Skepticism about the Ukrainian-NATO Narrative
On April 11, 2022, I published an article in the online Times Examiner, entitled Behind the Bucha Massacre. I believe I got some important things right, but I was probably wrong on other important issues and conclusions about its magnitude and who was most likely responsible.
Bucha is a small city of 37,000 about 15 miles northwest of the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, bordering the Hostomel (Antonov) Airport. Shortly after the invasion of Russian forces into Ukraine on February 24, 2022, Bucha was captured by Russian forces on March 12 and recaptured by the Ukrainian Army on March 31.
Part of my original analysis came from interviews with Bucha residents conducted by the anti-war Russian journal website, Meduza, now operating from Latvia. I still believe these interviews were largely accurate. Reading between the lines, however, there was sufficient reason to conclude that most of the civilian deaths may have been at the hands of Ukrainian Security forces associated with the radical Azov terrorist units taking vengeance on Bucha residents who had collaborated with or received food or supplies from Russian troops.
According to the Meduza interviews, Bucha became directly involved in the war on March 4, when a column of Russian equipment passed through the center of Bucha on its way to Irpin. One witness told Meduza that “Our [Ukrainian] artillery ‘finished them off” from an Irpin checkpoint, destroying most of their equipment. When Russian forces captured Bucha on March 12, there was resistance from the city’s territorial defense force, who shot at the Russians with heavy weapons from the third floor of an apartment building. [Positioning military weapon systems in civilian residences is a war crime.] Shooting back at them is not a war crime. A Russian armored reconnaissance patrol vehicle fired a shell at the building destroying the resistance area and starting a fire. Thereafter, however, according to the Meduza and other interviews, Russian troops were civil to the Ukrainian civilians remaining in Bucha, handing out humanitarian supplies to those in need and bartering dry goods with local vendors for fresh eggs and dairy products. They even made sure the main hospital in Bucha had plenty of fuel before leaving. When they withdrew, pro-Russian civilians were encouraged to leave with them, but many stayed in Bucha. They did not consider that Ukrainian Security forces soon to arrive might consider receiving humanitarian supplies from the Russians as treason to Ukraine. It was obvious to many of the civilians that the young Russian soldiers they encountered hoped for a peaceful resolution with the Kyiv government and Ukrainian people. As they withdrew, many Russian soldiers gave away their dry-rations to civilians in need of food.
I am still fairly certain that the main Russian military unit in Bucha from March 12 through March 30, the 64th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade, had nothing to do with any massacres of Ukrainian civilians. Yet the daily tabloid UK Mirror immediately started suggesting that its young Lt.Col. commander was the main war crime suspect. The 64th is headquartered in the far-eastern Russian city of Khabarovsk.
However, according to some Wikipedia reported Turkish, Australian, and Ukrainian sources there were two smaller but elite Kadyrovite Chechen units there, which participated in the occupation of Bucha and surrounding towns. One was an OMON, which is the Russian military system are elite internal security police. The other was a SOBR (Special Rapid Response Force), which are the elite of elite and specialize in the most difficult combat police work. These are the type of units that would more likely be involved in acts of retribution or terrorism. The Chechens gained an unfortunate reputation for terrorism against the Russians from 2002 to 2015. As many as 12,000 Chechen troops have served on the side of the Russian Army in Ukraine.
If the Chechens were responsible for terrorist murders in Bucha and Vladimir Putin either approved it or by policy condoned it, he is implicated in terroristic actions. However, the Zelensky government has never acknowledged any Chechens were in Bucha and preferred to blame and demonize the Russian Army. If the Chechens were not involved in the massacre, then I was seriously wrong in subtitling my March 11, 2022, article, “Putin’s Terrorist Campaign in Ukraine.” Yet I must admit I now have serious reservations about the Chechen culprit theory. Many well-informed intelligence analysts believe with credible evidence and logic that Ukrainian Security forces associated with the Azov Terrorist Battalion (now Regiment) executed perhaps dozens of Ukrainians who cooperated with or received aid from Russian soldiers. The huge numbers of 300 to 400 civilian victims of Russian war crimes in Bucha may be based on cleverly coordinated political propaganda efforts.
Moreover, a terrorist strategy for Putin’s Special Operation in Ukraine is completely contradictory to his cultural values. He sees Ukraine, Russia and Belarus as part of a Slavic, Orthodox Christian brotherhood. Putin spelled this out in a 6,900-word article on the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians, dated July 12, 2021, but obviously read by only a few American journalists and politicians. Here are some key paragraphs:
“During the recent Direct Line, when I was asked about Russian-Ukrainian relations, I said that Russians and Ukrainians were one people – a single whole. These words were not driven by some short-term considerations or prompted by the current political context. It is what I have said on numerous occasions and what I firmly believe. I therefore feel it necessary to explain my position in detail and share my assessments of today's situation.”
“Russia is open to dialogue with Ukraine and ready to discuss the most complex issues. But it is important for us to understand that our partner is defending its national interests but not serving someone else's and is not a tool in someone else's hands to fight against us.”
“We respect the Ukrainian language and traditions. We respect Ukrainians' desire to see their country free, safe and prosperous.”
“I am confident that true sovereignty of Ukraine is possible only in partnership with Russia. Our spiritual, human and civilizational ties formed for centuries and have their origins in the same sources, they have been hardened by common trials, achievements and victories. Our kinship has been transmitted from generation to generation. It is in the hearts and the memory of people living in modern Russia and Ukraine, in the blood ties that unite millions of our families. Together we have always been and will be many times stronger and more successful. For we are one people.”
Putin would thus be acting against his own and Russia’s best interests and cultural sentiments by alienating the Ukrainian people with civilian massacres and pointless bloodshed and destruction. However, there is abundant evidence that Putin will not allow the U.S. and NATO to threaten Russia’s existential security by making Ukraine a NATO bulwark and steppingstone to weakening, dividing up, or destroying Russia.
Not long ago, I discovered that Darya Dugina, the 29-year-old daughter of Russian nationalist philosopher, Aleksandr Dugin, who was killed by an assassin’s car bomb west of Moscow on August 20, 2022, had given a speech the day before asserting that the Bucha Massacre was a staged Ukrainian deception. She had been saying that for several months and planned to include her revelations in a book she hoped to publish soon. Even the Ukrainians have now admitted that the assassins were part of the Azov terrorist element of the Ukrainian Security Services. Darya Dugina was not as famous as her father, but she was a bright and well-known political activist, who supported Putin’s Special Operation in Ukraine.
On April 8, 2022, U.S. military consultant, Col. Douglas Macgregor indicated his skepticism about the Ukrainian and U.S.-NATO narrative of the Bucha Massacre. “There are just too many things that do not make sense.” He also felt that the way it exploded in the mainstream media with all the usual mainstream media singing an identical narrative tune was suspicious.
Other well-respected journalists and retired CIA and military officers have expressed extreme skepticism: Eva Bartlett, October 26, 2022; Col. & Virginia State Senator Richard Black, September 18, 2022; former Marine Brian Berletic on The New Atlas, May 15, 2022; Retired CIA analyst, Larry C. Johnson, April 3, 2022; and former Marine officer and State Department disarmament expert, Scott Ritter, who has written an article entitled Bucha Revisited dated October 20, 2022. Ritter directly blames the Azov Regiment of the Ukrainian Security Service.
“The Ukrainian narrative constructed by the west is built on a bodyguard of lies. And there is no lie greater than that which blames Russia for the deaths of hundreds of Ukrainian civilians in Bucha who were slaughtered by Ukrainian security forces.”
Jeremy Kuzmarov pointed out in his article, Atrocity at Bucha Looks Like Another in a Long Line of False Pretexts for War, dated May 13, 2022, that On March 31, the mayor of Bucha, Anatoli Fedoruk, heralded the liberation of Bucha from Russian occupiers; notably, he made no mention of any massacre. The Russians had left the day before. Kuzmarov also asserts that:
“The Unproven massacre by Russian troops in Bucha was used to compel passage of the Ukrainian Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022 and escalate U.S. military intervention.”
Kuzmarov was able to establish by New York Times articles that there was no mention of a massacre until Ukrainian soldiers from the Ukrainian Security Service Azov Battalion entered Bucha on Saturday, April 2. On April 2, a Kyiv online website announced:
“Special forces have begun a clearing operation in the city of Bucha in the Kyiv region, which has been liberated by the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The city is being cleared from saboteurs and accomplices of Russian forces.”
It was only after the Azov Battalion sweep—on Sunday, April 3—that the world learned of the Bucha massacre.
The war fever resulting from the alleged Bucha massacre led to the unanimous passage by the U.S. Senate on April 6 of the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022, which would expedite arms shipments to Ukraine. The House voted for emergency spending of $13.6 billion to fund it by 417 to 10 on April 28. Only 10 Republicans dissented. Democrat Senate Leader Chuck Schumer glowed in his description of the “Russian” massacre as “pure evil.” President Biden hastened to brand Russian President Putin as a “war criminal.” Actually, the CIA has been demonizing Putin as evil since the March 2008 Russian Elections, but with little success in Russia. Putin and Medvedev’s United Russia Party got 71 percent, the Communists 18 percent, and the rightist liberals just over 9 percent.
I recommend Scott Ritter’s article, Bucha Revisited, to get a more comprehensive picture by a defense and Russian expert. Here are some of his bottom line conclusions.
“There is no doubting that there were victims whose bodies were buried in Bucha. But they weren’t killed by Russians. They were murdered by Ukrainians.”
Recommended: Russia-Ukraine 101:How it went down—Ray McGovern, retired high-ranking CIA analyst, and Presidential and Cabinet level briefer. Raymcgovern.com—an excellent way to get an honest, presidential quality briefing several times per week. Ray lives in Raleigh, NC.
Easter Sunday, April 9, 2023
Воистину, Он воскрес!