UKRAINE – RUSSIA CONFLICT: ESCALATION
By David Heyward
The present conflict has “vortex” implications due to its ability to ‘suck in’ foreign mercenaries for deployment on both sides. The overall picture is somewhat confusing distorted by propaganda, misinformation and journalistic rhetoric. Using available open source intelligence (OSINT), the following constitutes a cursory analysis: Russia has deployed between 10,000 to an improbable 70,000 Chechen troops (Kadyrov’s men); has accepted an estimated 16,000 volunteer fighters (ISIS troops); over 40,000 Syrians have reportedly registered to fight for Russia in Ukraine; there is an early suggestion that the Belarus 38th Air Assault Brigade (4,000 to 10,000 troops) may enter Ukraine (The Guardian, March 2022). However, it appears Belarus wishes to remain neutral. The Belarus military is reluctant to enter Ukraine. Some Belarus troops have fled to Ukraine to fight against the invading Russian troops. Russia has now effectively annexed Belarus and uses the country as a springboard to launch additional Russian troops into northern Ukraine. The white “Z” has been replaced by the red square on Belarusian conveys. Additionally Russia is actively recruiting foreign mercenaries to fight in Ukraine. Exact numbers are not known or withheld. The Wagner Group (WG) welcomes those with criminal records, debts, banned from other mercenary groups, or without an external passport (BBC News, 12 March, 2020). It is believed some 400 troops from WG are active in Ukraine. All up, at the very least Russia has deployed an estimated 26,400 mercenaries into Ukraine. The actual number may be much larger and is increasing as the conflict continues. Ukraine announced 13 March, 2020, that about 20,000 foreigners from various nations have joined the so-called International Legion for the Territorial Defence of Ukraine (most of them from Western countries). Volunteers from among the Ukrainian diaspora worldwide (i.e. between 12 and 20 million people) are prepared to go back to Ukraine to fight for their country of origin. The Ukraine Embassy in Washington DC has already received 6,000 enquiries. Many are Ukraine-American citizens. Some Western countries, among them Australia and the U.K. are preventing/discouraging these volunteers from fighting in their home country. A diplomatic means to de-escalate the conflict. Interestingly, “Wally” the sniper, a former member of the 22nd Canadian Royal Regiment, now in Ukraine; alleged to be the world’s greatest sniper, may have eliminated some Russian Generals and other high ranking officers behind the lines. False rumours abound that Wally may be dead. Israel is not likely to send troops to Ukraine preferring to act as a “broker” intermediary. On the propaganda front, Russia has accused the U.S. of recruiting ISIS members, training them at Al-Tanf Base; to fight against Russia in the Donbass region.
(Internet source). It may be concluded that Ukraine is closely matching the Russian deployment of mercenaries; perhaps behind by some 6,400 troops. The Syrian contingent will greatly bolster Russia’s proxy troops. As the conflict deepens, the swirling vortex will greedily swallow more mercenaries. Ukraine may yet be a mere sideshow – the elephant in the room is China. The ultimate goal of the Sino-Russian Bloc and its evil surrogates is to swallow up the free world to attain global hegemony.