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Shifting Russian strategy creating massive refugee crisis
Hey everyone, Peter Zeihan here coming to you from Colorado.
Today, I wanted to talk about the change in the Russian strategy, not necessarily from an economic point of view, but more from a political one.
The, the key issue was that giant convoy on the third day of the war that was coming from Belarus down to Kyiv, something like 40 miles long, thousands of vehicles. And it stalled out in a day because the Russians forgot fuel trucks. And then it got abandoned for a while because the Russians forgot food and logistical supply. And that’s kind of been the defining factor of the war to this point is the Russians just seem to be utterly incompetent in logistics and multi-domain operations.
So the West took one lesson from that, which I’ve already spoken to – we’ll include the link to that video, uh, lower down, but the Russians took another one.
The Russians now realize that they’re not gonna be welcomed in as liberators. And that means they view the entire Ukrainian population and anyone who supports them as a mortal enemy. The Russians feel that this is an existential crisis for them. They, they know that if they can’t advance just through Ukraine, but beyond it, that they’re not going to be able to survive in the long term from a strategic point of view. They just don’t have the demographic strength to do it. So the whole idea is you use your troops to plug gaps, but first they have to get through Ukraine. And so they’re falling back on a much older strategy. One they used against Napoleon. One they used against Hitler. One they used in Chechnya. One they used in Syria. And that is the complete obliteration of all civilian infrastructure. And the idea behind that is threefold.
Number one, if you make an area uninhabitable, in industrial age, then people feel they have to leave. So number two, it generates a huge number of refugees by design. And then third, you have a lot of people who, for whatever reason stay, most of whom are not fighters. But the Russians don’t care. Their idea is if you destroy all the civilian infrastructure and someone stays behind, then clearly they have an independent food supply that’s coming from abroad. So clearly they are a fair game and you can kill them on site.
To that end, the Russians have recalled most of their Wagner Group mercenaries. They’ve recruited militants from within the Syrian space. They’re tapping the Chechens, and basically the Russians are advancing slowly with artillery until there’s nothing left standing. And then they send in these groups to execute onsite everyone they find. We also know from Russian intercepts, that the Bucha massacres were not one-offs. They’re happening throughout the space that the Russians have occupied.
It’s, it’s inhumane by really any measure, but the Russians are very good at fighting this sort of war. Also by design, it generates a huge number of refugees. So as of April 29, the day I’m recording this, we already know there’s at least 8.3 million refugees who have fled the country. And another 7.7 that are internally displaced within the country. And the UN estimates that there’s another 12 million Ukrainians who are trapped in place by the war because of either destruction of the infrastructure or the shells are still falling. So that’s collectively, that’s half over half of Ukraine’s pre-war population. And we know now that the Russians are gonna do this everywhere. It doesn’t matter to the Russians who the target is. So for example, the cities of Kharkiv and Mariupol have been under assault since the beginning. These are ethnic Russians cities. These are places that were relatively pro-Russia before the war.
They’re certainly not now. And that means that the Russian strategy of tapping fifth columns before the war, probably isn’t gonna carry on cause whether you’re a Russian in Kazakhstan or Georgia or Latvia or Moldova, you now know that the Russians really don’t care about not just their ethnic kin, but their, their own ethnicity. And that changes some of the math.
Now because of the size of the refugee community, it’s already far larger than any refugee movements we have seen in history ever. And it’s happened so fast. So more people are now displaced than during even the Indian partitions. And there’s only so many people who can help.
One of the groups that can help is a group called the Afya Foundation, a f y a foundation.org. It’s a group that we have decided to help share with the world. And I’ve gotta say, I I’m really impressed with how much support all of you have gotten. It’s really helped a lot of people. And there’s so many more that are coming.
Afya Foundation gets equipment donated by hospitals. So the money that you give is purely just to get to the equipment to where it needs to go. Their entire workforce is volunteer both in the United States and beyond. Also, because of the situation and the nature of the Russian advance, since it’s designed to injure and displace as many people as possible, Afya is now partnering with a number of medics who have previous experience in combat zones to go into Ukraine and help with the evacuation.
And to that end, they have set up kind of a wishlist. It’s almost like a wedding registry on Amazon. We’re gonna have the link at the end of this video that you can use to donate whatever particular specific piece of equipment you’d like.
Just one word of warning. Don’t just click buy, choose a number first, otherwise like 500 things are gonna go into your inbox and wow. That would be hugely appreciated. Please do that on purpose rather than by accident. Okay. Uh, I think that is everything for me. All I can really underline is the people that are going into Ukraine with the help. Wow. So much braver than I am. I, I get a little skittish when I fly over Nebraska, just because I saw Children of the Corn when I was 15.
These are the heroes of the hour. We expect this war to continue to turn against the Ukrainians. This is the sort of conflict that the Russian military is actually trained for and any heavy equipment that the Ukrainians are getting donated from the West. It’s arriving, it’s making a difference, but this is not the kind of war that Ukrainians were trained to fight. So the Russians are gonna continue to make incremental gains across the entire country. And that means we have a country of 45 million people that is either going to descend into partisan warfare or into a massive refugee community or both. So please give what you can, so that folks like Afya can kinda get a jumpstart on this and help prevent the worst from happening. Thank you all. Until next time.
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