Nazi, Drones, and Desertions: Inside Ukraine’s Military Turmoil


by Jeff Childers

A bizarre and revealing war story launched yesterday. Forbes ran the article under the tantalizing and futuristic headline “Robots Reinforce Ukraine’s Most Vulnerable District As A Key Brigade Melts Down” Robots!

The main reason I called the article bizarre is that, in spite of the word’s prominent appearance in the headline, “robot” does not appear anywhere else in the article until the second to last sentence. But it’s even weirder than that; the article’s final sentence revealed that, when Forbes was talking about robots, it just meant drones. Do drones satisfy the intrigue and curiosity raised by the article’s dramatic, Terminator II-style headline?

This was literally the only place robots were even discussed in the article, and it turned out to be drones:

Syrskyi seems to appreciate the risk. It’s not for no reason that he singled out Chasiv Yar for a major robotic reinforcement… One obvious advantage of drones over human soldiers: they don’t have politics.

I don’t know who needs to hear this, but drones aren’t robots. Not proper ones, anyway.

Weird. If not robots, what was the article really about? Remember how much media coverage they gave the Russian Wagner Group mini-mutiny?  I think that’s what this article is kind of describing, except from the Ukrainian side, and buried under a journalistic chicken coop of distraction.  Let’s dig it up and see what we find.

First of all, to make Ukraine’s setback sound less bad, Forbes was forced to admit the Nazi thing. If you ever needed a link to send people who refuse to believe that the Ukrainian army is packed with literal Nazis, this Forbes robot article should do the trick.  It tuned out that Ukraine, the world’s last hope to save democracy, is silly with National Socialists:

The Ukrainian military has labored, for years, to root out far-right extremists in its ranks. The latest clash between the extremists and the defense ministry in Kyiv couldn’t have come at a worse time—or in a worse place. The terrible task of defending the critically important district initially fell to the 67th Brigade, a 2,000-strong all-volunteer unit that formed around the Ukrainian Volunteer Corps, which is part of the far-right Right Sector political group.

The Right Sector’s former leader, Dmytro Yarosh, said he draws inspiration from Stepan Bandera, a Ukrainian nationalist considered a Nazi collaborator. But there were enough extremists in the brigade that it became a problem.

Forbes was shooting for a narrative that the battle setbacks are actually good because it’s part of “rooting out” Nazis. (When Forbes describes the Right Sector political group as being “far-right,” it means Nazi. It’s funny how corporate media so easily finds Nazis here in America, but has too much difficulty locating them in Ukraine. I wonder how Ukraine’s Nazis feel about cross dressing.)

The most troubling report was, well, look at what these Nazis were doing to unsuspecting new recruits:

Kyiv discovered, among other scandals, that the 67th Brigade’s officers were sending new volunteers—those without ties to the Right Sector—into combat with inadequate training and support. The officers derisively called the new volunteers “pixels” after the pixelated pattern on their newly-issued uniforms. As bad as the Right Sector troops’ attitude was toward apolitical troops, “the attitude toward the ‘pixels’ was even worse,” Ukrainian Pravda reported. “They were the first to be sent into combat.”

It might be amoral, but those Ukrainian Nazis aren’t dumb. Let the new guys give the Russians target practice. They’re pretty much useless for anything else, anyway.

The problem is though, that kind of practical thinking is bad for the recruiting effort. So Forbes explained that, in response to this shocking situation of pixelated soldiers, Ukraine dissolved the Nazi 67th Brigade and merged it with other units. On purpose.

The article then ambiguously reported, “In losing the 67th Brigade, defenders also lost the 67th Brigade’s tanks and artillery.” Why? Was it because the tanks and artillery were re-assigned to other units not on the front? Why not keep the tanks and artillery at the front?  It wasn’t completely clear from the article.

But several war bloggers claimed the veteran 67th Nazi Brigade was mad because Kiev kept sending it straight to the front. So it got fed up and yesterday dramatically abandoned its position on the line — fleeing, in protest — and leaving behind for the Russians the 67th’s tanks and artillery and other equipment.

If the story is true, it would be a major military failure, at a key strategic location, at a very bad time for the war, and it deserved much more fulsome coverage than being buried inside a fake story about Nazi war robots.

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