World at War
Putin’s New Ukraine Commander Dubbed “General Armageddon” For Ruthless Track Record
“Russia and Russia’s commanders are worried about the state of their military machine,” the head of British intelligence agency GCHQ Jeremy Fleming, told BBC Radio on Tuesday. “We can see that desperation at many levels inside Russian society and inside the Russian military machine,” he described in an assessment which comes days after a big Russian military command shake-up.
Following the past weeks of a rapid roll-back of Russian positions in Ukraine’s east, President Vladimir Putin sacked two of his senior military commanders and appointed General Sergey Surovikin to lead the next the next phase of the war effort in Ukraine, which began with Monday’s major escalation in airstrikes on over a dozen cities, which was a response to the Kerch Bridge bombing.
Pundits and journalist in the West are widely casting Gen. Surovikin’s appointment as part of a new “gloves off”, more brutal offensive to come on the heels of last month’s partial mobilization order which has involved calling up some 300,000 reservists to support the “special operation”. He was previously head of the air force.
Mainstream press reports have already labeled him “General Armageddon” for his reputation as being “absolutely ruthless” – particularly in the prior command role which saw him gain most battlefield experience: Syria.
Within Russian establishment media circles which lean hawkish, Surovikin has been hailed as a “legendary” commander and as the country’s “most competent” general. According to a brief review of his rise through top echelon ranks in Al Jazeera:
The general, born in 1966 in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk, was announced as the head of Russia’s southern military grouping in its war on Ukraine in June.
Surovikin received the title of Hero of Russia and was awarded a medal for his service in Syria in 2017, where he led the Russian military expedition as commander of the Aerospace Forces.
He is known for being totally “ruthless” in the Russian military, according to a report (PDF) by the Jamestown Foundation, a US defence policy think-tank.
“Surovikin made a stellar career in the top echelons of the General Staff and defence ministry after 2008, during the radical military reform that required ruthlessness,” read the report, adding that his “readiness to vigorously execute any orders trounced any potential questions about his checkered curriculum vitae”.
Now in succeeding Gen. Aleksandr Dvornikov in the role of top commander over the Ukraine operation, Surovkin faces the immense pressure of seeking to deliver Putin’s key objectives, even as NATO backers of Kiev ramp up their own intelligence-sharing and arms resupply efforts.
This week UK intelligence put out an assessment saying Surovikin “will likely have to contend with an increasingly factional Russian defense ministry which is poorly resourced to achieve the Kremlin’s objectives in Ukraine.”
According to more on his checkered past reaching back to the political discord of 1990’s post-Soviet struggles, he spent “two stints in jail for allegedly selling weapons and for leading a military column against protesters during the 1991 coup,” The Guardian reviews. “He has also previously served in Tajikistan and Chechnya.” And more:
“For over 30 years, Surovikin’s career has been dogged with allegations of corruption and brutality,” wrote British intelligence officials in a recent report on Surovikin’s likely promotion to lead the southern military group.
During the 1991 coup d’état attempt launched by Soviet hardliners, Surovikin, then a captain, led a rifle division that drove through barricades erected by pro-democracy protesters. Three men were killed in the clash, including one who was crushed.
The report further speculates that “With the appointment, the Kremlin may also be seeking to combat criticism from nationalists who have accused the army of mismanaging the war in Ukraine and of failing to use harsh tactics to try to force the Kyiv government to submit.” Some of those ‘harsher tactics’ have been on display with Monday into Tuesday’s large-scale bombing waves of major Ukrainian cities, particularly focused on energy infrastructure.This post was originally published at Zero Hedge
World at War
Seymour Hersh makes new Nord Stream sabotage claim
The Pulitzer Prize winner has alleged the US blew up the pipelines because it was unhappy with a lack of German support for Ukraine
US President Joe Biden ordered the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines because he was unhappy with the level of support provided by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to Ukraine in its conflict with Russia, veteran investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has claimed.
Hersh first accused Washington of destroying the key European energy route in an article released in February, and made more allegations in an interview with the China Daily newspaper published on Friday.
“The [US] president was afraid of Chancellor Scholz not wanting to put more guns and more arms [forward for Kiev]. That’s all. I don’t know whether that it was anger or punishment, but the net effect is that it cut off a major power source through Western Europe,” Hersh claimed.
Despite attempts by the US to deny its involvement in the Nord Stream attack, “Europe is in crisis now” and Biden will receive “a lot of criticism for what he did” in the coming months, the journalist argued.
The Pulitzer Prize winner alleged that “the people that were initially asked to do the job” of destroying the pipelines were contacted by US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan towards the end of 2021.
The initial purpose of mining Nord Stream 1 and 2, built to deliver Russian gas to Europe through Germany, was “to give the [US] president an option to say to [Russian] President Putin, ‘If you go to war [in Ukraine], we’re going to destroy the pipelines,’” Hersh claimed.
Biden himself publicly confirmed that stance but “unfortunately, those people in the Western press seemed to have forgotten,” the journalist stated.
Just under three weeks before the launch of Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine, Biden warned during a press conference on February 7 that “if Russia invades… there will no longer be a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it.”
According to Hersh, the US leader decided to order the detonation of mines at the bottom of the Baltic Sea last September because the conflict “wasn’t going great in Ukraine” from a US perspective. There was “at best a stalemate”during that period, in what Hersh described as “the American war that President Biden was so eager to support.”This post was originally published at RT
World at War
Russian Military Warns Uranium Shells Will Cause Irreversible Harm To All Ukrainians
The Russian military has weighed in on the UK’s plans to supply depleted uranium tank rounds to Ukrainian forces, which was announced by UK’s junior Defense Minister Annabel Goldie in a Tuesday parliament briefing.
Lt. Gen. Igor Kirillov, the head of the radiation, chemical and biological defense troops of the Russian armed forces, told a press briefing Friday that the weaponry will cause irreparable harm to all Ukrainians, whether civilian or military.
“Despite the fact that the use of such ammunition [with depleted uranium] will cause irreparable harm to the health of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the civilian population, NATO countries, in particular the UK, express their readiness to supply this type of weapon to the Kiev regime,” Kirillov said.
“As a result of the impact of a depleted uranium munition, a mobile hot cloud of a finely dispersed aerosol of uranium-238 and its oxides is formed, which, when exposed to the body in the future, can provoke the development of serious diseases,” Kirillov said.
He described that when compounds in the advanced ammunition seeps into the soil or disperses across the environment, it will be “dangerous for people, animals and the environment for a long time.”
On Wednesday, Britain responded to Russian officials saying this constitutes escalation on the nuclear front, given that Kiev will be handed “nuclear components”…
James Cleverly, Britain’s foreign secretary, told reporters on Wednesday that there was “no nuclear escalation,” adding, “The only country in the world that is talking about nuclear issues is Russia.”
Depleted uranium has for decades been used by NATO, and was known for being used against Serbian forces in the late 1990’s, as well as in Iraq. It is two-and-a-half times denser than steel, and thus can penetrate armor, for example it can cut straight through tanks.
China has previously condemned the use of depleted uranium by the Western alliance:
But it not only has radioactivity but is toxic to humans long after being dispersed on the battlefield. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova emphasized this in an initial Kremlin reaction on Tuesday…
“Yugoslav scenario. These shells not only kill, but infect the environment and cause oncology in people living on these lands,” she said, in reference to cancer and other deadly ailments.
“By the way, it is naive to believe that only those against whom all this will be used will become victims. In Yugoslavia, NATO soldiers, in particular the Italians, were the first to suffer. Then they tried for a long time to get compensation from NATO for lost health. But their claims were denied,” she said.This post was originally published at Zero Hedge
World at War
Medvedev Warns Germany Arrest of Putin Will be Declaration of War on Russia
Says Moscow could bomb the International Criminal Court.
Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev has warned Germany that any attempt to arrest President Vladimir Putin will represent a declaration of war on Russia and said Moscow could respond by bombing the International Criminal Court.
Medvedev made the threat after the the International Criminal Court at the Hague issued an arrest warrant for Putin, accusing him of perpetrating war crimes by being involved in the forcible transfer of children from Ukraine to Russia.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he supported the ruling and during a visit to Japan said “no one is above the law.”
Russia, which doesn’t recognize the authority of the ICC and is not a member of it, hasn’t reacted kindly.
“Some idiots, halfwits like the German justice minister, say, ‘Well, if he comes, we’ll arrest him.’.. Does he understand what that means? Let’s imagine… the incumbent head of a nuclear state arrives on the territory of, say, Germany and is arrested. What is this? A declaration of war on the Russian Federation!” Medvedev said in an interview Russian media outlets.
Medvedev said Moscow would respond by targeting “the Bundestag, the chancellor’s office, and so on.”
The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant against Vladimir Putin. No need to explain WHERE this paper should be used🧻.
— Dmitry Medvedev (@MedvedevRussiaE) March 17, 2023
The former president even suggested in a Telegram message sent to his followers that Russia could bomb the ICC headquarters.
“It is quite possible to imagine the targeted use of a hypersonic launch from the North Sea from a Russian ship at the Hague courthouse,” wrote Medvedev, describing the court as “shitty” and “useless”.
“The court is just a miserable international organization,” he added, noting that those working within it should “carefully look into the sky” to see if they can spot Russian missiles.
He went on to add that Russian relations with the west “have probably never been worse in history” and that NATO’s goal was to wipe out Russia altogether.
“They do not want to see the Russian Federation itself, they don’t need us. And this is their geopolitical, geostrategic idea of very old times. Why do they need such a country, which has a huge territory and the most serious nuclear shield, and which does not even obey the Americans?” said the former president.
Meanwhile, Russian law enforcement officials have opened up their own criminal investigation into the International Criminal Court, focusing on judges and prosecutors who made the decision to issue the arrest warrant for Putin.
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