Russia is deliberately destroying civilian infrastructure to create a humanitarian crisis in numerous Ukrainian cities: Kharkiv, Kherson, Mariupol, Chernihiv, Zaporizhzhia to name a few. Russia is bombarding residential buildings, including private homes, schools, kindergartens, hospitals, churches. Russia is also cutting off food, electricity, and heating supplies. The humanitarian catastrophe is meant to force the Ukrainian government to accept Russian demands, which Russia has so far failed to impose militarily. Russian foreign minister Lavrov claimed on March 10 during negotiations in Antalya, Turkey – on the 15th day of the invasion that killed thousands of people – that Russia “never attacked Ukraine.” He also claimed Russia was “not planning to attack other countries.”
Aggression Disguised as “Humanitarian Assistance”
Russian soldiers are also blocking Ukrainian humanitarian aid to make the situation even worse. They are stealing food from local shops for themselves. In some cases, they give the stolen food to local residents as “humanitarian assistance.” In most cases Ukrainians refuse to accept it. Russia is forcing civilians, whose homes it has destroyed, to cross the border into Russia. The goal is create a fake impression about Russian invasion as a military operation for the protection of the population from the “radical” Ukrainian government, and present itself as a rescuer. Russian forces captured on March 3 a TV tower in Kherson and the following day began broadcasting Russian TV channels to spread disinformation about its actions. Russia attempted bringing Russian citizens to Ukraine fabricate local support rallies in the areas its forces managed to penetrate. On March 7, Russia agreed to open “humanitarian corridors” from the areas it destroyed with airstrikes, particularly Kharkiv and Sumy, by offering routes that it knew Ukrainian people would find unacceptable – to seek shelter in Russia. Russia blocked humanitarian corridors proposed by Ukraine that would have taken civilians to safe locations western parts of Ukraine.
Assuming False Identity
In several cases Russian troops put on Ukrainian army uniform. Their sabotage groups used Ukrainian police vehicles and uniforms to try to break into Kyiv. They also posed as Ukrainian medical crews and used an ambulance to get past checkpoints. Russian forces stole Ukrainian passports forms to portray themselves as Ukrainian citizens and penetrate behind the front lines. They disguised their vehicles as those of the International Committee of the Red Cross. These Russian tactics are not new. Russia and the Soviet Union used them extensively in the past, especially during the WWII as they conquered peaceful nations.
Closing Disloyal Media, Propaganda Lessons in Schools
The success of Russian aggression depends on Russia’s ability to hide the truth about its invasion. Russian authorities have restricted the information about Russian army casualties in Ukraine, and human rights violations during the unjustified war against Ukraine. On the first day of the invasion, February 24, Russian authorities ordered media use only “official” information about the situation in Ukraine. On March, 1 Russian schools held a lesson to justify why the Russian government started the war in Ukraine. On March 2, Russian government closed two independent media outlets. On March 3, Russia adopted a law that introduces severe punishment for spreading supposedly “fake” information about the Russian army. It is now a crime in Russia to say that Russia is waging a war (and not a “special military operation”) in Ukraine, discuss Russian military casualties, or protest and publicly oppose Russian invasion of Ukraine. As of March 6, Russia closed 14 media companies, including all main social media. The tactics Russia is using to support its invasion of Ukraine once again confirm it is a false flag country, hiding behind fabrications.
Russia has repeatedly threatened the world with its nuclear weapons, acting similarly to North Korea. Russia’s invasion Ukraine has finally confirmed its status as a pariah state that cannot be trusted neither with nuclear weapons, nor with its commitments as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. In December 2014, shortly after the illegal annexation of Crimea, Russian foreign minister Lavrov threatened to deploy nuclear weapons to Crimea. By 2016, Russia deployed missiles in Crimea capable of carrying nuclear warheads. By 2021, Russia already had nuclear tactical weapons in Crimea.
Nuclear and energy blackmail has long been an instrument of Russia’s approach to international relations. In November 2021, about three weeks after Russia absorbed Belarus by signing a treaty on the Union State of the two country, the Belarusian dictator threatened to deploy Russian nuclear weapons on Belarusian soil. At the same time, Russia used Belarusian territory to intimidate the European Union with a migration crisis, which it temporarily orchestrated at the borders of Poland and the Baltic states.
Revenge and Revisionism, “Darkest Days of Empires”
Russia’s ruthless bombing of civilian infrastructure in many Ukrainian with large Russian-speaking communities dispelled Russia’s fabricated justification for was on the pretext of “protecting Russian speakers.” This was one of many false narratives Putin invented for its invasion. On February 27, he claimed his goal was to prevent Ukraine from developing “dirty nuclear bomb.” This was his excuse for attacking and capturing the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant on February 24. Then Russian troops captured on March 4 the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, the largest nuclear plant in Europe, causing a fire. The plant’s director explained that Russian troops are using the nuclear plant as a shield as they create a stronghold there, accumulating almost 500 soldiers at the nuclear facility.
Russia claimed it was a victim of NATO aggression, which was supposedly “encircling Russia” in order to invade it in the future. Putin absurdly claimed NATO was installing long-range missile systems in Ukraine to attack Russia. This accusation was repeatedly rejected as false. On March 2, French president Macron denied Putin’s claims and Russia’s propaganda by saying: “NATO has no troops or bases in Ukraine. These are lies. Russia has not been attacked. It is the aggressor. Still less is this war a fight against “Nazism,” as a baseless propaganda campaign would have people believe. That is a lie… This war is the result of a revenge mentality fueled by a revisionist interpretation of European history that would have us return to the darkest days of empires, invasions and exterminations.”
“Never Attacked Ukraine”
On March 6, Russian defense ministry claimed the invasion was necessary to destroy “secret biological weapons.” On March 7, Russian foreign minister Lavrov stated at the UN Security Council that Russia started a war “to stop any war that could take place on Ukrainian territory or that could start from there.” Russia’s deceit is part of the its political culture. False flag operations are part and parcel of Russia’s foreign and security policy methods. Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has brought many of them to light.