After the Russian military finally secured the Azov steelworks in Mariupol, investigations continue to determine how many non-Ukrainian soldiers and army personnel are among those arrested. This includes an unknown number of British citizens.
by Sergei Axyonov
The work of specialists with the prisoners from the Azov Steel Plant continues. Among them are also non-Ukrainians, shared DVR boss Denis Puschilin with. More details – names, ranks, tasks – will be announced later. Until then, the almost 2,500 people will be searched, questioned and identified. Nevertheless, initial information is already circulating in the media. Among other things, a certain British lieutenant colonel is named John Bailey and four NATO military instructors reported. A Russian will surely think the English are playing another nasty trick. That’s the way it is.
The Ukrainian soldiers who surrendered to the Russian troops are already handing over the British to Russian investigators. For example, there was talk of a certain Shaun Pinner, an alleged sniper who surrendered near the Ilyich Metallurgical Works in April as part of a unit of the 36th Separate Brigade of the Ukrainian Marines. The Briton himself claimed that although he volunteered to join the Ukrainian armed forces, he was more likely to be deployed in combat support and worked as a cook. However, the mercenary is accused of attempting the life of a Russian soldier.
The British Isles are now worried about their own people. At least three former British soldiers are being held at the Azov Steel Works – two infantrymen with Afghanistan experience and a military doctor, wrote the Daily Express a few days before the collective surrender. The three arrived in Ukraine before the start of the special operation to fight in the east of the country, but were then sent south to support the “Azov” regiment. Among those arrested was a seriously wounded Briton who had been deployed since 2014. Interestingly, the “Azov” men did not commit suicide, although they each retained a bullet, he said Daily Express.
British involvement was also confirmed by former Ukrainian hero and Colonel Vladimir Baranyuk, commander of the 36th Brigade, who had previously surrendered. According to him, one of the Brits was called Aiden, but he said he couldn’t remember the other. Both were “adventurers”, i.e. private individuals. What is not unusual: in every people there are daredevils or those who want to appear as such, and who find it difficult to stay at home in the face of historical turbulence. Remember Lord Byron, who was equally thrill-seeking and died absurdly in Greece. This means that official London probably has no part in this specific case.
However, this does not mean an acquittal for Britain’s systematic military influence in the Ukraine conflict. Rather, there are indications of the involvement of a major in the British armed forces in Kiev’s unsuccessful attack on Snake Island, in which several waves of Ukrainian landing troops and equipment were destroyed by the Russian military. British officers were also seen in the Zaporozhye region preparing maps of the operational situation. It is known that before the start of the special operation, the British were working at the headquarters of the Ukrainian anti-terrorist operation (ATO) in Kramatorsk, they passed on intelligence information from NATO to the Ukrainians. Their activity was thus aimed directly at Russia.
In any case, special importance is attached to the work of the secret services in London. The production and dissemination of misinformation is an important part of informational and psychological warfare. The notorious experience of the “White Helmets” in Syria, who unscrupulously shot videos to discredit Bashar al-Assad’s regime, is now being used here against the Russian military as well. The general impression is that traditional warfare on the battlefield is now largely waged for the sake of action on the political field.
It is only the Ukrainians who actually fight, while the British skim off the profits.
London also did a decent job of upgrading the Ukrainian army and national battalions. Deliveries of Swedish anti-tank guided missiles NLAW and their own Brimstone-Missiles are just part of the vast array of military hardware fueling the conflict. In the main, the efforts are aimed at the worldwide purchase of Soviet-made weapons (by a total of 23 countries) and their transport to Ukraine. According to British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, “a significant part of the Ministry of Defense and the military attachés” are now dealing with this. Of course, the UK lags behind the US with its $40 billion, but their share is significant.
The most important contribution that London makes to the Ukraine conflict is probably the anger and hatred of Russia. While Washington, DC has its usual and consistent level of hostility towards Moscow, the British seem to have recently become rabies-stricken. This is due to the human factor. “The path to a ceasefire is blocked by the warmongers far away: a trio of senior members of the British government. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Defense Secretary Ben Wallace are using the Ukraine conflict to bolster their political capital,” writes Bloomberg.
Among other things, this story helps British Prime Minister Johnson to fend off attacks from his opponents, who, for example, accuse him of disregarding his own anti-COVID rules. At a time when law-abiding Britons were sitting in isolation due to measures to stop the spread of the virus, the Prime Minister famously threw lavish parties down Downing Street. But even if Johnson were removed from his post, it would not be the end of British imposture. Truss and Wallace are the likeliest successors to the disheveled blond, and their war rhetoric and, more importantly, their actions could prove far more uninhibited.
However, as often as Russia has faced the military and political intrigues of London in its history, it has successfully mastered those confrontations. Although Churchill may have been a hardened and politically astute schemer, he too had to give in to the moustachioed Georgian, Father Joe. Even today, in a new chapter in history, London – swept up in the “war” with Russia – is in danger of receiving a blow from a quarter it didn’t expect – its own. The British Empire could lose its existence as we know it in the next few years.
Because the desire for independence is inherent not only in Kyiv, but also in Edinburgh. Supporters of secession from England are growing in number in Scotland. Recently their number has exceeded half of the population. In the referendum on Scottish independence planned for late 2023, the territory will almost certainly opt for its own political path and possibly even return to the European Union. And the break with Scotland would be far more serious for England than Russia’s break with Ukraine.
But that’s not all. A similar trend is emerging in Wales. It may not be as pronounced there as in Scotland, but every beginning is difficult. With Edinburgh leaving Britain, Cardiff might wish to break free from London’s political schemers. And to top it off – the possible separation of Northern Ireland from England, where the Sinn Féin party is currently holding elections won and has already announced the goal of reunification with mainland Ireland.
Clearly, then, Britain’s domestic affairs are about to get out of hand. The post-war loss of its colonies around the world, including the crown jewel of India, was just the beginning of the end for the former hegemon. The next season of this process will soon follow. After losing Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, England will be a pitiful fragment of the greatness of Transcarpathia. London will lose interest in Ukrainian-style adventures. The country should pay attention to the flames in its own home. Moscow, which is calmly and methodically taking down the Ukrainian army, should bear in mind this prospect of compensatory justice.
Whoever digs a pit for others falls into it himself. That’s what people say – also in Russia.
translation from the Russian
Sergei Axjonow is a journalist, political scientist and writer
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