The Grayzone’s Max Blumenthal and Aaron Mate talk live with ex-UN weapons inspector and military expert Scott Ritter about the Russia-Ukraine war. Ritter provides a detailed analysis of the battlefield that stands in stark contrast to the rose-colored perspective of most Western analysts, and offers his perspective on the political follies that drove the conflict.
The following is excerpted from the transcript of Scott Ritter’s interview. (If you are viewing in YouTube, click the three dots after the SAVE option and choose Transcript.)
Listen to what the Russians said: The Russians are not engaged in a battle of territorial acquisition; normally when you seek to occupy somebody you seek to seize territory, hold territory, the territory becomes important.
Russia has two stated military objectives the first of which is denotification, that is to destroy the military units that are aligned with neo-nazi, ultra-nationalist political forces in Ukraine units like the Azov battalion units, like the Don battalion and others of that ilk; the Russians are seeking them out and destroying them on the field of battle as we speak.
The second is demilitarization, that is Russia has recognized that the Ukrainian military is a de facto proxy of NATO it has been trained for you know the past seven years by U.S. forces–NATO forces at training facilities and Ukraine trading facilities out of Ukraine to to be interoperable with NATO, meaning that you can take a NATO trained battalion of Ukrainian soldiers,, unplug them from Ukraine, plug them into a NATO exercise in Germany, and they’ll function seamlessly. They have the same command and control the same training tactics, etc. Russia views this as a proxy of NATO and has said this must be dismantled.
Russia gave the Ukrainian military the opportunity to do this peacefully: Stay in your barracks we’re gonna come in and we’re gonna get rid of all that NATO provided junk tha;t you were given. It’s actually pretty good equipment, but I mean that you know that’s the process of demilitarization–or you can seek to meet us on the field of battle and we’ll do it old school.
Unfortunately for both sides the Ukrainians have chosen old school. Now what does old school mean: Let’s come back to what I said at the beginning: this isn’t the Iraqi military, this isn’t a military that stood up the United States in 1991 and got destroyed on the field of battle, annihilated, and then spent the next decade plus unable to reconstitute itself because of economic sanctions, and therefore went up against the world’s finest combined arms fighting force in 2003 with nothing, and still put up a pretty good fight, by the way.
But my point is the Ukrainian military is the exact opposite. These are highly trained highly educated people who have been put through the road by their NATO trainers. You know there’s an interesting slide that the Department of Defense put out there it shows the the NATO training facility in western Ukraine that was bombed the other day, and it says we train up to five Ukrainian battalions a year to NATO standards.
What Russia has maintained and what was pretty apparent was that this [Donbass] was a de facto NATO base inside Ukraine, which is technically not a member of NATO, so you’re talking about de facto NATOization being the main factor in this war,,,I mean for Russia. This war was predicated by NATO’s appetite for eastern expansion, the expansion eastward to include Ukraine..