Let me state up front that there are many brave, courageous Ukrainian soldiers fighting for their nation. Unfortunately, many of these soldiers are irredeemable bigots. It is indisputable that many in the ranks of the Azov battalion celebrate Nazi “theology” and embrace Adolf Hitler. No amount of rewriting history can erase the bloody legacy Hitler carved into the land and peoples of Europe during the Second World War.
So what are we to make of Justin Banse? You will meet him in the following video. He does not strike me as a racist or an anti-semite. He seems like a fairly normal 22 year old who is not a deep thinker and not well educated. Maybe that explains how he could have joined forces with some modern day Nazis.
If you take the time to watch the video — warning, it is more than 3 hours long — you will understand my confusion. It is a shame that the guy conducting the interview is so clueless. He should have pressed Justin to explain how he could excuse the Nazi beliefs and then fight along side the Azov guys. But he did not.
In a way, Justin is a victim of his prior military service with the United States. What he experienced as combat against the Taliban (I’m assuming that he did), was not real war. His testimony in this video perfectly illustrates a point that Andrei Martyanov makes repeatedly — i.e., the United States has not experienced a peer to peer war since Korea. Justin’s account also confirms a point I have made in previous posts about the lack of artillery and air support for attacking Ukrainian units. They are relying solely on ground forces and vehicles and those are no match for heavy artillery, rockets, missiles and aerial strafing.
Justin does inadvertently reveal the problems facing the Ukrainian soldiers. For example, he states that the 200 man company he was assigned to was ordered to Mariupol. He was left behind and the company was wiped out. None returned, according to Justin.
I feel sorry for the kid. His very soul was scarred by this experience and it will haunt him for the rest of his life. He has discovered the sickening reality of war that combat veterans of World War I and World War II experienced, regardless of the army they fought for.
Justin’s account of the casualties inflicted on his unit corroborates the daily briefings by the Russian Ministry of Defense. Some Western analysts have insisted that the Russians are lying or exaggerating. Based on Justin’s emotional recounting of his experience, it would appear the Russian MOD is understating the casualties inflicted on Ukrainian units.
I think the war in Ukraine is entering a new phase. Russia has reinforced troops on the front and supplied them with additional fire power. At some point before the end of the year I anticipate that Russia will launch a massive counter offensive. No matter how tenaciously and bravely the Ukrainian troops fight, they are at a disadvantage. They have limited supplies of artillery shells, reduced armor and no air support. While not impossible, it is unlikely that they will be able to stop a full blown Russian attack across a broad front.
Compounding the dilemma of the Ukrainian troops is the growing difficulty to resupply their front line fighters with ammunition, weapons, food and vehicles. Russia’s strategy of crippling the electrical power grid of Ukraine is working and this, in turn, is making it more difficult to keep open the lines of communication.
I hope you take the time to watch this video. While it is the story of just one soldier caught in hell, I believe it is representative of what Ukrainian soldiers are experiencing in their battles with Russia.