On June 1, the web site of Zvezda media company, the information outlet of the Russian armed forces, published a provocative article titled “A Sound of Thunder: How Russian Aerospace Forces in Crimea Will Destroy the US Missile Defense System” (archived publication). The article aggressively lashes out against the NATO countries and especially the United States. It is interesting that the information cited below did not appear in a second-class blog. It did not appear on the website of the loony Russian terrorist Igor Girkin. It was not announced by the maverick State Duma member Vladimir Zhirinovsky, famous for making outrageous statements. It was published by the official website of Russian armed forces media company.
We should like to quote the official Zvezda website here:
“…Today, Russian military pilots happily familiarize themselves with airfields in the Crimea.
Strategic missile-carrying bombers Tu-22M3 and Tu-95, attack bombers Su-24, strike fighters Su-25 and multipurpose fighters MiG-29 were spotted in the Crimean sky.
Of course, it is no coincidence that the Crimea is called “land-based aircraft carrier”, as its position gives control of practically all the airspace over the Black Sea, while Turkey, a NATO-member country, is within easy reach…”
“The Crimean peninsula, which is focused on being a training base for the Aerospace Force pilots, is also becoming a platform for patrolling flights of NATO-member countries in the Black Sea basin. Romania and Bulgaria, where it is planned to place a US missile defense facilities, are marked on the maps not only with the coastal beaches. And Turkey is also apparently marked with the facilities that may pose a potential threat to our country. So, every training flight of the Russian military aircraft also has a practical purpose now. Purely preventive, so far. And if we remember the cases of NATO ships in the Black Sea approaching Russia’s borders, then they obviously will not like the aircraft of our Aerospace Forces appearing overhead and performing training tasks, such as bomb dropping.”
Let us make things clear, Russia violated its international agreements, attacked a sovereign state of Ukraine, annexed the Crimea, and now declares that “from hence we shall take on NATO”. This behavior is quite in the spirit of a crazy terrorist: run into a supermarket with a bomb and a grenade launcher, take hostages and threaten to blast the whole neighborhood. And if anything goes wrong, kill the hostages one-by-one, while the residents of the neighborhood barricade and make sense of the ways to neutralize the maniac.
There is one problem, though. The role of the maniac bomber is filled in our plot by a permanent member of the UN Security Council with a veto power, a large nuclear arsenal, and a population of 140 million people, delirious about the revival of the long-dead USSR. He is also recklessly unaware or uncaring of the responsibility for his actions. So much so, that four wars triggered and waged on the territory of the former Soviet Union – in Moldova, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Ukraine – appeared not enough. In order to strengthen its negotiation stance on the lifting of sanctions and the grip on the occupied territories, Russia has deployed its warplanes in Syria, for several months in a row unremittingly bombing residential areas, schools and hospitals. The logic of the aggressor is simple: nobody would dare to face the maniac bomber, for fear of being threatened with nukes or of the “hostages” being killed one-by-one.
But the world is made in such a way, that for every action there is a reaction. And somebody starting a war, where innocent blood is shed, must be prepared to answer for the crimes before the law and the society. Must be ready to face the children and parents of the victims. Meet them. See the hatred in their eyes. See the hatred and contempt in the eyes of whole nations. This is the burden of a criminal, a killer.
Russia has repeatedly showed the whole world its fully conscious contempt of this killer’s burden. The proof is in the bravura speeches of Putin, Lavrov, Shoigu and Russian lawmakers, who praise the dubious “achievements” of the Russian armed forces, conquest of territories and violent crackdown on the resistance of local populations. Russian propaganda journos, the likes of Dmitry Kiselev and his colleagues, are doing overtime stoking hype around their murderous army and its exploits. Numerous selfies from Ukraine and Syria have appeared in our OSINT materials not by themselves. Russian servicemen also clearly love their “foreign missions” and often boast publicly, until they come to the attention of InformNapalm, Bellingcat and many other teams of investigators and bloggers conducting social network analysis and monitoring of open sources.
It is amazing, that with such a devoted love of their work and the mass support of the Russian army by the Russians, they, for some reason, are not pleased when the names and faces of these “heroes” become known to the general public and appear in the reports of foreign journalists and bloggers.
This publicity is equally resented by the representatives of the Russian media. For example, just recently a federal Channel 5 erupted in a true hysteria over the publication of the analytical report of the InformNapalm international volunteer community featuring the data of 58 crew members of the Russian airforce carrying out missile and bomb strikes on Syrian territory.
We offer you our analysis of this story:
Based on an analysis of data from open sources, InformNapalm OSINT experts found that the Syrian campaign involved at least 41 planes of eight divisions of the Russian airforce. We managed to identify 58 officers of the crews of Tu-95, Tu-160 and Tu-22M strategic bombers, Su-24 attack bombers, Su-30 multipurpose fighters, Su-25 support strike aircraft and IL-20 electronic intelligence aircraft. All the information gathered by our volunteers was displayed in the detailed infographics, which indicated the ranks, surnames, dates of birth and other data of Russian pilots, tail and side numbers of the aircraft, military units and airfileds of permanent deployment. This information has been already labeled by the Russian media as “classified and posing a particular threat”. We just do not understand why. If the Russian Federation hails these people as heroes, and not war criminals, why being ashamed? Let their “heroism” be known to all.
However, the Russian authorities are well aware that the “heroism” is nothing more than an empty myth for the gullible. And ostentatiously publicized “war on ISIS” is actually a war on the forces of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and even more so – on civilians. The InformNapalm infographics, of which the Russian media are so critical, are providing the details of the destroyed infrastructure and casualties among the civilian population of Syria caused by air raids of the Russian airforce. According to statistics, over 80% of Russian air strikes did not achieve any military objectives against the ISIS terrorists. They were aimed against peaceful Syrian citizens or the FSA, instead. As a result of the military operations of the Russian Federation, 25 residential areas, 65 schools, 5 refugee camps, 52 hospitals and mobile first-aid posts were destroyed in Syria.
In fact, Russian military pilots have a lot to fear, because they violate international humanitarian law, and they know it. They know that the orders to bomb densely populated residential areas are criminal, but they consciously follow them for the sake of their career advancement. But will they have enough courage to face the relatives of their victims when they will face the court for their war crimes?
In light of recent publications of Zvezda, the media outlet of the Russian armed forces, containing deliberate threats to use the airforce against NATO, our publication on the military air crews becomes important not only for the world’s human rights organizations. They gain strategic importance. Russian pilots, knowing that their names and faces are known to the world community, will think twice before carrying out new criminal orders of their command. Career or not, they will be held personally accountable.
Because of the information collected by the volunteers, the international community now knows practically every Russian pilot who went through Syrian “training”. And it is them, who will be sent to bomb the cities of Ukraine or Turkey, or other NATO member countries, as Zvezda is threatening.
This information has been prepared by volunteer investigators of the InformNapalm international volunteer community, an active link to our project is obligatory for any reprint or further public use of the material.
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