GUEST BLOG: Ben Morgan – Moskva sinks, while ground forces rally for a fight in eastern Ukraine


This week’s major event is the sinking of the Moskva. This ship is one of a small batch of incredibly heavily armed and very capable Russian warships.  It is the flagship of the Black Sea Fleet and its involvement in the capture of Snake Island gives it enormous symbolic value.  It is a significant prize and we can be sure that its loss will not go unpunished.

We should immediately ‘write off’ Russian claims that the ship sunk accidently, damaged by an onboard fire.  It is almost impossible to believe that a warship, in a warzone staffed by a crew with even basic levels of training and competence could accidently catch fire be damaged so badly that it sinks.  It is staggering that the Russians would rather admit to this level incompetence than concede that Moskva was lost to an attack. That it was a carefully planned and executed Ukrainian operation is indicated by reports of Ukrainian stamps commemorating the sinking being printed prior to the attack.  

So the real question is how did the Ukrainian’s manage to sink the ship? The Moskva class, has the best radar surveillance systems the Russians can deploy at sea. The ships deploy layers of air defence each one carrying a battery of 64 long and 40 short range anti-aircraft missiles. The long-range missiles can hit air targets more than 100km away and the short-range missiles can engage fast moving, low flying targets.  Each ship also has a battery of six 30mm radar-controlled Gatling guns designed to shoot down missiles and low flying aircraft.  The Moskva class are a ‘hard target’. 

The Ukrainians claim that they used a new, home-grown cruise missile called ‘Neptune’. More interesting are the currently unsubstantiated reports of drones being used to swamp the ship’s defences. Modern air defences are mostly automated, targets are identified by radar, computers prioritising the targets and automatically engaging them. Modern naval war takes place faster than humans can process information for instance a sea-skimming missile may provide only seconds of warning between appearing on radar and impact, so defensive systems need to be automated.  

Swamping a modern warship’s air defence system is very difficult and it will be fascinating to find out how the Ukrainian’s achieved this feat. Although, contributing factors are likely to be the ship’s maintenance level and crew training. The best radars, missiles and guns are useless if they are not working properly. This attack and the long-range missile attack on the Russian amphibious warfare ships in Brediansk on 24 March, indicate that the Ukrainians are able to deliver long-range precision targeted strikes against high value targets.  The operations are obviously based on excellent intelligence, are well-planned and executed demonstrating that the Ukrainians are able to destroy key naval assets.  

Destroying ships is important not just to prevent their use supporting the invasion but also because their loss is difficult to hide in the Russian media.  It is impossible to cover up the loss of a ship nearly 200m long weighing 12,000 tons for instance an ANZAC class frigate is about two thirds the length and about a one fifth of the weight of Moskva.  Warships especially, flagships are paraded around ports advertising the power of naval fleets, the community knows about these ships so a loss cannot be hidden from the community.  Further, large ships have large crews, imagine if the Russians had not evacuated the ship and it had sunk with all five hundred of its crew it would have been a terrible tragedy effecting 500 Russian families.

If the Ukrainians can sink warships, it changes the Russian’s operational planning because they cannot guarantee control of the littoral coast making amphibious landings or resupplying forces from the sea much riskier.  It also forces Russian warships to operate further from the coast out of range of Ukrainian missiles. Many of the cruise missiles hitting Ukraine were probably fired from Moskva, if Russian ships need to operate further from the coast it may limit their ability to hit targets deep in Ukraine.  This incident will affect Russian planning limiting their naval options. 

On the ground the key action this week is Russian manoeuvres to build their forces in the south-east of the country.   Russian convoys were photographed by satellites moving east confirming that troops withdrawn from Kiev are moving towards Donbas.  The Russians are also calling up reserves to augment their battered units and trying to rebuild a combat capable force.  

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A key change in Russian strategy is the appointment of General Alexander Dvornikov, consolidating command of the invasion force under one officer.  It was a shock to find out recently, that the Russians did not start the invasion with a unified command structure.  Instead, separate parts of the invasion were commanded by different officers.  This seems crazy but happens in poorly governed militaries in which officers are allowed to seek glory pursuing individual objectives rather than being required to work together and it is a significant weakness.

An example is the Nigerian Civil, when the province of Biafra declared its independence from Nigeria in 1967 a bloody civil war started. The Nigerian army although much larger and better equipped was led by officers more concerned with personal status and political advancement so it operated as independent units rather than a unified whole. Slowing down progress and allowing Biafra to defeat elements of their forces in detail during the early years of the war.  Although Biafra did not win that war, eventually being crushed by weight of Nigerian numbers it managed to exploit the weaknesses in Nigerian command to prolong the war. 

The Russian military has much longer history than Nigeria’s had in 1967, and I don’t think that their Soviet predecessors would have operated in this manner, centralised control and unity of effort being a hallmark of the Cold War Soviet military system.  The lack of unified command demonstrates two key weaknesses; a poorly governed officer corps and arrogance.  

The appointment of General Dvornikov is a key indication that the Russians are being forced to evolve, however there is difference between appointing a general and that general establishing effective command.  Finding a ‘staff’, the military term for the planners and advisors that support him will take time, developing the administrative procedures to make sure intelligences flows into the new commander and that his orders flow out accurately and quickly to his subordinates will take time.  

In effective armies’ generals have these resources established and tested before they go into combat.  In the 1991 Invasion of Iraq, the United States led coalition force set up a joint command structure headed by General Norman Schwarzkopf as deployment of forces began. By the time the war started General Schwarzkopf and his headquarters were established and working effectively to manage the operation.  General Dvornikov has the difficult task of trying to bring a defeated army together under a single commander, during a war which is a very difficult. Throw in the issues the Russians clearly have with communications and logistics and that task only gets more problematic.  Historically, some exceptional generals have achieved this feat, perhaps General Dvornikov is exceptional and will. Although, as this war demonstrates current Russian military culture mitigates against producing exceptional leaders so it is more likely he won’t.  

The Russians and Ukrainians are probing and testing each other near Izium and Sloviansk, lending weight to the theory that; when it comes the offensive will be in this area.  The major offensive did not start this week and I do not think it will for some time. Recent spring rain and snow melt continues to mean that the Ukrainian plains are muddy and difficult to traverse.  Further, as well as rebuilding their forces the Russians will need to stockpile ammunition and supplies before committing to an offensive. We can bet on the fact that Russian will be learning from their mistakes and preparing better for this round of combat. 

Further south Mariupol will fall soon, the Russians are claiming victory there and I am sure that in coming days this will be confirmed.  No matter how brave, soldiers cannot fight without food, water and ammunition.  It is sad but inevitable, the more I have looked at the ground around the city the less likely I think relief was, Mariupol is a good port but its surrounding geography provides limited avenues of approach for a relieving force.  Many commentators are currently assuming that victory here will free Russian soldiers near Mariupol to turn north and lead an offensive pushing linking up with other Russians moving south from Izium enveloping Ukraine’s forces on the Luhansk border.  This is wishful thinking, the soldiers that capture Mariupol will take time to recover and return to being a viable combat force.  

If a Putin really requires a victory before 9 May for Russia’s Victory Day celebrations, we can work back and from this date and estimate that the Russians can safely re-organise and prepare for action until the end of April.  Therefore, my prediction is that there is unlikely to be a major ground offensive till at least the end of the month or the start of May. Perhaps, 9 May could be the start of an offensive? 

It is likely to be launched in the Izium, Barvinkove, Kramatorsk, Slovensk area.  I still believe that an offensive of this nature is unlikely to be effective.  In my opinion it will take months, or a full- scale mobilisation of the Russian military to produce a Russian force capable of a successful large-scale offensive in Ukraine.  Putin may have to accept the fall of Mariupol as a ‘victory ‘on 9 May.  

The most concerning development this week was a statement by the Director of the CIA, William Burns that Russian use of low-yield tactical nuclear weapons might become more likely, an option to re-balance the situation in Ukraine.  CIA Directors do not make statements like that without thinking them through and although this option has been on the table from the start of this war recent events might make it more likely. The Russians are in a dire situation, they are fighting a tenacious and tough enemy and being beaten. Sanctions are hurting them and the world is turning against them so victory becomes more important so that they can disengage from this war and start recovering.  Now they also face the threat of Finland and Sweden both seriously considering joining NATO increasing Russian tensions about being surrounded.  Using tactical nuclear weapons could be seen by Russian planners as a demonstration of resolve and strength.  I certainly hope that this does not happen, however it is important that if it does the world is not surprised or shocked and can respond in an effective, united manner. 

In coming days, Mariupol will surrender.  Unfortunately, this is a foregone conclusion and inevitable.  The ground war is unlikely to develop in the immediate future, at the moment both sides are preparing for battle, there will be small probes testing each other’s defences and capabilities, however I think that it is unlikely that we will see large scale combat for some time.  Wet weather and the simple requirement for both sides to prepare mean that large scale actions are unlikely at this time. 

Unfortunately, it is likely that we will see air bombardments of Ukrainian cities.  The full power of the Russian’s strategic bomber fleet has not yet been unleashed on Ukraine.  So far it does not appear that Russia has used its fleet of large bomber aircraft yet.  The centres of cities like Kiev, Dnipro and Lviv remain largely undamaged and have not suffered large-scale, repeated area bombing.  After the sinking of the Moskva it is likely that Moscow will seek to punish Ukraine and bombing its people in cities far from the frontline is an easy option to achieve this goal.   


Ben Morgan is a tired Gen X interested in international politics. He is TDB’s Military analyst.


  1. Dvornikov has the difficult task of trying to bring a defeated army together under a single commander, during a war which is a very difficult.

    What defeats Ben? I’d suggest that the initial operation succeeded in destroying the Ukraine forces ability to have any coordinated attacking capacity BUT failed to disarm them. That was the goal so I’d suggest that could be viewed as a Ukrainian “win”.

    The problem with your analysis is that the Russian operation has been notable for its restraint, the lack of bringing full force to bear, the avoidance of targeting civilian areas. This has enabled the Ukraine forces to “hole up” in urban areas.

    The worry about the change in command is that prohibition may be rescinded and that Russia may say to hell with Ukrainians and throw the heavy bombardment gear at urban areas to destroy Ukrainian military lifes as opposed to capability.

    We can only hope that suspicion is misplaced otherwise we will see Russia prevail in a very bloody manner. Prevail they will, I heard a US military man compare this to the US fighting Mexico, Mexico would resist bravely but get hammered.

    • Nick J –“The problem with your analysis is that the Russian operation has been notable for its restraint,” ,,,, For examples of the truth in Nick J’s statement

      “of fact .,,,,,,

      ,,,” Senior U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency officers told Newsweek that the first 24 days of Russia’s bombing of Ukraine was less destructive than the FIRST DAY of U.S. bombing in Iraq in 2003.

      The U.S.-led campaign against ISIS in Iraq and Syria bombarded those countries with over 120,000 bombs and missiles, the heaviest bombing anywhere in decades. U.S. military officers told Amnesty International that the U.S. assault on Raqqa in Syria was also the heaviest artillery bombardment since the Vietnam War.

      Mosul in Iraq was the largest city that the United States and its allies reduced to rubble in that campaign, with a pre-assault population of 1.5 million. About 138,000 houses were damaged or destroyed by bombing and artillery, and an Iraqi Kurdish intelligence report counted at least 40,000 civilians killed.

      Raqqa, which had a population of 300,000, was gutted even more. A UN assessment mission reported that 70-80% of buildings were destroyed or damaged.” ,,,,,,

      “The Pentagon promised to review its policies on civilian casualties in the wake of these massacres, and commissioned the Rand Corporation to conduct a study titled, “Understanding Civilian Harm in Raqqa and Its Implications For Future Conflicts,” which has now been made public.

      Even as the world recoils from the shocking violence in Ukraine, the premise of the Rand Corp study is that U.S. forces will continue to wage wars that involve devastating bombardments of cities and populated areas, ”

      Whats more they will destroy countries, society’s and civilians ,,,, the USA/NATO engineered proxy war in Ukraine is just the latest example of them doing such.

      Due to NZ’s “Partnership” with NATO ,,, we probably have a OBLIGATION’ to send weapons ,,,, which in all likely-hood Neo-Nazis trained by Canada, the USA and Britain will use to kill Russians.

      NATOstans unequivocal Death Aid providing partner ,,,,

    • Yup . It seems to me we in the west are living in Alice’s wonderland after reading MSM accounts of this war.
      Things like , the fellas who won WW2 are too stupid to pack more than 14 days worth of ammo , are so inexperienced they forgot to fill up on diesel before they left to go raping and pillaging , leaving their supply convoys of ammo food and diesel at the mercy of Ukrainian missiles , artillery , air power, small units where they would be totally destroyed after 2 ? weeks , stuck like sitting ducks .
      Or having cooped up Ukrainian forces in their cities a la ISIS and steadily destroying their army , ammo , air force , communications , radars , heavy units (artillery , tanks , APV’s ) the Ukrainians are still winning ?
      But what do I know . I have no military experience instead relying on common sense and the human ability to reason .
      But the thing that worries me Nick , is that Professional military intelligence circles seem to be filled with people who believe this and inform this MSM narrative . People like Paul Buchanan and Ben whose bias , illogical reasoning , and irrational analysis fills me with dread since I assume they reflect the opinions of people advising world leaders .
      And stupid reasoning leads to stupid actions .

      • Well Ra this is not the fella’s who won WW2. They had lost many Russian lives, had years of war to practice, and it was an actual war. Not an occupation just total conflict. That said of course all who fought in WW2 made horrendous mistakes/miscalculations but when you are surrounded my death what’s a few hundred more.

        I get the points about media bias but in the case of this flag ship there is no good news either way. Either the Ukrainians took it out or, even more worryingly, it simply blew itself up. Its kind of like Darth Vader trying to report (to Palpatine) what happened to the Death Star…a futile rebel force destroyed it, or Governor Tarkin left an appliance on. Either way there will be some very pissed off individuals.

  2. It has been suggested that the Russian withdrawal from around Kyiv it to safely (for the Russian troops) allow the Ukrainian capital to be the target of a small nuclear bomb. Should that happen NATO will absolutely have to step in and the Russians will have a real fight in regards air superiority.

    Strategically I think the denial of Ukrainian Black Sea access through the port of Odessa is now beyond the Russian ability to achieve.

    Long term will Russia ever regain a position of social expansion and interaction with the rest of the world (western at least – China and India and a few others, excluded)?

    Whether this be in sport, culture, academia, industrial cooperation, etc.

    Will Russia become isolated (like a North Korea)? How will the people (especially the young) react to the isolation?

    The UN has a big problem in what to do with Russia on the security council. If Russia remains it (the security council) is no longer fit for purpose and for all intense and purposes should be dissolved. Or can they deny Russia veto power?

    • “rest of the world (western at least – China and India and a few others, excluded)?”

      You let the cat out of the bag. Russia is not isolated, the “International Community” ie a handful of English speaking countries and vassal state Japan are the only ones pushing this war.

    • Russia has already been isolated, largely to facilitate domestic political objectives in the US.
      The idea that Russia might nuke Kyiv is ridiculous . They would be starting a nuclear war for no conceivable purpose.And Nato will not step in to create a no fly zone for the same reason.
      I assume the reason for the Russian navy near Odessa is not to facilitate the invasion of that city but to prevent the port from being used to import arms from the US and the rest of us.
      If the UN expels Russia from the security council it will be the end of the UN’s relevance .
      D J S

    • How is this child who is just one out of hundreds of thousands ,,, and possibly MILLIONS by the time the Usa has stolen and starved the same fate onto Afghanistan children ,,,

      How are these deliberate deaths ,,,, which are identical to the deaths suffered by children starved to death in concentration camps….

      ….How are the authors of these deaths any less culpable than the debased monsters who ran Concentration camps ??? how are they any less criminal ?.,,, any less deserving of punishment?. ,,,, Gerrit

      “approximately 1 in 10 newborn Afghan babies born since January 2022 have died – over 13,000 total ” ,,, How does Gerrit take the moral high ground over Russia ??,,,,

      ,,, by ignoring the unworthy victims “approximately 1 in 10 newborn Afghan babies born since January 2022 have died – over 13,000 total ” ,,,

      ,,, Gerrit would rather condemn the dastardly Russians and ignore the greatest purveyor of violence, murder and terror in the world ,,,

      “Over the past 20 years, as documented in the table below, U.S. and allied air forces have dropped over 337,000 bombs and missiles on other countries. That is an average of 46 strikes per day for 20 years. This endless bombardment has not only been deadly and devastating for its victims but is broadly recognized as seriously undermining international peace and security”

      if you’re not stupid Gerrit

      • Oh OK, that justifies the Russian excursion into Ukraine?

        USA did it first and worse then Russia so you Russians, go for. Kill as many to get near the USA tally. All justified by common reasoning.

        I think reasoning went out the door.

        Not condoning USA nor Russia. Simple no?

        • Nah Gerrit ,,,, You know that I’m not talking in past tense ,,,It’s happening right now.

          “the security council” is not fit for purpose as far as protecting all the children being deliberately starved to death by the Unmitigated Sadism Abroad ,,,, which is USA and NATO foreign policy ,, to kids all over the world ,,, year in and year out ,,, decade upon decade.

          … and the number of unworthy kids whose killers are immune from most criticism and any punishment ,,,, the number of unworthy kids they kill in one hour would eclipse by a large margin the number of Ukraine children killed in a day.

          All and any child deaths are a crime ,,,,, Did you ever speak up once for the children being killed in the Ukraine from 2014 by nazi dominated militias ? ,,,, with NATO training and weapons.

          Did you ever think or say that Ukraine, encouraged by the USA ,,, should stop ignoring and breaching the Minsk peace accord/agreement ,,, that they had signed ???.,,, and stop shelling and shooting civilians”” Did you?

          The children who had their lives ruined and wrecked in Ukraine feature in the first half of this video .,,,, the second half of the video has children from Iraq, Yemen Vietnam,,,, and the last two children shown are a brother and sister from the usa ,,,,,, Obama killed the boy with a drone strike ,,,, Trump killed his little sister years later in a raid similar to our SAS debacle in Afghanistan ,,, where we killed only civilians ,,

          ,the youngest child killed in our murderously botched Afghanistan shit show of a raid,,,,, was a little girl named Fatima, whose photo starts of the video.

          The NATO mission in Ukraine , which we as a “Partner”, albeit a boot licking one ,,, will extend the violence and destruction…. Afghanistan has had 44 years worth since the USA used them to fight a proxy war against Russia starting in 1979,,,, and you want Ukraine to be another Afghanistan ??

          here is some of the evil “enemy”,,,, from eastern Ukraine who Blair faced Ardern is spending Millions of our dollars trying to kill ,,,, Do they look like a ‘evil enemy’ ??The main character having some fun in this local self defense unit, Givi, ,, was murdered by Ukraine years ago ,,,,

          A younger Patric Lancaster does a few seconds cameo filming away in a batman shirt ,,, the song they are dancing to is ‘Daft Punk – Lose yourself to dance’,,,,NATO and Jacinda would kill them all with half a chance ,,,

          • Sorry getting lost in all your comma’s, reasoning is still USA and by extension UK , NATO, Ukraine=Bad. Russia= good. So Russia can kill the children and drop a missile into a crowded railway station? Oh OK.

            Sounds reasonable I guess. NOT!

        • I think Russia might have been watching US deal to the government one country after another that shows signs of independent success and popularity, and seeks to harness domestic resources for the benefit the domestic population.
          US doesn’t ever “win” a war, It just destabllizes the political structure leaving a political turmoil incapable of looking after the interests of the people and securing resources for their benefit.
          Russia might be the US’s most challenging resource based prize and Russia does not want to be that prize. And it will not be if Putin can prevent it.
          He can see the trap closing around his country and as he clearly in December , he is going to break out.
          D J S

  3. There were some excellent Twitter accounts giving a non Western propaganda version of events unfolding, but one by one Twitter has eliminated them in concerted effort by Silicon Valley to ensure the peasants only get the official White House/US State Department “”Adolf Putin” narrative marching us straight into nuclear war.

  4. The first casualty of war is the truth. We are subject to the biggest censorship ever, thanks to silicon valley algorithms. There is no chance of us knowing the truth anymore.
    What intrigues me, now that we are in for a full on war of NATO vs Russia, that for all “our” wars against Islam, this one is Eastern Christians vs Western Christians, and the westerners have been planning it for a long time!

  5. Anti missile systems are tricky beasts to manage!
    Cruise missiles have a tiny radar cross section, and if modern may have virtually no radar cross section. So in order to track incoming, modern navies use airborne radar and IR to track them; requiring careful coordination and communications plus a constant airborne picket. The US Navy has E2 Hawkeye for this purpose.
    Meanwhile ship based anti missile systems have very sensitive radars designed to pick up incoming missiles. The consequence is that they’ll track anything and everything – a passing seagull for example (no kidding). The only answer to this is to turn them off in anything other than a high state of readiness. So my guess is that they were hit before they had time to turn on their radars.
    A major asset like this should have been kept further offshore, there should have been picket destroyers between it and land and there should have been 24/7 aerial cover. Conclusion: The Russian Navy is run by idiots.

    • I have seen it claimed that the “drone interference” was a drone strike to the radar dome of the Moskva leaving it blind to the missile threat.
      If it’s a repeatable tactic we may not know the truth until after the war.

  6. do they care about ‘exclusion’ from the west is the real question especially with the rise of a new non-aligned association seemingly growing…is the US and it’s satellite countries the centre anymore? if not, who needs ’em

  7. I have found some different facts and viewpoints than what I have been seeing recently on here and in newspapers, surprise! So have put some links on – time to get real and look behind the sad, mad statistics. So something different from me, but perhaps not to other more informed.

    Some time this war should come to an end, and possibly there will have been some advantage for Russia’s deadly project and deaths of their forces. But then there are the Ukrainians, a constant tidal movement in their politics, now leaving large numbers of bodies.

    Could this fighting be attenuated – move straight to get out of jail and don’t pass go. Think end of WW2 and it was decided to deal to the aggressor by helping it onto its feet again. In the meantime the country which was the end goal, the UK, was paying off its lend lease to the 1960’s about.

    I think that lend-lease is being requested by Ukraine. Can we examine options, the UK which is all at sea already and has quite large Russian investment, should be able to find a Dr David Kelly expert with knowledge of Russia, plus another and make secret arrangements with Russian planners, to meet with a suitable Putin proxy and work out a quietly settled maneouvre out of the conflict with face being kept behind some subterfuge. Russia is on a hiding to nowhere. The UK might find in its odd head, some corner to do this. Ot is there a Russian expert who could have a meeting in some pragmatic country. I have been reading an old John Pilger book about some of the practices of the large powers, they can lie about everything and do what ever suits them. It would suit me as a citizen of this earth to see the war stop very soon if not immediately. Work out a cover story and find a way to appear to have achieved good outcomes, and do what Sussia wants within reason. I believe that Ukraine has said it won’t go to NATO or elsewhere. Ukraine have to assure Russian with some solid steps to give access to southern ports or whatever they deem worthy to request. Russian must offer something useful in return.

    It appears Russia is dropping and seems on the way to dropping out. This is not good, who would be next amongst the vulnerable. No use prating on how good the west is, they lie in their teeth which are false, same as t’

    How are you getting on Russia one could ask, and they might honestly say ‘ Not too good’. Anyway this vid seems to indicate problems for them coming up fast:

    Peter Zeihan Mar.22
    Geopolitical Strategist Peter Zeihan, the man who predicted Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

    Russia Last Stand in Ukraine & Demographics
    Peter Zeihan –

    Professor Stephen Cohen RIP – 2015

    2019/20? USA arms to Ukraine after Crimea –

    2017 Dugin – Interview on disinformation campaign –
    Shown frst time in April 2022.

    More Peter Zeihan – Who will Dominate the Geopolitical System in this Decade?
    Looking at India.

    • Excellent link thanks Greywarbler,

      Demographics are endlessly fascinating and really paint a picture of what is possible with the resources available. Basically Peter Zeihan is saying even if Russia wins and takes all of the Ukraine it will have lost. It simply cannot repopulate itself.

      The reference to the education system is an eye opener. Basically they have not invested in technical education for 30 years. Only in education an indoctrinate syllabus. Reminds me of the direction the New Zealand education system. Skilled Russian left the country when ever they could.

      Russian leadership is KGB based and in total is represented by only 150 ex KGB agents competent in national political leadership.

      Last gasp war!

      • I’ve been reading your comments on Russia Gerrit – informative I think. Finding factual information and cool analysis is welcome.
        About depopulation – can’t they take in imports as we have?
        Someone was denying that they haven’t kept up with education, but I wonder if it is general education whereas I think they were said to need the skilled workers and the professionals are lacking.

        People love to pile on to their favourite bete noir but as I read through history and atrocities I I have to take it quietly otherwise it gets you down too much. Things like a Hungarian mother and son getting to a work camp and the boy goes to the latrine and finds dead bodies of children there and what a shock for him. And the child that had been sheltered in France by Christians being taken by the Nazis or the Milice and the carer choosing to go with her knowing what was ahead. And Nancy Wake’s husband killing, and just the spirit of many who lasted through but felt others’ pain as well as their own. Even just being half starved under clothed and having to stand for hours in the cold for roll call, and you didn’t dare sag or fall over. And that was one location only, there were many others, and many countries. Then at the end were the death marches.

        This stir-up of numerous countries shouldn’t be happening, Russia is a symptom as well as an instigator. One would think it was the only atrocity and war for ages. There have been about 35 wars in r each of recent two years. And the well documented constant attacks with armaments on the Palestinians and their fight in Gaza. That cliche two rights don’ made a wrong. The regular fire power and the puny defence is awful to see.

        • Jewish children in Holland were hidden in plain sight with christian families during WW2.

          My parents were both involved and the number of children was substantial. All churches were involved.

          Led to a real problem after the war. Those children integrated into their foster families and naturally were reluctant to go back to their birth parents (if they returned) or go to new Jewish foster families and be reintroduced into the Jewish faith. Having in some cases spent 5 years being sheltered and protected by different families and faiths.

          • Most of the time consideration of war is in terms of physical damage and passes by the mental effects and changes on people especially children. Too often children are taken from long-time caregivers under legal requirement. Children bond to caring people who demonstrate their affection and provide moral, respectful, caring, stability, beyond just food and board, even if not the perfect ‘model’. (Boarding schools often don’t measure up in full to the above description!)

            I have read numerous accounts of the Netherlands during World War 2 risking lives to help others, becoming a long period of aid and nurturing. (I don’t think that Kiwis have ever been called on to help reliably maintain subterfuge and bravery for so long.) I read about Corrie ten Boom and her family, and the teen boy courier and those helping Anne Frank and family, who are just a few of the active people setting themselves against death.

            Outward signs of community and self-respect in Dutch citizens were the unvandalised sculptures I saw standing in the tulip park Keukenhof. In the early 70’s they were left unmolested by any dissolute youth and I felt the flowers and the way citizens respected hem was representative of the Dutch pride and support of their own place.)

            • You grow up with a different perspective in life when everyday walking to school you go past a brick wall where there is a large white wooden cross with a simple bronze plaque with a number on it. You find these in many places such as railway embankments, anywhere where innocent citizens were murdered. Those numbers speak to you. Make us proud they say, let us strengthen you. Don’t let this happen again. But it does. That is the sad part.

  8. “In coming days, Mariupol will surrender. Unfortunately, this is a foregone conclusion and inevitable.” – Nothing unfortunate about it from the point of view of the residents of Mariupol.

  9. The boomer Putin wants to keep all the posh houses to himself, he wants the boat, he wants the flash cars, he cares for nobody but himself. Even if his actions cause pain, hardship and death to his own people, especially the youth, he cares not, so long as he is alright and sees himself as ‘getting ahead’. I wonder how many of our own selfish wealth hoarders would do exactly the same thing if it meant they could have even more….


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