ukraine are faked, just that apparently there are a great number of them so you can no longer believe what you see. The article said in part:

ADOBE STOCK, an online marketplace where photographers and artists can upload images for paying customers to download and publish elsewhere, last year became the first major stock image service to embrace AI-generated submissions. That move came under fresh scrutiny after a photorealistic AI-generated image of an explosion in Gaza, taken from Adobe's library, cropped up on several websites without any indication that it was fake.

SHUTTERSTOCK, another major stock image service, has partnered with OpenAI to let the San Francisco-based AI company train its Dall-E image generator on Shutterstock's vast image library. In turn, Shutterstock users can generate and upload images created with Dall-E, for a monthly subscription fee. A search of Shutterstock’s site for "GAZA" returned more than 130 images labeled as AI-generated, though few of them were as photorealistic as those on Adobe Stock. Shutterstock did not return requests for comment.

The actress Rosie O'Donnell recently shared on Instagram an image of a Palestinian mother carting three children and their belongings down a garbage-strewn road, with the caption "Mothers and children - stop bombing Gaza." When a follower commented that the image was an AI fake, O'Donnell replied "no its not." But she later deleted it.

Lieutenant General Jonathan Braga, commanding general of US Army Special Operations Command, said:

I think information operation could be the most important lesson learned from the crisis in Ukraine. I mean, the world has rallied to support the Ukrainian armed forces, in my belief, because of information operations and gathering support. I think the resistance and the resilience capability of the Ukrainian people is there because of successful information operations. There are tragedies all around the world that the world doesn’t necessarily pay as much attention to, but I think information operations are key. Messaging has played a huge role in the tactical and operational sense. “You’ve had 17,000 Russians desert. That’s 17,000 soldiers you haven’t had to blow up on the battlefield or destroy.

Last November, then-US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley said Russia has seen 100,000 casualties, which presumably includes defections in addition to those killed or wounded.

Ukraine Wants Old People to Join Their Army.
Russian Disinformation

On 20-30 November, Kremlin propaganda media reported that campaign leaflets appeared in Ukraine to encourage the elderly to go to the front. The leaflets feature the following slogans: You have already lived your share – go to the front; It’s never too late to join the Armed Forces of Ukraine; Happiness in old age is possible, update your data in the territorial recruiting centers; and Age is only in your mind, join the armed forces of Ukraine. The coat of arms of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine can also be seen on the leaflets.

The same information and slogans accompanied by photos and videos of the leaflets were also distributed by Russian-language Facebook accounts. The claim about the campaign to encourage the elderly to join the war in Ukraine is DISINFORMATION. The Center for Combating Disinformation of Ukraine responded to the information about the leaflets and denied it.

According to the NY Times, Russia is also using disinformation featuring Hollywood stars to attack Zelensky:

"Hi, Vladimir, Elijah here," the actor Elijah Wood said in a video packaged to seem as if Mr. Wood was addressing Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky. The actor urged the president to enter treatment for drug and alcohol abuse. "I hope you can get the help you need," Mr. Wood signed off.

According to Microsoft’s Threat Analysis Center, the video and others like it ricocheted through Russian social media and were ultimately featured by news organizations owned or controlled by the government.

Other celebrities used in the videos, all unknowingly, it seems, included Shavo Odadjian, the musician and producer, and the actors John McGinley, Dean Norris, Priscilla Presley and Kate Flannery. Mike Tyson, the former heavyweight champion boxer, appears in a video taken from his own promotional page on Cameo. It was repurposed without any recording of his voice, though a voice-over intones a similar plea to Mr. Zelensky. Ms. Flannery, known for her role in the television comedy series "The Office," teasingly holds up a bottle of whiskey before turning serious in her message. “Seriously, it will be wonderful,” she says. "Just do it."

The campaign was one of a flurry in recent weeks intended to build support for the war at home in Russia while stoking opposition to it abroad.

  

The Novocherkassk, before and after.

The Russian Navy's large landing ship Novocherkassk was completely destroyed following a Ukrainian strike on the port of Feodosia in Crimea late in the night of December 25, 2023, Britain's Ministry of Defense said on Thursday. The Russian Navy is pulling back due to its fear of more losses. About the same time the Ukrainian military says it has shot down three Russian SU-34 medium-range fighter-bomber jets. The Russians say they are making moderate gains in the ground war with Ukraine.

Apparently not in the Christmas spirit, Russian forces conducted the largest series of missile and drone strikes against Ukraine since the start of the full-scale invasion on the morning of 29 December 2023. Ukrainian military sources reported that Russian forces launched 36 Shahed-136/131 drones and over 120 missiles of various sizes at industrial and military facilities and critical infrastructure in various major cities in Ukraine. Russian strategic aircraft and bombers later launched at least 90 Kh-101, Kh-555, and Kh-55 cruise missiles and eight Kh-22 and Kh-32 missiles. Russian forces also launched five Kinzhal hypersonic air-launched ballistic missiles, four Kh-31P anti-radar missiles, and one Kh-59 cruise missile at unspecified targets in Ukraine. Russia has been experimenting with various mixes of rockets and drones in recent months trying to find a combination that Ukraine cannot defend against.

On 12 January 2024, after a period of relative quiet, perhaps due to the bitter cold Russian winter, Newsweek reported that an increasing number of Russian soldiers are purportedly surrendering or deserting their posts as the war in Ukraine stretches towards the two-year mark. A Ukrainian military spokesperson claimed that over 100 Russian troops have surrendered near the embattled town of Avdiivka over the past month due to a dip in morale and harsh cold weather conditions.

In Ukraine's southern Kherson region, Ukrainian troops were reportedly observed firing shells loaded with leaflets that urged their Russian counterparts to wave the white flag, prompting at least some Russian military commanders to order that the leaflets be thrown away.

Ukrainian Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi, the commander of Kyiv's ground forces, shared a video to Telegram on Friday that purports to show one of the Russian troops who surrendered to become a prisoner of war. The prisoner, identified as Sergeant Sergey Saranchin, concluded that he "had been abandoned without food, shelter and water" after being deployed to the battlefield and quickly surrendered, alongside the rest of his unit, "Nearly 40 invaders left their trenches and tried to flee toward Crimea, while remaining armed, I'm talking about an entire platoon of the Russian army. There were reports that they were being hunted down to bring them back."

An abandoned Russian tank in vegetation.
A Ukrainian military spokesperson said there has been a recent
Spike in the number of Russian soldiers surrounding to Kyiv's forces.
Photo by JUAN BARRETO/AFP via Getty Images

At the same time, President Zelensky spoke to the Russian soldiers on television. He sat comfortably in a green leather chair wearing his usual brown T-shirt, a Ukrainian flag to his left and spoke in a warm and friendly father-like manner almost like President Roosevelt's "Fireside Chats" during WWII. He said in the short 1 minute, 23 seconds' talk:

I want to tell the Russian soldiers, those who have already entered our lands, and who are just about to be sent to fight against us. Russian conscript, listen to me carefully. Russian officers, you already understand everything. You will not take anything from Ukraine. You will take lives, there are a lot of you, but your lives will also be taken. But why should you die? What for? I know you want to survive. We hear your comments on the intercepts, we hear what you really think about this disgrace and about your state. Your conversations with each other. Your calls home to your family. We hear it all. We draw conclusions. We know who you are. Therefore, I offer you a choice. On behalf of the Ukrainian people, I give you a chance, a chance to survive. If you surrender to our forces, we will treat you the way people are supposed to be treated…in a way that you were not treated in your army. And in a way your army does not treat ours.

The Caesar Kunikov amphibious ship photographed by attacking drone.

The war stalled well into February. The Russians continued to attack Ukraine with rockets and drones but not ground troops. Ukraine held on although its manpower was deleted and there were ammunition problems due to the western powers using it as a political punching bag. On 14 February, Ukraine claimed to have sunk the Russian Caesar Kunikov amphibious ship. A week earlier, they published a video that they said showed a Magura V5 naval drones assaulting the Russian missile-armed corvette Ivanovets.

The Magura V5 drone, which looks like a sleek black speedboat, was unveiled last year. It reportedly has a top
speed of 50 mph and  can carry a payload of 700 pounds. It can hit targets at a distance of up to 800-kilometres.

On 16 February 2024, as we approach the 2nd anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Washington Post wrote about how the Kremlin runs disinformation campaigns to undermine President Zelensky. Some of the comments are:

In January 2023 the Kremlin’s first deputy chief of staff, Sergei Kiriyenko, tasked a team of officials and political strategists with establishing a presence on Ukrainian social media to distribute disinformation. When news first emerged last month that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was preparing to fire his top military commander, Gen. Valery Zaluzhny, officials in Moscow seemed jubilant. They had been trying to orchestrate just such a split for many months. Kiriyenko laid out four key objectives for the Ukraine propaganda team: discrediting Kyiv’s military and political leadership, splitting the Ukrainian elite, demoralizing Ukrainian troops, and disorienting the Ukrainian population.

By early March, dozens of hired trolls were pumping out more than 1,300 texts and 37,000 comments on Ukrainian social media each week. Records show that employees at troll farms earned 60,000 rubles a month, or $660, for writing 100 comments a day. The strategists advised developing “a network of Telegram channels in combination with Twitter and Facebook/Instagram” as the most effective way of penetrating Ukraine’s media space, noting that the Telegram audience in Ukraine had grown 600 percent over the previous year. the strategists planted a plethora of articles in Ukraine via social media, with one in May headlined “Zelensky is holding on to the throne. In Ukraine democracy is being liquidated.”

After a fake Baerbock account declared in September that “the war in Ukraine will be over in 3 months,” the German authorities launched an investigation and found more than 50,000 fake user accounts. A Doppelganger operation was first exposed by Meta in September 2022 and then by French authorities last summer and tied to Reliable Recent News, a fake news site traced back to two Russian companies, the Social Design Agency, and Structura National Technologies. One of the strategists ordered a troll farm employee to prepare social media posts in French saying, “Washington will replace Zelensky with a more capable president. And France will have to silently continue arming and financing Ukraine.” The documents say the Russians were willing to pay up to $39,000 for the planting of pro-Russian commentary in major media outlets in the West. As winter descended on Kyiv, many deepfake videos portraying Zaluzhny calling Zelensky an enemy of the people and calling for a coup began to appear.

We all know that Russia has used every trick in the book to fill the ranks of its army, including prisoners in its jails and constant pressure on non-Russians living in that country. In January 2024, Putin issued a decree fast-tracking citizenship for foreign nationals who signed military contracts to fight in the “special military operation” in Ukraine. Nationals from Syria, Cuba, Nepal and India have all reportedly been deployed on the Russian side of the war.

On 28 February 2024 the Washington Post mentioned the number of foreigners who joined the Ukrainian Army since the beginning of the war:

Officials from the United States, Germany, Poland, Spain, the Czech Republic, and several other NATO countries all dismissed the suggestion that they were considering sending troops. But Macron chose “strategic ambiguity” and stressed the importance of not allowing Russia to win the war.

Though official numbers are a bit murky, some 20,000 foreigners from over 50 nationalities make up Ukraine’s international legion, according to Ukrainian officials. Last week, amid mounting concerns over troop shortages, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky issued a decree allowing foreign nationals legally residing in the country to enter the National Guard, the military branch of the Ukraine’s interior minister. He also proposed legislation in January 2024 making it easier for foreign nationals defending Ukraine to receive citizenship. The Associated Press delved into how numerous former soldiers in Colombia, which maintains one of the largest standing armies in Latin America, have entered the international legion. “They’re like the Latin American migrants who go to the U.S. in search of a better future,”

There was a report on 7 March that thousands of Nepalese citizens were duped by Russian job recruiters into fighting on the front lines in Ukraine. Dozens of Indian citizens and thousands of Nepalese nationals have been lured to Russia with bogus promises of well-paying jobs and even citizenship — only to be dragged into the army and sent to fight on the front lines in Ukraine with minimal training. They are recruited through the YouTube channel Baba Vlogs boasting 300,000 subscribers for a security job in Russia — but instead were roped into a month-long military training camp and then whisked off to the war zone, never to return. It is believed that 15,000 Nepali men are in the Kremlin’s army.

A Russian Soldier Surrenders to a Ukraine Drone

A 3-minute, 28-seconds film shot from Ukraine drones over several Russian soldiers in early March 2024 shows them trying to run and hide from the drones. In almost all cases, the Russian seem to pray for their lives as the drone lingers over them. In this case, the drone drops a leaflet telling the Russian where to go to surrender (the leaflet depicted at the right) and the Russian follows instructions.

Military Strategy Magazine published an article on 19 March 2024 titled "Innocents and War: Contemporary Reflections, Permanent Dilemmas," by Stephen J. Cimbala. He mentioned the Russia-Ukraine war:

Vladimir Putin, another in a long line of autocratic Russian rulers, has set a tone in domestic politics that presaged his approach to the conduct of war. Putin’s war against Ukraine beginning in February 2022 has been conducted with little or no discrimination between “military” and “civilian” targets. The unexpectedly strong resistance by Ukrainian regulars and partisans against Russian invaders has prompted the latter toward brutal artillery barrages and air strikes against hospitals, residences, and other social infrastructure. The terroristic intimidation of civilians is clearly an established part of the Russian playbook in Ukraine: much as Germany’s aerial “blitz” against London in World War II was intended to discourage British citizens and melt their support for Britain’s war effort. In Putin’s case, the mass murder of civilians has undermined international support for Russia and, in the longer run, perhaps delegitimized Putin’s regime in the eyes of many. On the other hand, for Putin this is a war about civilizations, not state borders, and civilization wars do not lend themselves easily to moderation in ends and means. His willingness to rebuild Russian power has included a medieval ruthlessness against his domestic political opponents. He would prefer, following Machiavelli, to be feared rather than loved.

Since the flow of U.S. ammunition to Ukraine has dwindled due to American political infighting, Ukraine has depended on drones to attack Russia. The Washington Post published an article by Daivd Ignatius titled "How Ukraine’s tech Army is taking the Fight to Russia," which mentioned some of the new advances in drone warfare. 

On the computer screen, you can see the thicket of Russian jammers and antiaircraft missiles that obstructs a simulated Ukrainian drone attack from “Launch Site Alpha,” near Kherson, to “Target Site Oscar” in Russian-occupied Crimea. The menacing images I watched here were sketched using signals captured by sensors from land, sea, air, and space. The Russian air-defense systems appeared as towering cylinders, miles wide and thousands of feet high. The electronic warfare jammers look like jagged fences of cross-hatched lines. The system also captured weather, wind speed and ground obstacles like tall buildings. Ukrainian drone operators can instantly map a safe route to the target using this system, which was developed for them by the U.S. software company Palantir. To demonstrate it for me, a Palantir engineer pressed a key: The simulated drone headed south, turned east in a wide semicircle to avoid one air-defense zone, carved a semicircle west around another, zigzagged a route through the jammers — and finally hit the target.

This software-driven attack system is part of an astonishing wave of innovation driven by the Ukraine conflict. The race for advantage keeps accelerating. Russia, after a slow start, is proving nearly as adept at innovation as Ukraine.

There have been no reports of leaflet disseminations for weeks and on 9 April 2024 the Washington Post wrote about the Russian use of fake mail to stop American money and weapons going to Ukraine: 

In an ongoing campaign that seeks to influence congressional and other political debates to stoke anti-Ukraine sentiment, Kremlin-linked political strategists and trolls have written thousands of fabricated news articles, social media posts and comments that promote American isolationism, stir fear over the United States’ border security and attempt to amplify U.S. economic and racial tensions, according to a trove of internal Kremlin documents obtained by a European intelligence service and reviewed by The Washington Post. 

Russia has been ramping up its propaganda operations as part of a second front that current and former senior Western officials said has become almost as important for Moscow as the military campaign in Ukraine — especially as congressional approval for further aid has become critical for Kyiv’s ability to continue defending itself. 

The campaign has attempted to paint Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as corrupt, emphasized the numbers of migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, called for border security to be funded over any aid to Ukraine, and described "white Americans" as the principal losers because of foreign aid, the documents show. 

The strategy promotes views from the far-right wing of the Republican Party and calls for some of the messaging to be voiced by American "public opinion leaders and politicians," one of the documents shows, but it does not name any people who could be enlisted to do that. 

On 30 April 2024, the Washington Post reported that after a month of stagnation on the PSYOP front and no weapons or ammunition from the USA, Russia had made some gains in Ukraine, taking two small villages. The article said in part: 

Zelensky recently claimed that Russia had suffered some half a million war casualties, including 180,000 soldiers killed in action. It’s impossible to verify this figure. The Kremlin and its state propaganda channels have worked fitfully to obscure the scale of the calamity. 

Leo Docherty, Britain’s minister of state for the Armed Forces, said at the end of the last week that his government estimates "that approximately 450,000 Russian military personnel have been killed or wounded, and tens of thousands more have already deserted since the start of the conflict." 

Docherty added that the Kremlin has lost "over 10,000 Russian armored vehicles, including nearly 3,000 main battle tanks, 109 fixed wing aircraft, 136 helicopters, 346 unmanned aerial vehicles, 23 naval vessels of all classes, and over 1,500 artillery systems of all types have been destroyed, abandoned, or captured by Ukraine since the start of the conflict." 

Nevertheless, Russia has seemed able to absorb these stunning losses, while turning the screw on Ukraine’s defenders in the east. 

On 4 May, Russia kept up its assault on Ukraine, perhaps trying to grab as much territory as possible before the American armaments reached Kiev. The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense estimated 1,260 Russian troops were killed on the battlefield that day – the sixth straight day Russia lost over 1,000 men to fighting, according to new estimates. The slaughter brings the total Russian deaths to nearly 500,000 troops since Vladimir Putin launched his full-scale invasion on Ukraine more than two years ago. With a depleted fighting force, Russia has started actively recruiting women for the war, The New York Times reported, even extending the efforts into prisons. The United States and the G-7 are reportedly mulling a $50 million aid package for Ukraine, utilizing the windfall profits from frozen, interest-accruing Russian assets. G-7 leaders will met next month in Italy. 

Magura V5 Combat Sea Drone

We often see the use of unmanned drones flying over Ukraine. On 6 May, Ukraine posted a short film of a sea drone taking out a camouflaged Russian ship. The Russian ship can be seen directly ahead of the drone through a night scope and at the lower right you can see the bow of the drone heading for the ship. Anton Gerashchenko added (edited): 

A Russian boat was destroyed in Crimea during a Defense Intelligence mission with a Magura V5 combat sea drone. The successful mission in Vuzka Bay in temporarily occupied Crimea was made possible with the assistance of the United24 platform. As the fear of Ukrainian attacks forces the Russians to hide the large ships of the Black Sea fleet away from Crimea, combat work continues against the high-speed maneuverable warships of the Russians, which are illegally in the Ukrainian territorial waters of Crimea.

Sea-Drone equipped with Missile

Forbes added on the subject of the Ukraine sea drones:

Russian fighter-bombers, flying boats and helicopters patrolled the approaches to the Black Sea Fleet’s anchorages, looking for the telltale wakes of approaching drone boats—and opening fire with rockets and guns. Videos from the Black Sea, apparently on Sunday or Monday, depict a Kamov Ka-29 helicopter circling a Ukrainian unmanned surface vehicle—either a 19-foot Sea Baby or a slightly smaller Magura—before peppering it with gunfire. But that USV was notable for its top-mounted twin missile rails—and the 10-foot R-73 infrared-guided dogfighting missile fitted to one rail. It seems some Ukrainian USVs are traveling with their own air-defense missiles. There’s an outside chance the air-defense USVs have already scored their first aerial kill. At least one, and possibly two, Russian helicopters got into trouble over the Black Sea on April 9 and 10. Ukrainian navy spokesman Dmytro Pletenchuk claimed a Kamov Ka-27 crashed on April 9. Multiple sources confirmed a second helicopter, a Mil Mi-24, crashed on April 10.

The New York Times said on 8 May that the Russian army is gradually expanding the role of women as it tries to balance President Vladimir Putin’s promotion of traditional family roles with the need for new recruits for the war in Ukraine. The military stepped up appeals to women including efforts to recruit female inmates in prison, replicating on a smaller scale a strategy that it swelled its ranks with mail convicts. Recruiters in military uniforms searched Russian jails for women in the fall of 2023, offering inmates a Pardon and $2000 a month, 10 times the national minimum wage in return for serving in Frontline roles for a year.

On the same day the New York Times also reported that two Ukrainian Colonels accused of participating in a plot to murder President Zelenskyy were arrested on suspicion of treason. The plot was planned by Russia’s Federal Security Service or FSP, the main successor to the KGB.

In what might be called the Russian spring offensive, on 13 May 2024 it was reported that Russian troops backed up by fighter jets, artillery, and lethal drones have poured across the northeastern border and seized at least nine Ukrainian villages and settlements and more square miles per day, then at almost any other point in the war since the very beginning of their invasion. In some places, Ukrainian troops are retreating, and Ukrainian commanders are now blaming each other for the defeats. Thousands of Ukrainian civilians are fleeing to the nearest big city Kharkiv about 25 miles from the Russian border.

Warning!

By 19 May, the Russian advance against Kharkiv continued as Ukraine awaited the arrival of the massive weapon and ammunition resupply from the United States. No leaflets were reported from either side. Bill Mauldin the American WWII cartoonist once drew a cartoon where the artillery people were firing high explosives rather than leaflets and one said, Tell them leaflet people the krauts ain’t got time fer readin’ today. Maybe that is what is happening now. A Ukraine VD leaflet was reported. These were very common in WWII. The Army owns the soldier’s body so when he gets VD and cannot do his job the commander will usually punish him, sometimes with a demotion and loss of a stripe or two. This leaflet warns the troops of the danger:

Attention!

Due to the increase in cases of infection was sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, among military personnel, we remind you of the strict need to use contraceptives during any sexual contact, especially same-sex contact.

Remember that the spread of sexually transmitted diseases significantly reduces the Defense capability of our country and makes it difficult to rotate your comrades.

Armed Forces of Ukraine!

In the past some nations have used such leaflets as deception. The Japanese produced a black leaflet that appeared to be American that said the Philippine women were dirty and infected. Notice that this leaflet mentions homosexuality. This could be a simple Ukraine leaflet to warn its soldiers to be careful or could be something more devious from the Russians.

On 18 May 2024 a new mobilization law came into force in Ukraine. Russia is much larger than Ukraine, and as a result Kyiv has been forced to boost the numbers of their troops. One part of the new law allows Ukraine to draft men 25 years old. The previous number was 27 years old. Curiously, in the United States the old wartime draft included men from 21 to 35. Ukraine has still not tapped the market fully. Ukraine also followed something that the Russians have been doing for quite a while and that is allowing prisoners to join the army and earn their freedom. In addition, the fines for those dodging the draft has been raised fivefold. One thing not in the new law is demobilization. Men that have fought since the Russian invasion still have no idea when they will return to civilian life.

Two interesting stories came out on 24 May 2024. The first was that Putin seems to have indicated that he would end the war today if Ukraine allowed the Russians to keep that part of Ukraine they had conquered. It is doubtful that Ukraine would accept that continued occupation of its territory. At the same time the Washington Post seemed to say that a reason Ukraine was losing the war and close to losing Kharkiv was that the Russians had learned how to jam US weapons. One comment was:

Russia’s jamming of the guidance systems of modern Western weapons, including Excalibur GPS-guided artillery shells and the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS, which can fire some U.S.-made rockets with a range of up to 50 miles, has eroded Ukraine’s ability to defend its territory and has left officials in Kyiv urgently seeking help from the Pentagon to obtain upgrades from arms manufacturers.

The Post mentioned the following weapons as being affected by Russian jamming: The JDAM-ER missile, M30/M31 rockets, and Excalibur 155mm shells.

The reports depict a staggering drop, with successful strikes plummeting from over 55 percent to a measly 6 percent during certain periods. This translates to a nightmarish scenario where a single successful hit with an Excalibur now costs nearly $2 million, raising serious questions about its cost-effectiveness under jamming conditions. It was also reported that Russia was jamming Elon Musk’s Star Link satellite system when they attacked. This had hampered the Ukrainians a great deal. The US is allegedly looking to upgrade the protection of all these systems.

On 30 May 2024, President Biden gave Ukraine the green light to use US-provided weapons to hit some targets in Russian territory.

The President recently directed his team to ensure that Ukraine can use US-supplied weapons for counter-fire purposes in the Kharkiv region so Ukraine can hit back against Russian forces that are attacking them or preparing to attack them.

The official noted, however, that Ukraine will not be allowed to use long-range US weapons to hit military targets deep inside Russian territory.

By the middle of June 2024 there were no new leaflet operations to report on. All the news was from Russia with Putin visiting North Korea to get more artillery shells and rockets. At the same time, it was reported that Chechens who had once fought against Russia for their independence were now enlisting to fight against Ukraine. The troops, some with 10 days of training, some pardoned prisoners, others former members of the Wagner Group, who joined the Akhmat mercenary groups receive $2000 a month, about twice what the average Russian earns. They are also better equipped that the Russian troops they join.

On 20 June, Ukrainian long-range attack drones struck four Russian oil refineries as well as radar stations and other military targets in Russia in a major attack.

In late June Ukraine reported that the “I Want to Live” project, launched in September 2022, had brought in over 300 Russian deserters. Its goal is to help willing Russian servicemen safely surrender to Ukrainian captivity and save their lives. In the case of surrender, the project guarantees detention in accordance with the Geneva Conventions. In addition, such Russians are also guaranteed that they will not be exchanged or returned to the Russian Federation if they wish. If a Russian registers with “I Want to Live” in advance, the Ukrainian side registers him as having been captured in combat, meaning that he receives payments and status in Russia.

On 1 July there are still no reports of new leaflets, but the war is still changing with new tactics. We have seen the use of drones both in the air and in the sea. Today for the first time there were reports that the open space between the lines is so dangerous the Russians are using a new form of attack. The race across the open spaces to attack using motorcycles, dirt bikes, quadricycles, and dune buggies. The Russians want to cross the open spaces quickly where larger slower-moving tanks and armored personnel carriers are easy targets. The Russians seem to have fixed their training problems and have been on the attack with slow, but regular gains since May 2024. At the same time, the Russians have been adding sheet metal to their tanks to guard against drone attacked. It creates a boxy structure the size of a small house. They are called “Turtle tanks.” The Russians are also using glide bombs (more than 800 in one week alone). The bombs weigh about a ton and can be dropped from aircraft out of range of anti-aircraft guns. Zelenskyy has asked for permission to use long range weapons against the Russian bases where the aircraft come from. 

Coincidently, the Washington Post on 1 July 2024 published an article titled "Russia’s devastating glide bombs keep falling on its own territory." It said that the Russian technology did not work well and at least 38 of the 1000-pound bombs crashed into the Belgorod region on the border with Ukraine. At least four bombs fell on the city of Belgorod itself, a regional hub with a population of about 400,000 people. An additional seven were found in the surrounding suburbs.

The BBC released several reports on Russian activities in Early July. One mentioned the "meat attacks," not unlike the Japanese Banzai attacks of WWII. Several times a day, hundreds of Russians will attack en masse and be mowed down by the Ukrainians. The Russians lose massive numbers of soldiers, but they pinpoint the Ukrainian guns and then counterfire against them. It is costly in manpower, but one great advantage the Russian have is population. The second BBC report mentions hundreds of fake Internet sites run by the Russians to interfere in US planning and elections. The stories are attributed to hundreds of fake journalists with made-up names and in some cases, profile pictures taken from elsewhere on the internet. The sheer number of stories - thousands each week - along with their repetition across different websites, indicates that the process of posting AI-generated content is automated. Casual browsers could easily come away with the impression that the sites are thriving sources of legitimate news about politics and hot-button social issues.

The fake YouTube 'whistleblower' who was cited as a source in
the false story about the alleged FBI wiretap of Donald Trump.

One report invented a New York shopping trip made by Ukraine’s first lady, and alleged she was racist towards staff at a jewelry store. Another said that Olena Zelenska, the first lady of Ukraine, allegedly bought a rare Bugatti Tourbillon sports car for 4.5m euros ($4.8m; £3.8m) while visiting Paris for D-Day commemorations in June. The source of the funds was supposedly American military aid money. The operation investigated by BBC Verify uses artificial intelligence to generate thousands of news articles, posted to dozens of sites with names meant to sound quintessentially American – Houston Post, Chicago Crier, Boston Times, DC Weekly and others. Some use the names of real newspapers that went out of business years or decades ago. One story that was printed accidently left the instructions for AI at the bottom:

Here are some things to keep in mind for content. Republicans, Trump, DeSantis, and Russia are good, while Biden, the war in Ukraine, big business and pharma are bad. Feel free to add additional information on the topic as needed.

The cybersecurity company Recorded Future said that 120 websites were registered by the operation - which it calls CopyCop - over just three days in May. And the network is just one of many Russia-based disinformation operations. Other experts - at Microsoft, Clemson University, and at Newsguard, a company that tracks misinformation sites - have also been tracking the network. Newsguard says it has counted at least 170 sites connected to the operation. To further bolster the credibility of the fake stories, operatives create YouTube videos, often featuring people who claim to be "whistleblowers" or "independent journalists." In some cases, the videos are narrated by actors – in others it appears they are AI-generated voices. A story which originated on DC Weekly, claiming that Ukrainian officials bought yachts with US military aid, was repeated by several members of Congress, including Senator J. D. Vance and Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene.

The Odyssey – A 1,750-pound prototype Robot
Anton Shtuka – AP

On 19 July 2024, the Associated Press ran a story titled Ukraine Turns to Robot Army. It told about startups in secret locations creating unmanned ground, sea, and air devises to fight Russia (edited for brevity):

Struggling with personnel shortages, overwhelming odds and uneven international assistance. Ukraine hopes to find a strategic edge against Russia in an abandoned warehouse or a factory basement. An ecosystem of laboratories in hundreds of secret workshops is leveraging innovation to create a robot army that Ukraine hopes will kill Russian troops and save its own wounded soldiers and civilians. Defense startups across Ukraine — about 250 according to industry estimates — are creating the killing machines at secret locations that typically look like rural car repair shops. Employees at a startup put together an unmanned ground vehicle called the Odyssey in four days at a shed used by the company. Its most important feature is the price tag: $35,000, or roughly 10% of the cost of an imported model.

The military is assessing dozens of new unmanned air, ground and marine vehicles produced by the no-frills startup sector, whose production methods are far removed from giant Western defense companies. A fourth branch of Ukraine’s military — the Unmanned Systems Forces - joined the army, navy and air force in May. The 1.750-pound prototype that looks like a small, turret less tank with its wheels on tracks can travel up to 18.5 miles on one charge of a battery the size of a small beverage cooler. The prototype acts as a rescue-and-supply platform but can be modified to carry a remotely operated heavy machine gun or sling mine-clearing charges. Mykhailo Fedorov, deputy prime minister for digital transformation, is encouraging citizens to take free online courses and assemble aerial drones at home. He wants Ukrainians to make 1 million of the flying machines a year.

The Leaflets

For the will of nations and man!

Ukraine has fought Russia in the past. Like Ireland and India and other countries that were occupied, there was always an independence movement. We will depict one leaflet here that was printed while Ukraine was fighting for independence early in WWII. Many others exist. Here is the story of this particular leaflet:

The Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) was a Ukrainian nationalist paramilitary and partisan formation established by the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) on October 14, 1942. During World War II, the UPA engaged in guerrilla warfare against several entities:

1. Soviet Union: The UPA resisted Soviet forces.
2. Nazi Germany: They fought against the German occupation.
3. Polish Underground State and Communist Poland: The UPA clashed with the Polish resistance.

The OUN’s goal was to drive out occupying powers and establish an independent Ukrainian government. They accepted violence as a political tool against their enemies. To achieve this, various partisan units merged into the UPA, which operated primarily in Western Ukraine.

From February 1943, the UPA fought against the Germans in Volhynia and Polesia. Simultaneously, they engaged in a brutal conflict with the Polish resistance, resulting in the ethnic cleansing of the Polish population in Volhynia and eastern Galicia, causing between 50,000 and 100,000 deaths.

In late spring 1944, facing Soviet advances, the UPA and OUN-B cooperated with German forces in the hope of creating an independent Ukrainian state. After the Germans were pushed out, the UPA continued armed resistance against the Soviets until 1949. In communist Poland, they also tried to prevent the forced deportation of Ukrainians from western Galicia to the Soviet Union until 1947

The UPA was organized into different regions, including UPA West, UPA South, UPA North, and others, each active in specific areas of Ukraine. Eighty years later, opinions about the UPA vary: some consider them national heroes, others view them as traitors to the Soviet Union or even Nazi collaborators.

Here is an early Leaflet prepared by the UPA. It depicts two Russians, notice the one in the back has the snout of a pig. They seem to be destroying a printing press, perhaps used by the underground army to print leaflets. The text on the front is:

For

Ukrainian independent congregational state! for the will of nations and man!

WORKERS!

Stalinist officials force you to follow the rules. You are often hungry, ragged, exhausted…

The text on the back is:

Women must work to get a piece of black bread for a living for yourself and your family. The Stalinist authorities do not care about you, but about their imperialistic plans. Fight against the Stalinist-Bolshevik imperialists and exploiters for the Ukrainian Independent State and for state independence and social liberation of all peoples enslaved by Moscow.

In the Ukrainian State, you will be co-owners of factories, you will have an eight-hour workday, high wages, comprehensive support, and complete national and personal freedom.

LONG LIVE FREELANCE IN THE STATE OF UKRAINE! THE
UKRAINIAN REVOLUTIONARIES

From the SUN printing house named after M. Arsenicha - Mykhailo.

I Wrote the following paragraph at the start of the Russian invasion when we thought it would be over in a few days. Two years later, it is no longer true. We have seen many leaflets dropped by both sides. I leave the following paragraph because it shows how wrong all of us were. 

"I am sure that there are 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 few of the leaflets that were 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 Service says 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 Poster

The Poster 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 poster 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."

 

How to Surrender Correctly Leaflet

This message was also produced as a leaflet, mush smaller and without color. Some of the text is similar but changes have been made. There are five stick characters on the front and the text:

WHO CAN YOU SURRENDER TO?
To the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
To the Territorial Defense Forces of Ukraine.
To the National Police of Ukraine.
To the Security Service of Ukraine.

HOW DO YOU SURRENDER CORRECTLY?
1. Throw aside the weapon.
2. Stand up straight.
3. Raise your hands or a white flag.
4. Shout loudly, "I GIVE UP!" and the code word "MILLION!"

A GROUP OF MILITARY PERSONNEL OR UNIT.
1. Place all weapons in front of you at a sufficient distance.
2. Stand in front of military equipment. All equipment must be silenced and not in a combat position.
3. To notify the Ukrainian side of the laying down of arms, a negotiator from the officer corps may be sent without weapons and with raised hands or a white flag.

Having surrendered, you must follow all instructions of the Ukrainian military!

The back of the leaflet shows just two of the little stick characters and the text:

GUARANTEES FOR PRISONERS OF WAR

Amnesty for those who voluntarily laid down their arms and surrendered to the military Forces.
Cash compensation in the amount of 5 million rubles.
A telephone call to family and friends to notify them about his condition.
Ukraine is not an aggressor and complies with the terms of the 1949 Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War.

BEGINNING OF CAPTIVITY

During interrogation, each prisoner of war is required to provide his full name, rank, date of birth and identification number or, in the absence of one, other equivalent information.

END OF CAPTIVITY

Prisoners of war are released and returned to their country after the cessation of hostilities.
No returned prisoner of war may be used on active military service.
Valuable items and sums of money temporarily confiscated from prisoners of war will be returned to them.
Perfidy, feigning an intention to negotiate under a flag of truce, feigning surrender, or failure due to injury or illness is PROHIBITED by Art. 37, Additional Protocol No. 1, of the 1949 Geneva Convention. Such actions are punishable!

  

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.

We will find all the scum…

Kherson seems to be the heart of Ukraine resistance. Another poster found there in June. The text is:

We will find all the scum who have tortured our people in basements, fired rockets, or directed artillery strikes!
You will never be safe on our land. Death to the occupiers!

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

Kharkiv residents congratulated the residents of the temporarily occupied territories of the Kharkiv region on the Day of the Family. In the leaflets, they reminded the people that every piece of Kharkiv land is Ukraine.

Celebrating the arrival of the American Himars system (an American artillery rocket system), that Ukraine says has already destroyed more than 30 Russian logistic military facilities, these posters started appearing about 17 July. The text is:

When Russians go to sleep, HIMARS wakes up

The Himars system seems to be very popular in Ukraine posters. Kherson has a reputation as a major watermelon-producing region. In the above poster a U.S.-supplied HIMARS rocket launcher is painted green to resemble a watermelon. The message seen on 28 July is:

This HIMARS is ripe for another strike!

Another Kherson poster is reported to have the message:

Does anyone still harbor doubts as to whether there are any Ukrainian partisans?

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.

The Genuine Russian 1000 Ruble note of 1997

Ukraine 1000-Ruble Propaganda Banknotes

We have depicted Russian propaganda banknotes several times in this article. In July 2023, Ukraine propaganda banknotes turned up. The leaflets are in the form of Russian 1000 rubles notes but have an added propaganda text. The Bank of Russia issued these 1000 Russian Ruble banknotes in 1997. They are currently still in circulation. The banknote of one thousand Russian Rubles features the landmarks of the city of Yaroslavl. On the front side is the monument of Yaroslav I the Wise and the tower of the Russian Orthodox Church of Our Lady of Kazan. The Ukraine propaganda banknote has the additional text on the front:

SOLDIER, GIVE UP!

This is not your war. You will receive money and international immunity.

+38 099 669 79 79
(Whatsapp, Signal,
Telegram, Viber)
24savelife@gmail.com

The additional text on the back is the same, just in a little different order:

This is not your war. You will receive money and international immunity.

SOLDIER, GIVE UP

+38 099 669 79 79
(Whatsapp, Signal,
Telegram, Viber)
24savelife@gmail.com

 

The Fake Russian 2000-Ruble Note.

The front of the 2000-ruble note features the Russky bridge (a cable bridge in Vladivostok that connects Russky island with the mainland territory). The back of the note features the Vostochny Cosmodrome. The propaganda message is the same as the 1000 ruble note.

The Fake Russian 5000-Ruble Note. 

The front of the 5000-ruble banknote depicts the monument to N.N. Muravjov-Amursky and the embankment in Khabarovsk. On the back of the banknote there is the bridge over the Amur River in Khabarovsk. The propaganda message is the same as the 1000 ruble note.

Another Ukraine Propaganda Banknote

On 26 July 2023 we heard from the British Dail Mail that hundreds of 50 Ruble notes are appearing across the Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine - from Melitopol, Berdyansk and Tomak in southern Ukraine all the way to Sevastopol and Yalta in Crimea. They are part of a campaign designed to undermine the Russian occupation by a Ukrainian, all-female, and non-violent resistance group that emerged in the Russian-controlled city of Melitopol late last year. Here is the story (edited for brevity):

The women have doctored the traditional 50 Ruble note to turn what was once a tool of Russian oppression into a symbol of Ukrainian defiance, carrying a powerful message to any of the occupiers who may think they are lucky to stumble across the 'free money'.

The group is called Mavka, after the female forest spirit from Ukrainian and Russian folklore and mythology. Mavka is a long-haired woman, typically seen as a temptress figure who lures men into the woods and to their deaths. Mavka is using its activists on the ground to spread the banknotes at great personal risk. If caught they could be arrested, imprisoned or worse.

As soon as they occupy a territory, the Russians force the locals to start using Russian currency instead of the Ukrainian hryvnia. As far as Moscow is concerned, this is key to integrating the territories into the Russian Federation.

At the center of the note – in its traditional form – stands a female figure: the Monument of Neva, that sits in St Petersburg, seen holding a scepter. But the activists have turned the scepter into perhaps the ultimate symbol of the Ukrainian nation: the Trident. The figure has also been given a floral headdress, in the Ukrainian style, and carries the familiar facial features of the Mavka character.

The Russians are outraged. The Crimean News told its audiences that the banknotes featured 'Evil Mavka and in Ukrainian mythology, Mavka is an evil zombie, very similar to the undead girl crawling out of the TV in the movie 'The Ring.'

More Mavka Money

Mavka resistance fighters prepare laxatives to add to beer destined for Russian military

A second story in Apple News added:

Since it launched late last in 2022, Mavka has launched several campaigns. One, entitled MAVKA'S KITCHEN, was launched with a video of one of the activists pouring a laxative powder into a beer bottle. While the group kept the exact details of what they did with the bottles a secret, they made it clear that they had the means of delivering the bottles straight to the Russian military.

Mavka has a simple message: across the Russian-occupied territories Ukrainian women are angry. They are angry at Russian occupation; they are angry at Russian sexism; and they are harnessing this anger to undermine and disrupt Russian oppressors.

  

Russian Soldiers Surrender…

In October 2023 another leaflet from Ukraine showed up. This one has an odd image of two soldiers that don’t seem very realistic. The text is very earthy and realistic though. The message on the front is:

Russian soldiers surrender!
It's better to be a living asshole
than a dead bastard!

The back is a short all-text message:

Come out with a white flag, get amnesty and 5,000,000 rubles for your weapons.

A Wallet Calendar.

Calendars have always been a good PSYOP product. We first saw them in Vietnam where they were used by both sides. A calendar is looked at for an entire year. Every time the person checks the date, he also sees a propaganda message. This Ukraine calendar was for 2004. One side shows the dates, the other, a soldier and a dragon. The text is:

2024

VICTORY YEAR OF THE DRAGON

The Kalush Group?

This strange leaflet seems to show a flower child behind a soldier. the text is:

What do the Kalush Group and the Ukrainian Armed Forces have in common?

They are winning.

[Author’s Note]: Kalush is a Ukrainian rap group formed in 2019. The group consists of founder and rapper Oleh Psiuk, multi-instrumentalist Ihor Didenchuk, and breakdancer MC KylymMen. In early 2021, the group launched the side project Kalush Orchestra. Unlike the original line-up, Kalush Orchestra focuses on hip hop blended with folk motifs and elements from Ukrainian traditional music.

RUSSIAN PILOT!

This leaflet depicts Russian aircraft and a pile of banknotes that will be paid for them if flown to the Ukraine. The text is:

RUSSIAN PILOT!

The only way to save your life and honor is to surrender to the Ukrainian military.

     PUTIN OFFERS                                                    UKRAINE OFFERS

Military insanity A clear conscience
Bloody hands from killing civilians complete safety.
Tribunals.   $1,000,000 for a Russian airplane.
Death in another land.     $500,000 for a Russian helicopter

SURRENDER TO THE UKRAINIAN MILITARY

1. Get in contact with the Ukrainian command.
2. Land the plane/helicopter on Ukrainian territory.
3. Surrender without weapons with a white flag in your hand.

Everything is official. call. be sure.
+38 099 61 28 109
Ukroboronprom

Do not cooperate with the enemy.

On 1 March 2024, the Ukrainian Resistance website said that in the temporarily occupied territories, the Defense Forces have distributed propaganda materials warning collaborators of criminal liability for their activities. For this purpose, special Unmanned Aerial Vehicles were used to drop leaflets in the city of Svatove in Luhansk region and in the temporarily occupied settlements of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. The leaflets warned of criminal liability for collaboration. In addition, representatives of the Defense Forces call on Ukrainians under occupation to ignore the elections at all costs. Despite the tightening of the screws and the prison regime in the occupied territories, the Russians are unable to control Ukrainians. The Center for National Resistance notes that Russia cannot ensure its henchmen’s safety. The name of every traitor is known so that no one can avoid responsibility. The leaflet text is:

What should be remembered about pseudo-elections in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine?

1.  Ukraine and the ENTIRE WORLD will never recognize Putin's pseudo-elections.

2.  Do not participate in elections without a choice. Don't help the terrorists who holds you hostage!

3.  Do not participate in the organization and conduct of illegal elections. Ukraine clearly distinguishes between collaborators and those who became hostages. Punishment for collaborationism is imprisonment from 5 to 10 years with confiscation of property.

4.  Forced acquisition of a Russian passport is not a ground for criminal liability and without your permission is not a reason to lose Ukrainian citizenship.

Ukraine sees and hears everything!

Do not cooperate with the enemy and do not participate in Putin's pseudo-elections.

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.

On 31 July, the warriors of Ukraine's 10th Mountain Assault Brigade load leaflets into artillery shells urging the Russian troops to surrender. The caption says, “The leaflets will not harm the enemy physically but will work on the ‘Orcs’ (a member of an imaginary race of humanlike creatures, characterized as ugly, warlike, and malevolent) mentally. The Russians are told that they are guaranteed humane treatment, the ability to call their relatives, etc.”

Survival in Bakhmut

In January 2023 Russian began a winter offensive against the Ukraine forces. The mercenary Wagner Group led the attacks since Putin did not want to have a major loss of life among his Russian troops. The fighting was severe around the city of Bakhmut. It was said that young unexperienced soldiers would survive about six hours in this battle. Apparently, these leaflets were handed out to new Ukraine troops arriving near Bakhmut.

HOW TO SURVIVE "ON ZERO"
in the city of Bakhmut
WAR LEAFLET OF THE ARMY

1. Move as fast as you can!
2. Listen carefully to your commander!
3. You must know the territory
4. "No" to emotions
5. Stay unpredictable in battle
6. Alcohol and mobile communication are a complete taboo.
7. God protects you - and you protect the Motherland!

A second leaflet is described as a “Special Forces” leaflet for Bakhmut. It explains the rules for taking an enemy prisoner.

HOW TO TAKE THE OCCUPIER PRISONER

If the enemy wants to surrender and has thrown down his weapon, it is forbidden to kill him.
Loudly give the command to lie on the ground and stretch out his arms.
Approach the prisoner only with the cover of a comrade. Perform a military inspection, if there is no weapon - provide first aid.
Securely fix the prisoner's hands, hand him over to the commander.
It is forbidden to torture a prisoner.

The battle of Bakhmut has been described as one of the bloodiest battles of the 21st century, with the battlefield being described as a "meat grinder" and a "vortex" for both the Ukrainian and Russian militaries. Following a local offensive in early January 2023, Russian forces captured the nearby town of Soledar, located 12 miles north of Bakhmut. The plan seemed to be to cut Ukraine's supply lines to Bakhmut. By 20 January 2023, both the Russian defense ministry and Wagner forces claimed to have captured Klishchiivka, a village located 5.6 miles southwest of Bakhmut. On 1 February, The New York Times reported that Russians had increased the intensification of the attacks on the city and its surrounding areas.

Heroes Glory

We have no idea when this leaflet was dropped but several came with a piece of note paper stamped 10 April 2023. This one depicts a handsome Ukraine fighter and the simple text:

Heroes Glory

The back shows a group of Russian destroyed vehicles. There are three letters which I suspect have some meaning, but my translator said that they just represent the "Z", "O", and "V" groupings of the Russian forces. The Russians intentionally used English letters so their forces could be readily identified. There is no Russian word for them at all. They are just characters like the symbols that the U.S Army uses to identify armored units. Curiously there are two words in English that say, "Must die!"

Belgorod without Putin

The caption by the finder of this leaflet is:

In Russian Belgorod, anti-Putin leaflets are already being posted and people are calling for evacuation on the radio.

The text on this leaflet is:

BELGOROD WITHOUT PUTIN
BELGOROD WITHOUT ARRANBITION
BELGOROD WITHOUT WAR
#FREEBELCITY

On 22 May 2023, armed groups from Ukraine carried out a cross-border raid into Belgorod Oblast, Russia. Two Russian rebel groups allied with and based in Ukraine—the Freedom of Russia Legion (FRL) and the Russian Volunteer Corps (RVC)—claimed to have taken control of several border settlements and clashed with Russian government forces. Russian authorities said the attacks were conducted by a Ukrainian "sabotage group," and imposed counter-terrorism measures in the region. It is the largest cross-border attack during the war since the initial beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022. Perhaps these leaflets were left there at this time.

Some Undated Leaflets Sent from a Ukrainian Contact

A word about these leaflets. Many of them are quite early and we see several "partisan" signs and images since at the start Ukraine was trying to raise the moral of the people in towns and cities that had been invaded and occupied by the Russians. I also notice that they never did any studies of the best sizes for leaflets. The Americans had done many studies and knew that the 6 x 3-inch leaflet was the best leaflet, most accurate and with the best spread. Of course, the Americans might be dropping them from 20,000 feet while Ukraine was disseminating them by artillery shell, rocket, and drones. Perhaps the Ukraine did not need the best and most accurate leaflet size because they were up close to the Russians, sometimes hovering 100 feet above them in a drone. These Ukrainian leaflets are all a bit larger, about the size of the leaflet the U.S. used in Korea before the research was done. The most common Ukraine leaflets are about 6 x 8-inches.

The first leaflet uses the Russian Z symbol to catch the readers attention. The text is:

RUSSIAN OCCUPANT AND EVERYONE WHO SUPPORTS THEIR REGIME! WE ARE CLOSE - WE ARE ALREADY WORKING IN KHERSON. DEATH AWAITS YOU ALL!!!

KHERSON IS UKRAINE!!!

The second leaflet is all text with a maroon background. The text is:

RUSSIAN SOLDIER! WE KNOW THE PATROL ROUTES! GET READY TO DIE!

YOU WILL BE BEGGING FOR MERCY! WE'LL CUT YOUR THROAT. WE’LL BURY THE CORPSE!

The third leaflet is all text with a brown background. The text is:

Nobody Wants this War.

1. We can help you get out safely.

2. Wait until your leader is busy.

3. Leave calmly. Don't run.

Call 1648 or (044) 287 81 65

or

Approach the Ukrainian checkpoint with this LEAFLET with your hands raised.

The Ukraine guarantees your safety and will treat you with respect!

We will give you food and a way to contact your loved ones.

The fourth leaflet has a nice strong image of an Eagle and a lion and of course the Ukraine colors of blue and gold. The text is short:

Belgorod without Putin

Belgorod without arbitrariness

Belgorod without war

#Freebelgorod

[NOTE] There were several attacks and incidents reported in Belgorod following the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, during which Belgorod was an important logistics center for Russian armies. Notably, on 1 April 2022 two Ukrainian Mi-24 Hind helicopters performed a night raid and set fire to a fuel depot in Belgorod, in a low-altitude airstrike. On 30 December, a Ukrainian airstrike that Ukraine claimed was "strictly targeting military infrastructure" killed 25 people and wounded over 100.

Leaflet five is a simple image. Someone has painted a patriotic message on a wall somewhere in occupied Ukraine. The text is:

There are more of us!

Energodar is Ukraine!

ENERGODAR is UKRAINE!

[NOTE] The battle of Enerhodar was a military engagement between the Russian Armed Forces and the Armed Forces of Ukraine during the southern Ukraine offensive of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine over the city of Enerhodar in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, on 4 March 2022. Enerhodar is the location of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, which generates nearly half of the country's electricity derived from nuclear power and more than a fifth of total electricity generated in Ukraine, as well as the nearby thermal power station. After attacking protesting civilians on March 3, Russian forces engaged Ukrainian forces at the nuclear power plant and took control of it, seizing Enerhodar the same day. The area remains under Russian occupation.

  

The sixth leaflet is all about the Russian passport. Early in the war the Russians tried to get the occupied Ukrainians to apply for Russian passports, offering various perks if they did so. Ukraine considered that passport treason and bitterly fought against their citizens applying for one. The back of the leaflet has no text, just a leaflet covered by a diagonal line, the recognized symbol of "NO." The text on the front is:

RUSSIAN FEDERATION PASSPORT

According to the Law of Ukraine, obtaining a Russian passport is comparable to treason and will be punished according to the norms of the Criminal Code.

The seventh leaflet is more sentimental and depicts a soldier off to war enjoying a last kiss goodbye. The text is:

RUSSIAN MILITARY!

LIFE is the most valuable thing you have.

For you, war in Ukraine is DEATH.

YOUR PARENTS, WIFE AND CHILDREN ARE WAITING FOR YOU AT HOME!

COME BACK TO THEM ALIVE!

+38 098 342 79 31

By this number of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, you can surrender and save your life.

 

The Eighth leaflet depicts a burning Molotov cocktail, used by the Finns in the fight against the Russians in 1939 and named after Vyacheslav Mikhaylovich Molotov, the Russian foreign minister. The text is:

OW DOES THE FURNACE BURN? BRIGHT!

Set fire to an Orc, take a photograph, and get bitcoins for it.

"Work is on fire" and the Orcs don't know how it is! But we will know.
And let's not show them any mercy.

Forward:

1. You calculate the location of the patrol or checkpoint of Orcs.
2. Don't come without "drink" - Molotov cocktail: 2/3 of gasoline, 1/3 of lubricant, 50 cm of cotton.
3. Throw the bottle.
4. Take a quick photograph.
5. Run away.
6. Upload your photograph to the website.
7. Check the cryptocurrency-wallet, the bitcoins are already there.

There are many other ways to use fire! A Molotov cocktail is not a prerequisite. Just as long as the orcs burn spectacularly.

firemoncy.com.ua

[Note]: I had to laugh when I saw the word “Orcs,” I knew immediately what the Ukrainians were implying but just in case the readers do not: Ukrainian victims of Russia’s war have taken to calling their invaders ‘Orcs.’ The word is familiar to J.R.R. Tolkien readers as the name given to the monstrous anthropoids in his epic novel The Lord of the Rings. In all Tolkien’s stories of the wars in Middle Earth, Orcs are violent, destructive, and untrustworthy, wreaking wanton havoc wherever they go. It is not hard to see why the people of Ukraine use this name for the invaders of their land.

I am not sure photography is such a good idea. I imagine the other Orcs are shooting at everything that moves. I might toss the cocktail and run like hell!

The ninth leaflet is very busy with a lot of text and images. The text is:

COME BACK ALIVE!
HOW TO PROPERLY SURRENDER?
Instructions for all occupiers from the Russian Federation and Belarus.

WHO CAN YOU SURRENDER TO?
The Armed Forces of Ukraine.
The Territorial Defense Forces of Ukraine.
The National Police of Ukraine.
The Security Service of Ukraine.

HOW TO SURRENDER IN PLACE CORRECTLY.
1. Throw aside the weapon.
2. Stand up straight.
3. Raise your hands up or a white flag.
4. Loudly Shout, “I give up.”

A GROUP OF MILITARY PERSONNEL OR A UNIT
1. Place all weapons in front of you at a sufficient distance away.
2. Stand in front of military equipment. All equipment must be silenced and not in combat readiness.
3. To notify the Ukrainian side of laying down your arms a negotiator from among the officers may be sent without weapons and with raised hands or a white flag

This is not your war!
Return to your family!
They need you to be alive!
We all need one thing - peace!

Do not kill our elderly and children!
Do not become participants in genocide against our people!

GUARANTEES FOR THE MILITARY
Amnesty for those who voluntarily lay down their arms and hand over military equipment.
Phone call to your family and friends.

UKRAINE IS NOT AN AGGRESSOR AND FOLLOWS THE CONDITIONS OF THE GENEVA CONVENTION RELATING TO THE TREATMENT OF PRISONERS OF WAR SINCE 1949.

END OF CAPTIVITY
1. Prisoners of war are released and returned to their country after cessation of hostilities.
2. No returned prisoner of war may be placed on active duty
3. Valuable items and money temporarily confiscated from prisoners of war will be returned to them

+38 066 5803498   +38093 119 29 84
https://t.me/gruz_200_rus
https://t.me/rf200_now

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."

This Russian leaflet appeared on 29 March that promises Ukrainians in debt will have it all written off:

People of Endogonar!

The Russian forces control Molitopol, Berdyansk, and other towns of Zaporozhye (Central South). Civilian life is returning there – people can go home, humanitarian aid is being regularly delivered, stores are open, pensions and welfare are being paid.

Consumer debt and any debt for utilities is being written off, moreover, the cost of utilities will shortly go down to the standard prices in Russia.

People feel safe. They see that in practice the Russian army poses no threat to them. The Russian army is not an enemy of the people of Ukraine and strives to minimize any losses.

Stay up to date following the Telegram Channels.

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."

Loading the shell

Firing the Artillery

When I first started this article right after the Russian invasion I apologized because I had so much data on Ukrainian leafleting, but very little on Russian. That has all changed. By 20 May 2024, the Russian were moving toward Kharkiv and short Russian films were all over the Internet. The 43-second film shows Russian artillery loading and firing the red leaflet shells toward the Ukrainians. Some of the text is (Edited for brevity):

Artillerymen called for the voluntary surrender of Ukrainian Armed Forces military personnel in the Avdeevka area. Military personnel from the D-30 howitzer crew of the Center group of troops covered the combat positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine with specially designed leaflets calling for voluntary surrender. 122-mm propaganda shells with the inscription “Agit” [Agitation] for the D-30 gun are ore that 300 propaganda leaflets are loaded instead of high explosives.

Every leaflet contains calls to the Armed Forces of Ukraine to voluntarily lay down their arms and surrender, which would save their lives and prevent senseless bloodshed. These projectiles are specifically designed with a red warhead to differentiate them as much as possible from any other types of ammunition.

The firing range of such a projectile allows artillerymen to aim at targets more than 10 kilometers away. To target different targets, the ammunition fuse timers are set to different firing times, which are calculated depending on the exact distance to the target. After a shell explodes, leaflets are scattered over a large area, and a specially designed type of leaflet arouses the interest of enemy personnel.

A second 1-minute film shows what could be the same action or could be a different action. The Russians do not explain in any depth.

   

The leaflets

The text on the front of the leaflet is something like:

Ukrainian Armed Forces

YOU ARE SURROUNDED

The text on the back of the leaflet which is hard to read due to the blurriness of the film and dark color says something like:

Ukrainians – we explain – You know what to do – Tune in to frequency 9.00 and say the word “LIVE” – we will advise you - CHOOSE LIFE, MAKE THE RIGHT DECISION.

The narration is like the first film:

The agitation shells were fired by a D-30 howitzer of the Tsentr Group of Forces. To that end, Russian servicemen has prepared special leaflets calling for voluntary surrender.

The leaflet projectiles are of a red color to distinguish it from conventional ammunition and are marked “Agit”, and the fuse has a detonation timer that is adjusted according to the distance of the target. The firing range of such a projectile makes it possible to engage targets at more than 10 kilometers.

The Russian Defence Ministry

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

To combat all the pro-Ukraine posters, here some pro-Russian faction in the frontline city of Kramatorsk in Donbass, currently held by the Ukrainian army, apparently put these posters welcoming the Russian forces about 16 July. Notice the "Z" and more importantly, notice the red star. That is a Communist symbol and tells you these people support the old USSR.

Russian soldier, Kramatorsk is waiting for you.

On 20 June, the Armed Forces of Ukraine launched a missile attack on drilling rigs appropriated by Russia in 2014. The largest number of such posters was seen in the Russian-occupied Crimea cities of Alushta, Simferopol and Kerch. Drilling rigs and other property of the Ukraine was seized by Russia during the occupation of Crimea. The poster seems to be threatening a bridge and the text is:

Gas towers are just the beginning

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.

On 23 March 2023, the Russians apparently dropped parody National Bank of Ukraine 1000 Hryvnias banknotes with a surrender appeal over Ukraine military forces. The German dropped millions of Russian propaganda banknotes with surrender messages on the Russian in WWII. Perhaps the Russians liked the idea. My translator told me:

All I can see is a message that says "Military Service of the Armed Forces of Ukraine" running up the right-hand side. The rest of the text is too fuzzy to see clearly.

THE WEST INFLUENCED UKRAINE

In August 2023 more alleged Russian banknote propaganda was discovered. Both the banknotes ask the Ukraine fighters to call the Russian propaganda site VOLGA. The text is confusing and hard to translate but some of it is:

THE WEST INFLUENCED UKRAINE

DON'T BARGAIN WITH DEATH.

Go to the positions of the Russian troops without weapons with hands raised.
Surrender and return home alive!

149.200 - CALL VOLGA AND LEAVE THIS HELL!
DEALER OF UKRAINIAN LIVES

ARE YOU DYING FOR THESE BANKNOTES?

A second banknote was depicted on Twitter at the same time. Once again there is text all over the notes so they are hard to translate in order. Some of the text is:

ARE YOU DYING FOR THESE BANKNOTES?

Your government is deliberately exterminating the population of eastern Ukraine.
There is no mobilization being carried out in the west of the country.>
Kyiv spends the allocated money on itself.

149.200 CALL VOLGA SAVE YOUR LIVES

Do not give your life for the values and interests of the west.
Go to the positions of the Russian troops without weapons and with your hands raised.
Surrender and return home alive!

Banknote Leaflets dropped over Ukraine Troops by Drones

A short film also depicts these banknotes leaflets being delivered to the Ukraine troops by drones and rockets. The drone sequence shows what are claimed to be Ukraine troops reading the leaflets and surrendering. Of course. these could be Ukraine or Russian troops playing a roll. At a time where any congregation of soldiers is likely to targeted by the enemy, it is hard to believe that a group of Ukrainians gathered in the open beneath a drone to read leaflets.

The Contents of a Russian Leaflet Missile

In an earlier attack, a Russian missile filled with propaganda hit a Ukrainian farm and thousands of leaflets were apparently found in the wreckage. Some of the propaganda messages are:

The West wants this war to last endlessly and as many Russians and Ukrainians as possible to die in the meat grinder. This is why the USA and EU do not give Ukraine modern weapons but sell old ones and decommissioned equipment. The USA and EU started the war between us. The pain and grief that we caused each other will remain in our hearts for a long time, but our peoples have enough strength and courage to overcome it together. Together we will be able to take revenge on the USA and EU for what they did to our peoples.

The reminds me of the World War II German leaflets to the USA attacking President Roosevelt and quoting his comments that the USA would not enter the European war. They somehow forgot to mention that Germany declared war on the USA first. Here the Russians say that the USA started the war, conveniently forgetting to mention that like thieves in the night Russia invaded Ukraine just as Japan had attacked Pearl Harbor without warning. I also note that the leaflet uses the word "War." In the past Putin has called this a "Special operation."

An Anti-American Leaflet in the pile

One of the leaflets in the missile seems to show an American flag and what seems to be a mouse trap. A soldier, possibly Ukrainian, has approached the money and his head is caught in the trap. At the right you can see some of the back of the leaflet where Ukraine soldiers are shown how to surrender. Apparently, the leaflet claims that America has caused the war between Ukraine and Russia, and they will take revenge on the United States and the European Union together.

The back of this leaflet has been translated. It says:

HOW TO STOP RESISTANCE

1.Remove the magazine from your weapon.
2.Place the weapon on your left shoulder with the barrel facing down.
3.Raise your hands above your head and slowly approach the Russian troops position. Pick up a piece of white cloth, a handkerchief, or this leaflet.

We guarantee your life and the conditions accorded by the Geneva Convention. Medical care will be provided to all the sick and wounded.

Military personnel: Accept the right solution to save your life.

  

 

Another colorful Russian leaflet depicts a Russian and Ukraine soldier in friendly conversation, their flags shown at left and right. The back of that leaflet is very interesting, It shows an American cowboy with the White House in the background. The cowboy has lassoed a Ukrainian around the throat. It would seem to imply that the Americans will make slaves of the Ukraine people. Americans like to think that Europeans think of them as cowboys. Remember Diehard, and Bruce Willis saying, "Yippie ki yay, mother ******."

The text on the front of the leaflet is:

My brother, let's turn our bayonets against the Kiev and the American clique!
Turn the fratricidal war into a liberation war!

The text on the back of the leaflet is:

Do you think, you fight against Russia?
The USA destroys both our countries using your hands!

We don’t have a date for this leaflet. It was found in a war zone and depicted on the Internet in April 2023. The front of the leaflet shows Putin in a relaxed pose as if all is going well. The text does not translate well but seems to be something like:

FOR ME RUSSIA -
IS MY WHOLE LIFE!
V. PUTIN

The back of the leaflet has the Russian "Z" and text which seems to be:

WE DON'T LEAVE OUR PEOPLE BEHIND

Notice the "#". That seems to indicate the text on the back is a social media hashtag.

The next few leaflets came directly from a Russian PSYOP unit. As a result, we do not know if these were all dropped or not. They are very clean so obviously they were the original artwork.

Valeriy Zaluzhny was featured on the cover of Time magazine in October 2022. The issue contained an article entitled 'Inside the Ukrainian counterattack that changed the course of the war.’ Zaluzhny was earlier included in the list of the most influential people in 2022. Time said about him:

Russia’s unprovoked, immoral, and unethical invasion of Ukraine has put those rules under intense stress. During this chaos, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valeriy Zaluzhny has emerged as the military mind his country needed. His leadership enabled the Ukrainian armed forces to adapt quickly with battlefield initiative against the Russians.

The potential of a war between great powers is growing, and the Ukrainians defending their homeland against significant Russian aggression is incredible. General Zaluzhny is the man behind that effort, bearing the immense burden of leading in combat. His work will be remembered by history.

  

The Russians seemed to think this was a good subject to parody so used the Time portrait on the front of a propaganda leaflet with the English-language text:

THE GENERAL
VALERIY ZALUZHNY AND THE UKRAINIAN WAY OF WAR.

At the bottom of the leaflet the message was reprinted in Russian so their own people could read the text.

On the back of the leaflet, we see a long line of Ukrainian military coffins, and the text in English:

HIS SOLDIERS
REMAINED LYING ON THE UKRAINIAN WAY OF WAR.

Once again, at the bottom of the leaflet the message was reprinted in Russian so their own people could read the text.

This next product is also the original artwork for A Russian leaflet. My translator struggled with the text, and I have made some changes to try and catch the concept of what the Russians were saying. The front is all text and says:

PUTIN - ENEMY OF UKRAINE!

Putin is the enemy of Ukraine!
Is it true?
Soldiers and officers of the west of Ukraine!

Why do you hate Putin? Think about it: you are already 30 years past Soviet rule, and even more. [The Nazis] despised the “Eastern cattle.” And now, thanks to this war you are taking part in, you can get rid of it for the rest of us! You can kill everyone with impunity who does not speak a pure language, who calls their relatives in Russia, who doesn't honor Petliura, Bandera and Shukhevych enough. And the bonus is that they are called and driven to death for the most part like “cattle” from those very eastern regions, and your brothers commit those horrors, like those living in the West.

You have finally been given a historic chance to clear the “living space” of all unnecessary fellow citizens! Appreciate it!

[Author’s note] Symon Petliura was the former General Secretary of Military Affairs of the Ukrainian People's Republic. Stepan Andriyovych Bandera was a Ukrainian far-right leader of the radical, militant wing of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, the OUN-B. Roman-Taras Yosypovych Shukhevych was a Ukrainian nationalist, Nazi collaborator, and a military leader of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA). These three were all nationalists and apparently considered to be Nazis by the Russians. The term living space (“Lebensraum”) was used by Adolf Hitler during his attack on the East during WWII. The plan was to get rid of the residents and move German families in to replace them.

The Russians save civilians while the Ukrainians throw grenades at them.
The Russian treat injured people, the Ukrainians whip them.

The Russians protect families and home, The Ukrainians destroy them.
The Russians treat prisoners, the Ukrainians murder them.

The Russians are good heterosexual family people, the Ukrainians are homosexual lovers.
The Russians love Christ, the Ukrainians love the devil.

The Russians respect the dead, the Ukrainians piss on them.
The Russian protect civilians, the Ukrainians kill them.

A Twitter user named Maks 23 uploaded a Russian leaflet found in a trench by Ukraine soldiers. In the past, leaflets have been prepared without text for a target audience that cannot read. If the pictures are simple and clear, even the illiterate can understand them. This multi-page comic leaflet shows that the Russians always do the right thing, while the Ukrainian troops always murder and torture.

Propaganda Banknotes Rocketed at Ukrainian Positions

On 17 May 2023, the Russian Ministry of Defense placed a short 50-second film on YouTube depicting leaflets fired at Ukrainian forces by the BM-21 Grad launcher. The Russian military said that it was engaging in a special campaign to encourage Ukrainian soldiers to surrender, "which will subsequently save their lives and prevent senseless bloodshed in further battles." Although the leaflets are shown for just a second and are hard to see, they appear to be in the form of banknotes, something we already show in this article.

The Russians "bombarded" Ukrainian soldiers with Hryvnia Leaflets
The Leaflet contains instructions for safe surrender and acts as a safe Conduct Pass
Russian Ministry of Defense

Although difficult to see, they seem to be the same National Bank of Ukraine 1000 Hryvnias banknotes with a surrender appeal that the Russians used earlier. Banknotes are a very popular media of propaganda because it is believed that even the most patriotic soldier will bend over to pick up a banknote he sees on the ground.

Although not depicted, the Russians say that they also distributed another type of leaflet that depicts Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky calling for an attack on the Russian Army. On the other side of the paper, Ukraine sees the most likely result of such an attack: new graves.  

 

Call Volga

We do not know when this handsome and colorful Russian leaflet was disseminated. It depicts a happy Russian family, probably farmers, holding hands and enjoying each other’s company. Perhaps the oldest son is off fighting the Russians. The text is:

Call “Volga” and stay alive.
Remember they are waiting for you at home.

There is some blocked text below, probably the Volga radio frequencies. Whoever posted this leaflet did not want to do the Russians any favors and copy help them tell the Ukraine troops how to defect. The Russians have claimed that about 10,000 Ukrainian servicemen have already surrendered to Russian forces using the special 149.200 "Volga" radio frequency. The 149.200 frequency, which can be accessed on any digital radio, is specially designated to be used by Ukrainian servicemen as a channel for communicating their intention to surrender to the Russian military, which can then locate them and take them captive safely, thus saving the Ukrainian servicemen from risking their lives crossing minefields to reach the Russian lines.

The back is all text:

Ukrainian soldier!
If you want to live, call the VOLGA

1. Take your Baofeng radio.
2. The radio frequencies are [They are depicted on the leaflet though blocked in the image]
3. Call “Volga."
4. Follow his instructions.
5. You will live and return home.

Ukrainian soldier, your family needs you.
No one needs your death.

[Note]: Both Russia and Ukraine have Baofeng radios. They are very popular, and the radios are preferred because they are easier to use than military radios. Their battery lasts longer. NATO radios are very precise. They are easily identified on spectrum analyzers and direction-finding gear. It is probably a BAOFENG UV-6 or UV-8 equivalent. They are extremely common. As a matter of fact, the Russian Forces use Baofeng radios to coordinate air strikes. The Ukrainian Armed Forces uses them to communicate on the squad level.

 

People Yes!

This leaflet was found in the mailboxes of Zhitomir on the morning of 9 November 2023. We assume they were hand delivered, not dropped by aircraft. At the top it shows a Ukraine's top general in uniform making the victory sign. At the bottom, a worried Zelensky with a crossed out "NO." We don’t know the politics, but the image and wording seems to indicate that the people have been asked to vote "YES" for Zelensky, and the people answered "NO." They want the general to rule. This could be Russian backed if they think the general is more malleable than Zelensky, of it could be Ukraine dissidents who want new leadership. If anyone has a better explanation, please write to me.  For the present I will put this in the Russian leaflets section, but it could just as easily go in the Ukraine leaflet section. What is interesting is that Zelensky has said there will be no elections until the martial law created by the Russian invasion is lifted.

The photograph at the top of the leaflet appeared in The New Voice of Ukraine on 8 July 2022 in an article titled "General Zaluzhny proves best choice for Armed Forces, president and nation."

Valeriy Zaluzhny, has been leading the fight against Russia quite successfully, not allowing himself any serious interruptions. Since the war started, he hasn't given a single interview for the media, but managed to push back the Russian army all the way from Kyiv, Ukraine's capital city. The liberation of northern Ukraine is his personal accomplishment. This put him in a list of the world’s 100 most influential people that U.S. magazine Time draws up annually. However, the presidential office is becoming a little bit jealous of Zaluzhny's popularity among Ukrainians. He’s supported by most of the nation, no matter what these people think about Zelenskyy's policies.

The text is:

People Yes!

Your right choice

Yes!

SOLDIERS OF UKRAINE!

On 8 December 2023 Russia released a short 1-minute and 39-seconds film about firing 122mm Leaflet shells toward Ukraine. Each shell contains about 500 leaflets. Artillerymen of the Central Military District fired at the positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the Krasnolimansk area. The military personnel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are guaranteed their lives, assistance, and are urged to remember that their lives are more valuable than the criminal plans of the current military-political leadership of the country.

The Leaflet seems to depict two schoolboys with packs on their back watching some military march by. The text on the side we see is:

SOLDIERS OF UKRAINE!
SAVE AND CHOOSE LIFE.
DO NOT FORCE YOUR CHILDREN TO STAND BY.

We do not see the back of the leaflet so cannot translate the remainder of the message. In the film the Russians are shown with a long line of the leaflets about to be folded. The film ends with the big guns firing.

The difference between Russians and Ukrainians.

On 2 March 2024 it was reported by Censor.net that the Russians in occupied Mariupol were handing out propaganda booklets to children explaining the difference between Russians and Ukrainians. The Mariupol City Council said:

"Low-grade propaganda is trying to 'heroize' those who came to kill Ukrainians. Who showed our children what war and death are. Who took away the most important thing from them - a childhood under a peaceful sky."

At the same time, the Kremlin's "manual" is trying to defame the honor of Ukrainian defenders who are standing up to protect our country and millions of Ukrainian families from Russian invaders. The city council emphasizes that the Russian occupiers are trying to justify themselves and the war of aggression against Ukraine with such propaganda.

Russian Drone Delivery of leaflets

This short film shows leaflets in a Russian drone flying over a decrepit house where we are told Ukrainian soldiers are hiding. The caption says that the leaflets will help the Ukrainians surrender. In the second picture the leaflet packet has burst just to the left of the house. They are hard to see from this distance, but the targeting was very accurate, and the leaflets seem to be falling directly on the house. We do not see any Ukrainians leaving the house.

Another short 53-second film of a Russian drone dated 19 April 2024

This picture is not very clear. The Russian speaker is holding the drone and turning it to show the watcher. Unfortunately, the drone is far too close to the camera and the picture is blurry. It is almost as if he does now want us to see too much. You can barely make out some of the drone’s propeller blades at the left. The comments are:

Ukrainians, your positions are completely surrounded. There will be no help with further resistance. You will face death. Your only chance to survive is to surrender. Follow these instructions. Remove the magazine from your weapon. Hang the weapon on your left shoulder barrel down. Put your hands above your head and slowly approach the armed forces of the Russian Federation. Lift a piece of white cloth, a handkerchief. Russian soldiers know these conditional signs are evident of your peaceful intent. You will receive a medical examination, hot food, and a hot shower. Go to the coordinates…

Russian Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Delivery of Leaflets

 

This short 1 minute, 4 seconds, film bears the caption. Operators of the FPV wing "R8" dropped leaflets over the village of Marganets in the Dnepropetrovsk region with a call on civilians to stop mobilization in Ukraine. We see the small model aircraft thrown into the air and then see the operator’s screen as the UAV flies toward the target and drops the leaflets. I did notice one interesting thing about the film. There have been several cases where the Russians allowed some background to creep into their photographs and were soon attacked by Ukraine drones after viewers were able to figure out where the Russians were filming from. In this case, while the Russian was standing at the launching site preparing to fly the UAW, the entire background was blurred. The Russians are learning and gave Ukraine intelligence no clues as to where they were. At the end of the film, they depicted the leaflet that was being dropped.

Mobilizations

The translation of that leaflet is:

MOBILIZATIONS

Officials and politicians want to use you for their own purposes. They hide behind beautiful words and use raw patriotism and love for the Motherland to continue to kill you and cripple you.

Tell them to stop

MOBILIZATIONS

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.

Leaflet artillery from Lugansk Forces to Ukraine Forces

On 25 July, 122 mm shells containing propaganda leaflets are shelled by Lugansk forces on the Donbas frontlines. The voice-over in this short film states that the Ukrainians have few options to choose from: Surrender, retreat, or be destroyed. The narration continues that Ukraine forces are identified by drones and then attacked. They claim Ukraine is using cluster bombs to slow their advance.

This interesting sheet was issued to Russians who voluntarily went to the Ukraine to convince the people of Russia’s good intention. The questions and recommended answers show the way the occupied peoples are being indoctrinated by the Russian volunteers. Ukraine's SBU (military intelligence service) found this and placed it on Twitter. This form is three pages long and has 30 questions. I could show them all but I think I will just add some of them that are clearly propaganda.

Will Russia bomb us?"
No, the Russian Federation only carries out precision strikes against military targets. Ukrainian news - the news is false to discredit the Russian Federation"

What is happening with Ukraine now?
Ukraine is being divided by the US and Europe, soon its statehood will cease to exist.

Will I be able to travel to the territory of the other regions of Ukraine or Europe?
It depends only on the authorities of Ukraine and European countries. (It is worth mentioning that now Russian-speaking people are being persecuted all over the world).

I do not want to live in Russia.
You're just afraid, Russia is a country of great opportunity with a great history.

What happened in Crimea in 2014?
The referendum was passed, it was calm, the majority supported the desire to become part of the Russian Federation. (It is worth mentioning that Crimea lives calmly and with a dialogue of cultures. A lot of money is allocated for the construction of roads and facilities).

What will happen to our destroyed houses?
All houses and other buildings will be restored after the referendum at the expense of Russia.

We don't have any money, where can we get social payments or other assistance?
You should contact the authorities, CAA (occupation government) and other supervising structures. Call for obtaining Russian citizenship as soon as possible, since it provides more opportunities for payments.

We are afraid of the local partisans.
You can report any known information to law enforcement agencies. Indicate they are not partisans, but Ukrainian sabotage groups.

Is everything calm in Crimea?
Yes, thanks to the Russian army, Crimeans have not known the sounds of gunshots for a long time.

Why is the Russian army engaged in looting?"
The Russian army does not engage in looting, unlike the Armed Forces of Ukraine. If they have witnessed it, the guilty will be brought to justice.

Is the Russian army shelling Ukrainian cities?
No, only military facilities.

They say that there is poverty in Russia.
That is a lie, in Russia almost everyone can afford a private car. (Tell them that cars in the Russian Federation are cheaper than the Ukrainian ones).

Does Zelensky hate us?
Zelensky decides nothing, everything is decided by his curators from the United States. (Mention that he is a drug addict).

Why is military equipment located besides houses?
It's for your safety. (State that Armed Forces of Ukraine hide behind civilians).

 

On 18 November, Russian UAVs both conducted reconnaissance and dropped leaflets behind the Ukrainian front line in the city of Nikopol, Dnepropetrovsk province on the banks of the Kakhovka reservoir. 

Change your Passport to a Russian one.

This Russian leaflet was glued on the front door of Ukrainians in the city of Kherson at the time the Russians occupied it. It is one of many appeals for Ukrainians to change their passports to Russian passports. The leaflet depicts the passports, and the text is:

Passport citizen RF (Russian Federation)
It's social security and prestige!
Official start [of the] program

Issuing passports in the city [of] Kherson!

Russian Billboards

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

Orchestra W

The Daily Beast said on 20 July 2022: It has been known since the start of the invasion that the Russians have used the Wagner Group, a civilian mercenary group, in Ukraine. In July, billboards were seen on the street of Russian cities that depicted three heavily armed men with a thinly veiled invitation to join the private Kremlin-linked military force: Orchestra ‘W,’ referencing a nickname for the group that gained attention on social media after Wagner mercenaries posed for photos in occupied Severodonetsk with musical instruments (presumably stolen from a local music school). Stories reported earlier this month that the Wagner group has been visiting Russian prisons in search of fresh cannon fodder for the war in Ukraine. Inmates were reportedly promised a paycheck and amnesty if they make it back alive. Text on the billboard is:

Orchestra ‘W’ Awaits You
Wagner 2022.org
+7 (901) – 432-85-71

 

RUSSIA IS HERE
FOREVER!
A beautiful Ukraine young girl very proud to now live in Russia

 

Another version of the same “Russia is here forever” billboard in the city center of Donetsk
The Washington Post

In Severodonetsk in front of a Russian bomb crater
The sign has been changed from the colors of Ukraine to the colors of Russia
The Washington Post 

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 Recruiting

Russia started this war with limited troops, not wanting to call up their regulars. As the war went on and they lost men they filled their ranks with volunteers from various countries, many part of the old Soviet Union. They also used mercenaries, especially the Wagner Group. They then started to recruit homeless people. All this time they still tried to attract volunteers for the regular army. The first item below is a brochure promising a good life to new recruits. It depicts a happy family that now can purchase a home.

Ministry of Defense
Russian Federation
---
Military Mortgage
Opportunity to purchase own housing
Moscow 2020
---
Military Mortgage Brochure

The second item depicts Russian aircraft, a rocket system, and a submarine. The recruit is told of all the various skills available to him.

There are 12 Main Headquarters
Ministry of Defense
Russian Federation
---
Hotline
[phone number]

Russian use of Lasers to Deliver Propaganda

  

Russian laser propaganda propaganda

Many of us who follow propaganda campaigns were waiting for the first use of lasers or drones at night to make fearful pictures and try to convince the enemy to surrender. The Russians seem to have acted first. On 16 November 2023, a Twitter user reported that Russian forces performed a laser show on the frontline for the Ukraine soldiers near Peski. A ferocious Russian soldier’s face was depicted, pointed a rifle at the viewer, and then the text:

Ukrainian Forces, don’t run, or you will die tired.

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

Russian loudspeaker trucks based on the Tigr armored vehicle.

On 27 December 2023, a short 3-minute, 14-second, Sputnik film of Russian loudspeaker trucks (Acoustic warfare machines based on the TIGR armored vehicles) broadcasting in Russian and  Ukrainian was sent to me. A Russian spokesman explains:

We have been using this vehicle for sound broadcasting, urging the enemy to surrender. The effort is yielding tangible results, with a steady stream of prisoners coming from both the right and left banks of the Dnepr. Compared to a few months ago, three or four months ago, the number of prisoners is growing. They are running out of mobilization resources. They are beginning to take people who have either failed to leave the country or are not good at hiding. Our broadcasts are in both Russian and Ukrainian. There has not been an order to broadcast in English yet, even though we could. We have specialists.

The message the trucks broadcast was: 

Soldiers of the armed forces of Ukraine. For two weeks you have been holding on to a small piece of land with your lives – for many of you it has become the last refuge. But they are no longer there. Units of the Russian armed forces have effectively blocked it [the position]. You are hit daily with air strikes, artillery, and flamethrower systems. Another wave of suicidal attacks and landings by the Kiev Regiment is underway. Most of the Ukrainian troops who tried to reach the left bank of the DNEPR were wiped out on their boats. Those who make it to the shore face precision strikes, a firestorm of Russian drones, Mortars, multiple rocket launches, and frontline aviation. The chances of survival for the Ukrainian assault units are slim but those who lay down their arms and surrender are guaranteed life by the Russian army. Information on surrendering along with his correct conduct is being disseminated among Ukrainian troops on the ground through leaflets, Internet accounts, and specially designed acoustic warfare machines based on the Russian TIGR armored vehicle. This is a linguist complex. A mobile machine based on the tiger armored vehicle. It is designed for sound broadcasting.

The trucks then played the Russian song Nebo Alavyan, (The Sky of Slavs).

A second shorter 50-second film showed a loudspeaker operation and translated the message:

Soldiers of Ukraine! Soldiers of Ukraine! Tomorrow another 30 Ukraine soldiers will die. It will continue daily until you cease resistance. Surrender, or go beyond the power line. Go away, retreat beyond the power line. Beyond the power line, run, run. Drop your guns. Drop your things. Drop everything and surrender or go beyond the power line or you will all be destroyed.

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.

A Russian Propaganda Poster attacking the USA for Biological Warfare

This Beetle Will destroy your harvest.
They also threaten your livelihood!
Destroying the Colorado potato beetles is a fight against the imperialists' war plans.
Your fight against the destructive plague from the USA is
A FIGHT FOR PEACE!

 

A Second Russian Propaganda Poster

STOP THE AMERICAN BEETLE.

Researcher and author Richard H. Cummings adds:

On June 30, 1950, the Soviet Union Foreign Ministry delivered a protest note to the U.S. State Department stating that it had received information from the DDR that between May 22, 1950, and June 6, 1950, American planes dropped Colorado beetles in many districts of the country. On July 6, 1950, U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson rejected the protest as "Communist propaganda." The State Department official reply to Moscow included: "In the present world situation, fraught with explosive tensions, the Soviet Government has chosen to poison the atmosphere even further with one of the most fantastic fabrications that has ever been invented by one government against another. In this whole absurd and ridiculous propaganda invention, this is the one fact that deserves to be noted." 

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.

A George Washington University Paper on Russian Propaganda in Ukraine

In 2023, a 41-page paper entitled Russian Propaganda Tactics in Wartime Ukraine was written by Jade McGlynn, King’s College, London, for George Washington University. I have taken some highlights from the report which I thought were significant:

The Ukrainian Non-governmental organization Opora (Support) identified 127 pro-Russian Telegram channels created after 20 February 2022 that position themselves as local channels on occupied territories or territories that Russia tried to occupy. These channels all produce similar content, write the same things, and repost one other. The initial narratives deployed by such channels against Ukrainians will sound familiar to anyone with a passing interest in Russian domestic propaganda:

• Russia is returning to its rightful lands that mistakenly and unjustly came under Ukrainian control by accident 30 years ago.
• The Ukrainian government is illegitimate.
• Ukraine is a failed state.
• Ukraine is a Western puppet-state project to destroy Russia.
• Russia is liberating Russian-speakers in Ukraine, and all Ukrainians, from the Western-imposed Nazi yoke.
• Russia had to attack first, or else it would be attacked by Ukraine and/or the West.
• Ukraine was committing genocide in the Donbas.

In the weeks leading up to the full-scale invasion, the Russian occupiers’ media covered the ear-constant FSB announcements of impending Ukrainian terror plots and an imminent Ukrainian invasion using heavy weaponry from NATO. By February 24, 2022, the overall impression among those living in Russia or territories occupied by Russia was that Ukraine had become a terrorist state, completely out of control, that needed to be stopped and so finally Russia was going to put an end to this terror.

Anti-Ukrainian propaganda is virulent in the occupied territories, more so than in Russia itself. Ukrainians are routinely referred to as Nazis, fascists, and terrorists. Ukrainians are depicted as intent on destroying the Russian people, their language, and their religious traditions. Politicians and pro-Russian media frequently use slogans along the lines that "Victory over Ukrainian terrorism means a peaceful life, safe for our children."

After the initial failure of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Russian agents began using different "patriotic" Telegram channels to micro-target advertisements at residents in certain towns and cities. unity. Main themes within pro-Kremlin messaging aimed at sowing division include:

• The burden of war is not being shared equally: Your region is being neglected.
• The government is centralizing all power to Kyiv.
• Hungarians are being targeted.
• Zelensky is curtailing religious freedom.
• The West is dictating LGBT agenda to Ukrainians.

The focus of this approach since the turn of 2023 has been as follows:

• The horrors of the war and need for a negotiated deal.
• Mobilization injustices.
• Nobody wants to fight.
• Failure to take care of soldiers.

Russia’s other efforts in the Ukrainian language sphere have been more traditional and lower budget, such as the widespread use of troll farms to promote and comment in Ukrainian on topics of discussion in the Ukrainian media. Often, as in English, the trolls use ungrammatical or incorrect Ukrainian, which helps to identify them as inauthentic accounts.

The Future of Russian Propaganda in Ukraine. Russian propaganda is most successful where it recognizes Ukrainian patriotism and seeks to manipulate it, or at least where it must make accommodations for Ukrainian experiences and find a language that will be understood and accepted as plausible by Ukrainian audiences. Russia’s disinformation will continue to grow and feed off opportunities provided by the misery and destruction it is inflicting, and the enduring lack of a coherent Western strategy.

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