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Vanessa Beeley

Vanessa Beeley
26 May 2022 | 12:28 pm

The BBC Uighur Deception, China, Ukraine - UK Column News


Brian Gerrish, Mike Robinson, Debi Evans and Vanessa Beeley:

Vanessa Beeley
26 May 2022 | 11:08 am

After Ukraine - reappraising US role in the Middle East


By Peter Ford

But the seismic impact of Russia's invasion of Ukraine requires the United States to reconsider its role not just in Europe, but in that perennial graveyard of foreign policy, the Middle East. While the bar for success in the region is low, the Biden team has made no irretrievable mistakes, responded well to its one crisis (the 2021 Hamas-Israel outbreak), and embraced Trump's biggest success (the Abraham Accords). It has withdrawn troops where it should have, from Afghanistan, however messy the execution, and kept them where needed: Iraq, Syria and in the Gulf States.   - James Jeffrey

Writing in Al Monitor, James Jeffrey, Mike Pompeo's point man on Syria and now strap hanger in a pro-Israeli Washington think tank (where else?), pontificates on the need for the US to refocus on Middle East issues in light of Ukraine. Predictably this centurion of the American empire draws the opposite of any sensible conclusions. 

Any objective policy adviser would be asking whether poking the Russian bear and eventually providing Russia with another opportunity after Syria to confront and make gains against what Jeffrey calls euphemistically the 'US collective order' (i.e. empire) was a great idea. But no, Jeffrey, in common with most of Washington, sees Ukraine on the contrary as an illustration of the validity of the 'US collective order', and the setback in Syria as a reason to double down. 'With Ukraine has the world not now come together to realise how important it is to belong to the US-led 'global order'?  

Actually no, outside Western Europe not by a long chalk, and Jeffrey is forced to concede that those pesky Gulf states (and Turkey) which have been conspicuously refusing to join in the hybrid war against Russia must be brought to heel, because collective security is a two way street. They must be brought 'to vote the right way' at the UN, join in imposing sanctions, and help in the West's boycott of Russian oil and gas. 

In return, the US should be more attentive to the Gulf states' concerns over Iran and stop nagging them over human rights. 

Raising briefly our hopes of a little realism kicking in, the former ambassador to Turkey goes on to say that the US in the new post-Ukraine environment should  dial back on seeking 'transformational  interventions' in the Middle East, which he acknowledges have largely failed and brought ('inadvertent') devastation to Iraq, Syria and Libya. 

Ah, so does this mean pulling US troops back from North East Syria and halting efforts to balkanise and destabilise Syria? Far from it. Jeffrey applauds the Biden administration's leaving of troops in both Syria and Iraq and sees a need to keep America's knee on Syria's neck, not least to thwart Iran. 

Jeffrey lets his pro-Israeli views come further into focus when he advocates halting the expenditure of efforts on bringing Israel and the Palestinians to some form of agreement (as if any serious such efforts had been going on!).

He has warm words for the Abraham accords, whereby the Gulf states have washed their hands of the Palestinians and pacted with Israel against Iran. It does not occur to Jeffrey, or Washington generally, that poking Iran might have consequences too.

The former ambassador advocates in fact abandoning efforts to revive the nuclear accord with Iran (JCPOA) allegedly because with the passage of time its value has declined. He does not consider what conclusions Iran might be drawing from Ukraine. After all, with much of Washington visibly salivating at the possible prospect of a debacle in Ukraine leading to regime change in Russia, and Russia only protected in the last analysis by its possession of nuclear weapons, might Iranians not reasonably draw the conclusion that the sooner they get their own the better?

Washington of course has long been way out at the end of the autistic spectrum in terms of appreciating that other countries might see things differently, and might not relish the prospect of becoming another cog in a global order designed always to put America's interests and obsessions first.

There never was much chance that Washington would draw any cautionary lessons from Ukraine and Jeffrey's article only goes to confirm that.    

***

Vanessa Beeley
21 May 2022 | 9:24 am

China: The Belt and Road Initiative with Matt Ehret


"One of the most consequential landmarks in Chinese-Arab relations is the 'Arab Policy Paper' released by China in 2016. The paper emphasised historic cooperation, peaceful relations and the openness of each civilisation towards the other. [..] noticeably it encouraged China and the Arabs to work together on 'building a new type of international relations' that would safeguard state sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity."

Excerpt from a research paper produced by Wathiqat Wattan Foundation in Damascus, Syria.

In this conversation Matt Ehret clarifies the relevance of China's Ancient Silk Road to the modern day geopolitical power games that are playing out globally. Western propaganda designed to criminalise China is dissected and while not all questions are answered as the world hegemonic schisms are being revealed to us, this conversation should bring insight and transparency to many legitimate concerns about our future.

Vanessa Beeley
18 May 2022 | 1:21 pm

Torture in Ukraine - Harrowing testimony from Journalist Laurent Brayard


Stratpol (pro-Russian media) recently interviewed Laurent Brayard, a French journalist and pro-Donbass activist who has been collecting testimonies of Ukraine's prison survivors: militiamen, spies or innocent passerby, the stories he collected shed a new light on the historical roots of the ongoing conflict, and the methods used by Ukrainians since 2014.

What is most horrifying albeit entirely expected - the Red Cross and UN appear to be totally aware of these horrors yet have done nothing.

WARNING: Distressing content 

Vanessa Beeley
17 May 2022 | 2:40 pm

BBC rewriting history in Syria for Global Britain


True to form, the BBC appears to have been tasked with revisionism on the history of the U.K role in the destabilisation of Syria and the failed UK/US-led regime change campaign that began pre-2011.

A new BBC"drama" has been released. Entitled "Red Lines" it has been written by Sir Craig Oliver and Sir Anthony Seldon. Oliver is former Director of Politics and Communications for British Prime Minister David Cameron who pushed hard for U.K military intervention in Syria after the 2013 alleged chemical weapon attack attributed to the Syrian government.

Oliver was previously Controller of English news output for BBC Global News. The BBC led the regime change narrative charge against Syria from the outset of the externally orchestrated war launched in 2011.

Seldon is a honorary historical adviser to 10 Downing Street. As an author, he is known in part for his political biographies of Margaret Thatcher, John Major, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Theresa May. I am sure there is no conflict of interest (sarcasm intended) involved in writing the history of the war against Syria incubated and managed by at least three of those political leaders.

I asked former British Ambassador to Syria, Peter Ford, for a brief review of what we might expect from this BBC effort to whitewash the UK Foreign Office role in destroying Syria and collectively punishing the Syrian people for eleven long years. This is what he said:

The saying goes that victors get to write the history of conflicts. In the case of Syria it's the opposite: the losers write the history. We may have lost control of most of Syria and seen Russia assert itself there but with our monopoly on public understanding of international events through our control of mainstream media we can still rewrite history. 

'Our BBC' as the state broadcaster currently styles itself, hoping some of the glory of 'our amazing NHS' will rub off on it and help to stave off defunding, gives a prize example of rewriting history with the docu-fiction being served up as 'Red Lines'. 

Truth is turned on its head with every premise of this crock of nonsense.

No, Syria did not use chemical weapons in 2013, that was a fabrication.

No, Russia did not facilitate the hiding of stockpiles of chemical weapons, Russia actually helped coax Syria into abandoning its chemical weapons, with international inspectors combing the country and confirming every part clean except the jihadi-controlled areas.

No, MPs did not 'withhold support' for bombing Syria, they refused to be browbeaten and voted down what might have turned into a reprise of the invasion of Iraq.

No, the episode did not illustrate the unwisdom of allowing our adversaries to cross red lines, it illustrated our imperial arrogance in setting red lines in other people's countries, it illustrated how we had learned nothing from Iraq, except how better to control the narrative and thereby public support for aggression, and it illustrated that we were ready to mount 'humanitarian interventions' to justify those aggressions. 

With the hindsight of today the episode also illustrated that the historic parliamentary vote against bombing represented the high water mark for the peace party in Britain and that ever since the warmongers of every party have had the ascendancy. 

The parliamentary vote shook the British security establishment to the core. Possibly for the first time ever the people as represented by a brave majority of their MPs had stood their ground against the state in a matter of war and peace.

No wonder the establishment is now trying to exploit whipped up popular feeling over Ukraine to rewrite history and gaslight the people into believing that the brave principled vote against aggression in Syria was an aberration.

That the BBC should lend itself to serving the ends of their puppet masters in this way may help it to save the licence fee but it will be tawdry success. 

***

Vanessa Beeley
14 May 2022 | 1:50 pm

Washington moves to annex north-east Syria by proxy


Under cover of media focus on the NATO proxy war in Ukraine and the Zionist assassination of Al Jazeera senior correspondent Shireen AbuAkleh, Washington is making moves to annex Syrian territory.

On May 11th during the meeting of the "global coalition against Islamic State" in Marrakech, Morocco the U.S acting assistant Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland, made an extraordinary move that has largely gone under the radar of even independent media. Everyone is distracted by events in Ukraine and the Palestinian Occupied Territories.

Nuland who famously exclaimed "Fuck the EU" during recorded conversations that exposed the US State Department involvement in the 2014 coup in Ukraine and the subsequent massacre in Odessa by the Washington's Nazi Contras is now turning her attention to Syria's north-eastern territory.

Nuland has announced that the US will allow foreign investment in north-east Syria under the control of the Kurdish Separatists, another US Coaliton proxy in Syria. These investments will not be affected by the unprecedented sanctions that are effectively blockading Syria.

The most savage of these economic measures were introduced under the Trump administration - the Caesar sanctions that are designed to inhibit any external assistance for Syria from within the Syrian alliance, including Russia and Iran.

The Caesar Syrian Civilian Protection Act is also fraudulent by claiming to "protect civilians". In reality, it is punishes and hurts the vast majority of 17 million persons living in Syria. It will result in thousands of civilians suffering and dying needlessly. - Rick Sterling

Needless to say that the de-facto unilateral sanctions being applied as a collective punishment for the entire Syrian population living in areas protected by the Syrian government are illegal. To extend those sanctions to sovereign nations providing assistance to rebuild Syrian infrastructure is barbaric and a deliberate attempt by the US to ensure that Syria cannot recover from the eleven year war waged against it.

The correlation between economic and military coercion in Syria was made clear by previous Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo's point-man on Syria, Ambassador James Jeffrey, who not only described Al Qaeda as a "US asset" in Syria but also bragged openly about the misery that sanctions had brought to the Syrian people:

And of course, we've ratcheted up the isolation and sanctions pressure on Assad, we've held the line on no reconstruction assistance, and the country's desperate for it. You see what's happened to the Syrian pound, you see what's happened to the entire economy. So, it's been a very effective strategy….

Journalist Rick Sterling also pointed out the illegality and brutality of the Caesar sanctions:

The US has multiple goals. One goal is to prevent Syria from recovering. Another goal is to prolong the conflict and damage those countries who have assisted Syria. With consummate cynicism and amorality, the US Envoy for Syria James Jeffrey described his task: "My job is to make it a quagmire for the Russians." 

Nuland said Washington would issue a general licence, which frees companies from U.S. sanctions restrictions in north-east Syria.

"The United States intends in the next few days to issue a general license to facilitate private economic investment activity in non-regime held areas liberated from ISIS in Syria."

The irony here of course is that ISIS is in reality another proxy of the US Coalition that had benefitted from the oil resource revenue prior to the occupation of the oil fields by the Kurdish Contras. There is also a degree of collaboration mired in corruption between the Kurdish Separatists and ISIS both focused on the ethnic cleansing of the north-east to make way for an "autonomous region" effectively controlled by Washington, London and Israel. As Syrian researcher, Ibrahim Wahdi, wrote back in February 2022:

We can clearly see that the largest organized smuggling and mass transfer of ISIS militants towards the Syrian Badia connected with the Iraqi border north of Al-Tanf region, which coincided with the Ukraine crisis and the negotiations of the Iranian nuclear deal, aims to trigger chaos by CIA and Israeli intelligence through reviving ISIS to keep it as a pretext for the US occupation of Syrian lands.

Nuland's claims that investment in areas "previously held" by ISIS are "needed to prevent a resurgence of Islamic State by allowing it to recruit and exploit local grievances" is hypocrisy of the highest order. Washington and London are recruiting, arming and equipping ISIS terrorists and embedding their fighters in areas of the Badia desert (East of Homs) where they can do the most damage to Syrian Arab Army installations and convoys - this includes the disruption of the meagre oil supply to Damascus from the north-east. As Wahdi pointed out:

The danger of the ISIS card lies in the large numbers distributed among 9 prisons in the US-backed SDF-controlled areas, which are potential targets for similar attacks [to release ISIS terrorists], especially the "Kamba Al-Bulgar" prison, east of Al-Shaddadi city in the southern countryside of Hasaka, which includes 5,000 ISIS militants.

In addition to Al-Sina'a prisons, Al-Shaddadiyah, Derek/ Al-Malikiyah, Al-Kasra, Al-Raqqa Central Prison, Rmelan and Nafker in the Qamishli city, from which 60 ISIS militants were transferred to a prison in Al-Hasakah last September.

Both ISIS and the Kurdish Contras are responsible for the theft of oil from Syria. Al Qaeda has the monopoly of the processing of the stolen oil via its WATAD organisation. The US Coalition has a vested interest in bringing the Syrian population to its knees and to stir up dissent against the Syrian government that has trashed the Coalition military plans for regime change.

The war against Russia in Ukraine is also revenge for Russia's role in genuinely fighting ISIS in Syria and forcing the terrorist entity to withdraw to the north-east and Iraq where it is equally responsible for the destruction of civilian infrastructure in particular electrical installations to further punish any Iraqi resistance to US occupation.

Nuland and Washington are deliberately enflaming local grievances and enabling ISIS recruitment and expansion.

Not only will these sanction-free licences apply to the Kurdish Contras but the Turkish backed militia occupying the northern border zones of Syria will also be included in the deal. This means that Syrian territory will be de-facto annexed by these NATO-member-state proxies including Al Qaeda (Turkey) and affiliates.

According to a diplomat who has discussed the issue extensively with U.S officials, the licence will apply to agriculture and reconstruction work but not to oil. I guess there is no need to include oil as that is already considered a U.S benefit of the war they started in 2011. After all Trump said very clearly "we're keeping the oil - I've always said that -- keep the oil. We want to keep the oil, $45 million a month. Keep the oil. We've secured the oil."

If the licence will apply to reconstruction and agriculture, this will legitimise the building of settlements and the continued theft (by the Kurds) of Syrian agricultural produce in the region, the occupation of the wheat storage centers and the reduction in supply to Damascus of these essential resources. Essentially doubling down on the siege of the Syrian people who are already suffering severe food insecurity, poverty, fuel and energy deprivation on a terrible scale.

The act of withholding means of sustaining life to innocent civilians in order to coerce an entire nation into submission to foreign agendas in the region must surely qualify as economic terrorism. The destruction of essential civilian infrastructure is a war crime, the withholding of essential resources or occupation of those resources is also a war crime. One could argue that the US Coalition is responsible for genocide in Syria under Genocide Convention article II (e) – deliberately inflicting on the group, conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part".

When Washington talks about "stabilisation" activities in the areas its "allies" took from Islamic State they are lying. Its "allies" are being led to believe they will benefit from cooperation with the U.S. In reality they are useful tools to facilitate the U.S and Israeli agenda in the region - to balkanise Syria and above all to secure the illegal US Al Tanf military base in the south-east (bordering Jordan) to prevent the linking of the Resistance Axis from Iran to Lebanon and ultimately Palestine. To protect "Israeli security" in the region.

The organised smuggling and transfer of ISIS terrorists towards the Syrian Badia connected with the Iraqi border north of Al Tanf is to maintain the CIA/MI6/Israeli chaos strategy in Syria and to justify US occupation of Syrian territory under the faux ISIS pretext.

What Nuland is proposing is a step forward for Washington in the annexation of Syria's most resource rich territory. It is annexation by proxy. Turkey will also benefit from these licence schemes and will further embed its Al Qaeda-led militia in the northern border areas thus ensuring permanent insecurity for Syria to the north.

Arabs, Assyrians and Armenian will necessarily be ethnically cleansed from these zones to make way for these US-sanctioned settlements and it is common knowledge that the Kurdish Contras have been preparing for this for some time - banning the Syrian curriculum in schools and razing Arab houses in the area while forcing conscription onto local communities, running campaigns of kidnapping and detention.

Nuland informed coalition members in Marrakech that "Washington wanted to raise $ 350 million for these alleged "stabilisation" activities in north-east Syria during 2022. Iraq is also the target of the same "stabilisation" campaign. What Nuland really means is that Washington under cover of Ukraine will move to secure permanent violation of Syria's territorial integrity while feigning outrage that Russia is violating the sovereignty of Ukraine already occupied by NATO and little more than Washington's satellite vassal state on the border with its arch enemy Russia.

***

Vanessa Beeley
10 May 2022 | 4:00 pm

NATO’s proxy war in Ukraine and Nazi-linked White Helmets


"Regarding the White Helmets, they are terrorists and Takfiris […] they have nothing to do with Humanity […] when they used to see an injured civilian, they used to finish them off. If you come to "rescue" a man would you slaughter them? The White Helmets and the terrorists are one and the same, they are hand in hand."  

This statement was made by Hassan Al Mahmoud Al Othman during a conversation I had with him in 2019 following the liberation of Eastern Ghouta, Damascus by the Syrian Arab Army in 2018. Al Othman was one of many prisoners detained by extremist armed group Jaish Al Islam (Army of Islam) in Douma's notorious Tawba Jail during the six year occupation of the eastern suburbs of Damascus by UK/US-backed armed groups. 

The White Helmets in Syria are a shadow-state propaganda construct initially midwived by US and UK intelligence agencies  and embedded exclusively with extremist armed groups dominated by Nusra Front or Syria's Al Qaeda. They were established in 2013, trained in Turkey and Jordan, by a former British Military Intelligence officer - James Le Mesurier employed by a UK Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office (UK FCDO) contractor, Analysis Research and Knowledge (ARK Group).

The primary role of this pseudo Humanitarian organisation was to produce the "corroborating evidence" to support UK FCDO foreign policy in Syria which is regime change, the balkanisation of Syria and the destabilisation of the entire region in the interests of Israeli 'security' and expansionism.

The Public Relations campaign for Jaish Al Islam, an armed group responsible for some of the worst atrocities of the regime change war against Syria, was also managed by the UK FCDO via another contractor - Innovative Communications and Strategy (InCoStrat) founded by a second British military intelligence veteran Paul Tilley and a certain Emma Winberg Winberg later became Emma Le Mesurier (after her marriage to James Le Mesurier) who went on to manage 'strategy' for the White Helmets at Mayday Rescue.

This NGO was established by Le Mesurier in 2014 to oversee the UK/EU funding of the organisation. The crossover between the White Helmets and the sectarian armed groups can be seen very clearly here and is the pattern repeated throughout Syria. 

In particular the White Helmets were responsible for the staging of scenes related to alleged chemical weapons attacks invariably attributed to the Syrian government and armed forces - perhaps the most notorious of which was the 2018 Douma (Eastern Ghouta) incident that precipitated the UK, US, French unlawful aggression and bombing of Damascus in April 2018 before the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) had even been able to access the area and to report the findings of their official investigation.

Subsequently it has been proven that the White Helmets staged the 'hospital' scenes and the OPCW was compromised politically into corrupting their own senior Inspectors investigation to retrospectively justify the US/UK-led criminal aggression against Syria. 

Twitter avatar for @VanessaBeeleyvanessa beeley @VanessaBeeley @EliotHiggins @M_J_Gates @tericento @michaeldweiss You #EliotHiggins are exalting #AlQaeda civil defence aka #WhiteHelmets so you can maintain US Coalition war crimes against a sovereign nation #Syria & repeat in future imperialist interventionist projects, as you have suggested below ⬇️⬇️@caitoz Image

February 17th 2018

13 Retweets15 Likes

In 2018 during an interview with the Corbett Report the author made a prediction that the White Helmet construct would become a global franchise and I later made a statement to clarify what had been discussed: 

"The White Helmets franchise is a terrifying extension of soft power infiltration deep inside target nations, exploiting trust, vulnerability and poverty with the "First Responder" construct that "everyone trusts" as James Le Mesurier so clearly stated in a recent interview in Brazil. This pseudo Humanitarian, NATO state-sanctioned fist will be used to crush many more nations in the future if it is not stopped in Syria. Just as Syria has contained the terrorist fire within its borders, so has it exposed the White Helmets as the terrorist alter ego, but for how long will both be contained?

Terrorism is fanning out into Europe via the EU funded Turkish exit routes, the White Helmets are also establishing themselves further afield, in Venezuela, Malaysia, the Philippines to name a few. Terrorism and the White Helmets march in lock-step and can only be stopped by confronting the cancerous cultures in which they are cultivated – US Necolonialism, British Imperialism, EU Globalism, Gulf State Extremism & Israeli Parasitism."

Twitter avatar for @VanessaBeeleyvanessa beeley @VanessaBeeley As predicted - the #WhiteHelmet global franchise. 🤷‍♀️ Image

September 10th 2019

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The White Helmets launched in Ukraine

"The ambition is to create a Ukrainian version of the White Helmets," said Mr [Macer] Gifford in a fund-raising appeal. 

Above - Gifford's high profile Western media presence

Who is Macer Gifford, the British mercenary who has fought in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria now heading to Ukraine to "do something for Britain". Gifford likes to be portrayed as a former London City investment banker from Cambridge and Conservative Party councilor who, aged 27, had a "goldilocks" moment, broke up with his partner, pulled out of a house purchase and was smuggled over the Iraqi/Syria border. From there he fought alongside the Kurdish Separatist YPG backed by the US Coalition including Israel as part of the project to annex Syrian territory, occupy Syrian oil fields and to partition Syria into sectarian statelets. 

Syria - the Rojava Project

Gifford promotes the associated "Rojava" project as "a living, breathing experiment in democratic confederalism, a blend of socialism, local democracy and feminism" which is to align oneself with the Western propaganda to present the YPG as a viable political opposition to the Syrian government in Damascus and to push for an "autonomous region" in the North East which by no small coincidence is home to the bulk of Syrian oil resources and is considered the bread basket of this beleaguered nation.  

Gifford fails to mention the necessary ethnic cleansing of the majority Arab, Assyrians and Armenians that has happened as a result of the empowerment of the Kurdish contras, the incidents of kidnapping of civilians, the brutal forced conscription, the banning of the Syrian curriculum in schools, the theft of Syrian oil, wheat, barley and other agricultural produce facilitated by the US Coalition - and perhaps most importantly the actual collaboration with ISIS the very entity they claim to be fighting. Much evidence of these activities can be found in this compilation of articles and videos. 

The repercussions of Kurdish Contra activities for the Syrian people include fuel and energy-deprivation, widespread starvation and poverty, a crippling refugee crisis as a result of ethnic cleansing and US unlawful military occupation of the north-east region and the subsequent insecurity of Syria's border with Iraq and Jordan. 

Twitter avatar for @macergiffordMacer Gifford @macergifford @AbuAmaanah @CerieOfficial @AsimCP The YPG aren't terrorists. In fact, they're close allies of the UK. I don't know what country you're from but in the UK they're not listed, so I'm afraid your opinion on that isn't worth much. The brave Kurds worked with the Coalition to defeat ISIS. You support that, right? 🤨

February 10th 2022

According to a number of articles in UK media, Gifford's "mission" was to make sure Rojava is seen as a major player in the so-called international community. That Gifford works in lock-step with the US Coalition agenda in Syria should be noted when reviewing his current involvement in Ukraine. Gifford is an advocate of the US/UK soft power complex, promoting CIA/USAID projects in Syria: 

"More aid and investment, coupled with open and free borders, will ensure the liberated region of NE Syria remains peaceful." 

More aid and investment from such trojan horse organisations will ensure that Syria remains trapped in a perpetual war cycle determined by the establishment of warring statelets designed to permanently fracture Syrian territorial integrity. Gifford is pushing UK and US-led agendas hard. 

From Syria to Ukraine 

The headline and tagline of this article has actually been changed from the original after the special report I did for UK Column News on 4th May. The original (below) was more subtle. The fact it has been changed to 'British mercenary' and the White Helmets are mentioned in the title as a special operation is perhaps a hat tip to our research and the exposure of the White Helmets as a UK FCDO-sponsored intelligence construct : 

In Syria, Gifford fought alongside other British mercenaries during his three year stint that began in 2014. He established recruitment pages on Facebook including 'The Lions of Rojava' to encourage former military veterans or naive activists  to enlist with the Kurdish Contra forces. He established a Switzerland-based charity , The Friends of Rojava Foundation, that aims to promote education and healthcare in northern Syria

Gifford was given a regular platform by the BBC, The Guardian, The Times, The Telegraph, VICE and the Jerusalem Post. He was a permanent fixture at the Conservative Party's Carlton Club. He lobbied Congress. He admits to being in regular contact with the FBI and with British Security Services. 

"He worked to drum up support for the YPG and attended meetings with financiers in Switzerland, the FBI in New York and inside the British parliament…I've been to the Carlton Club [a private Conservative club in central London], you would not believe, so many times," he said to The Guardian in 2016.

Gifford credits his high profile presence in British media for the failure by British security services to prosecute him for fighting with the YPG. It could also be argued that the evidence that might be revealed in such a trial would be equally damning for the UK Intelligence Agencies. An example of this backfire was the case against  Moazzam Begg and other mercenaries who had been fighting with and assisting groups trained and equipped by British Intelligence inside Syria. It is believed that the trials of these military embeds collapsed spectacularly to prevent the public revelation of MI6 involvement in the dirty war against Syria. 

Macer Gifford is a pseudonym, one that was taken to allegedly protect his identity and his family yet there are few such mercenaries that have a higher media profile. A Twitter follower actually managed to track down what appears to be Gifford's real name from the program of an event at the New World Embassy in Oslo, Norway in 2016 - Harry Rowe. This is seemingly confirmed by a profile for Harry Rowe at Loughborough University in the Department of History, Politics and International Relations. 

Gifford's dramatically entitled book "Fighting Evil" was published by Hachette in 2020 with a foreword by author and former British Military Infantry soldier Andy McNabb (real name Steven Billy Mitchell) and reviews by award winning conflict correspondent Damien Lewis. 

Aside from his claims of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, Gifford describes himself as a long-term human rights activist. He has conducted expeditions into the Congolese rainforest, campaigned for "democracy" in Zimbabwe working for Morgan Tsvangirai, the late Zimbabwean opposition leader. He has worked for the flagship of Global Britain's soft power complex, the British Council, participating in their Horn of Africa Project identifying future young leaders. 

With the emerging British neo-colonialist interests in Aden, Southern Yemen and economic interests in the Horn of Africa - described as the 'jugular vein' of trade between East and West we must question the involvement of Gifford as a member of the British Council team, with a background in finance. What was his role? How does this 'ordinary' mercenary get elevated to such a level and so quickly? 

Gifford's role in Ukraine 

When NATO's  Nazi-linked puppet President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, issued the call to arms for an International Foreign Legion after February 24th and the start of the Russian special operation, Britain's Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said she would "absolutely support" UK nationals who choose to go to Ukraine to fight. According to an article in Newsweek

"Gifford is advising potential recruits on how to get to Ukraine and what to expect when they get there. He plans to help ex-service personnel, engineers and other experts."

Frontpage of one of the Ukraine Foreign Legion recruitment websites. 

It was Macer Gifford who stepped up to produce the recruitment website although he insisted on being called a 'facilitator' not a 'recruiter'. His role in Syria as facilitator for Kurdish Separatist recruits is now being mirrored in Ukraine. Gifford imagines that "hundreds if not in the low thousands" of Britons will sign up to fight in Ukraine". His views on the conflict in Ukraine mirror those of UK  regime officials. Truss claimed

"The people of Ukraine are fighting for freedom and democracy, not just for Ukraine but for the whole of Europe"

The Ukrainian Defence Ministry said

"Anyone who wants to join the defense of Ukraine, Europe and the world can come and fight side by side with the Ukrainians against the Russian war criminals. There is no greater contribution which you can make for the sake of peace."

Speaking to The Telegraph Gifford said: 

"The war in Ukraine is more noble in ways because it is for European security."

Twitter avatar for @YoublacksoulJuan Sinmiedo @Youblacksoul #British #mercenary Eslin spoke of the mass executions of civilians in #Mariupol by the #Azov, civilians disappeared after encountering the Nazis. "They were bound hand and foot, then taken away to be shot". "They were taken to the bunker... After that, I never saw them again,"

May 8th 2022

292 Retweets362 Likes

Among the named mercenaries fighting in Ukraine are former comrades of Gifford's from Syria including Aiden Aslin now captured and facing trial for war crimes against the Donetsk Popular Republic.

These mercenaries do not consider the implications for the people of the countries they are selling their expertise to. They do not consider the universal suffering of the Syrian people deprived of their own resources and agricultural produce by the Kurdish Contra groups the mercenaries fight for. They do not take into account the atrocities being committed by the Nazi and Ultra-Nationalist battalions they are fighting alongside in Ukraine. Beyond this they must be considered tools for UK and US-led globalism which is responsible for these wars. Wars sold to the public as the only road to "peace".

The Nightingale Squadron - a Nazi-linked White Helmet rebrand

Macer Gifford and vehicle with the Nightingale Squadron logo. Photo: Gifford's Twitter account

Gifford has not only established recruitment websites he is now raising funds to:

"create a website that will allow medically trained volunteers to offer their services to the Government of Ukraine [..] to create a fast response medical team, staffed by international volunteers that will deploy to the frontline within the next month." (emphasis added)

Gifford echoes the NATO taglines "Putin's particular brand of nationalistic imperialism has laid waste to Syria and now he wants to do the same to Ukraine" - Gifford conveniently forgets that ISIS flourished in Syria empowered and afforded air cover by the US Coalition until Russian intervention in September 2015 when ISIS was finally pushed out of the majority of Syria into the north-westerly region where they still receive training, weapons and equipment from the US and UK Coalition. Gifford was on the ground in Syria, he cannot claim ignorance of these facts. 

Gifford claims that he set up a medical unit in Syria called TMU (Tactical Medical Unit). He crowdfunded and acquired two ambulances and 15 combat medics. Allegedly over a 16 month period the unit treated hundreds of "Syrian" casualties, trained hundreds of local volunteers in life saving techniques and distributed vital aid to local government". There is very little to be found about TMU on the web, I have spoken to real Syrians in the region who have never seen or heard any evidence of TMU operations. 

Gifford aims to raise 15000 sterling to purchase an armoured land-rover, personal protective equipment and medical supplies for the first team. The first team will deploy immediately to the frontlines with "other teams following as funds come available". Then Gifford informs us: 

"I want to be absolutely clear here, the ambition is to create a Ukrainian version of the White Helmets."

Gifford signs off with the Azov Nazi Battalion salute "Slava Ukraini!"

The Nightingale Squadron a throwback to the Nazi Nachtigall Battalion 

Gifford has established the Nightingale Squadron brand. The organisation is operating out of Lviv. With these two facts, Gifford demonstrates his and Global Britain's allegiance with the Nazi and Ultra Nationalist elements that control Western Ukraine and which are responsible for many of the atrocities and war crimes committed against the Donetsk and Lugansk Popular Republics since 2014, the Odessa massacre in 2014 and stand accused by Ukrainian civilians of a multitude of other crimes since the start of the Russian operations in February. 

Just as the White Helmets in Syria were embedded exclusively with Al Qaeda-controlled factions trained and equipped by NATO member states, Gifford is setting up his teams in an area under control of the notorious Azov and Aidar battalions trained and equipped by NATO member states. When challenged on this fact and his claims that it is "hard to find a Ukrainian Nazi", Gifford did not respond: 

Twitter avatar for @VanessaBeeleyvanessa beeley @VanessaBeeley Really? Can you explain reports Lviv is Nazi-central & the NATO military hub for training ultra nationalists & Nazi brigades? Lviv historically weaponised by West as a pressure point against Soviet Union, now #Russia - region had most Nazi collaborators during WW2. #Ukraine Image Image Image

Macer Gifford @macergifford

@LarissaMVLopez @Haylee_0762 There isnt enough of them! The Azov Battalion had about 2000 members. The Ukrianian Army is about 250,000 strong. With reserves its got to be half a million now.Its hard to find a Ukrainian Nazi! 😂 On the other hand,400k Russian soldiers have invaded to colonise Ukraine.Fascists

May 4th 2022

42 Retweets66 Likes

The Nachtigall Battalion - in 2011 extreme right wing deputies at a nearby town in the Lviv district renamed a street (previously Peace Street in the Soviet-era) Nachtigall street to commemorate a Ukrainian Nazi faction involved in the massacre of Jews in 1941. The Nachtigall Battalion were directly linked to the Stepan Bandera-established OUN-B which was considered an ultra radical group supported by Gestapo secret police official, Mykola Lebed who would become "notorious for his involvement in the WW2 torture and murder of Jews". As journalist Jonathan Marshall wrote for Consortium News: 

Bandera's OUN-B collaborated closely with the German foreign intelligence service, the Abwehr, to form a German-led Ukrainian Legion. On June 30, 1941, just days after Hitler's invasion of the USSR, OUN-B declared an independent Ukrainian state with Lviv as its capital. Lebed served as police minister of the collaborationist government. (Emphasis added)

In the days that followed, OUN-B's Nachtigall Battalion and its civilian sympathizers apparently slaughtered several thousand Jews and Polish intellectuals before moving on to join German forces on the Eastern Front. Another 3,000 Jews in Lviv were soon murdered by an SS death squad outside the city. OUN publications called these "exhilarating days."

One could argue that it is mere coincidence that Gifford chose the name 'Nightingale Squadron' but the fact that Gifford is operating out of Lviv in Western Ukraine does lead to speculation that the choice of name is harking back to the glory days of Nazi dominion in Ukraine. 

LVIV - the hub of NATO military and Ukrainian Nazi Brigades 

Lviv was historically weaponised by the West as a pressure point against the Soviet Union (USSR) as the majority of WW2 Nazi collaborators reside there. After the collapse of the USSR in 1991, the West promoted and moved Nazi elements into government and military institutions exploiting their Russophobia. 

"A large percentage of the population is Russian speaking and Orthodox Christian, these Polish-dialect Catholic factions started passing laws forbidding  Russian language in public spheres and against the Russian Orthodox church. When legislation failed, they reverted to Nazi methods of intimidation and execution."

Lviv is home to the Nazi Azov and Aidar Battalions and is believed to be the Major Western Military training hub in Ukraine. In fact the Nazi and far-right elements have bragged publicly about being trained by NATO member states including Canada. A report produced in September 2021 and published by the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at George Washington University (GWU), is an in-depth investigation into this phenomenon: 

"Evidence uncovered in this paper suggests that since 2018, the Hetman Petro Sahaidachny National Army Academy (NAA), Ukraine's premier military education institution and a major hub for Western military assistance to the country, has been home to Centuria, a self-described order of "European traditionalist" military officers that has the stated goals of reshaping the country's military along right-wing ideological lines and defending the "cultural and ethnic identity" of European peoples against "Brussels' politicos and bureaucrats." The group envisions a future where "European right forces are consolidated and national traditionalism is established as the disciplining ideological basis for the European peoples."

In 2016 the Office of the UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) issued a report carrying accusations against the Azov Battalion that included claims of torture and other war crimes since the 2014 US-engineered coup. The Ukrainian National Guard incorporated the Azov Battalion into its ranks and it has been legitimised as the Azov Regiment

The author of the GWU report, Washington D.C.-based investigative researcher, Oleksiy Kuzmenko said that he "discovered evidence that a far right group composed of military members, officers and cadets with a clearly spelled out international agenda and seemingly dozens of members was able to operate in a prestigious and Western-backed military academy in Ukraine, proselytizing to the academy's cadets since 2018," 

Twitter avatar for @kooleksiyOleksiy Kuzmenko @kooleksiy Ukraine: An in-your-face neo-Nazi graduated in 2018 from a tactical medicine program supported, per the military of Ukraine, by the Canadian military and the USA. He now trains Ukrainian cadets in the "Desna" center, sometimes alongside Canadian instructors. Thread Image Image Image Image

March 5th 2020

125 Retweets132 Likes

If I had to compare Lviv to anywhere in Syria it would be Idlib where Al Qaeda dominate the military and religious/extremist landscape, extorting money from Syrian civilians living under their occupation, using civilians as human shields, refusing to allow them to depart into the Syrian government safe zones via the humanitarian corridors and carrying out a systematic ethnic cleansing pogrom of religious minorities in all areas they invade and take over. 

Any mercenary or journalist embedded in such areas is not defending the civilians in these militarised zones, they are whitewashing the Western-backed fanatics, Nazi or Al Qaeda, that are preying on civilians and forcing them into the crossfire of a war that is being fueled and sustained by the NATO member states that are training and equipping these extremist organisations.

Gifford falls into this category, whether by design or usefulness to the UK regime he is an accessory to the murder of the Ukrainian people in a war provoked by NATO and fought by Nazi ultra-nationalists against all those who do not comply with their fascist, racist agenda.

For further links on the collaboration between NATO member states and the far-right, Nazi brigades in Lviv please go here, here, here, and here

The White Helmet resurgence and the Global Franchise

On cue, the Syrian White Helmets operating out of Al Qaeda-held territory in Idlib or Gaziantep in Turkey known as the Jihadi Express, have begun to refresh their public profile. Since the suspicious death of their founder James Le Mesurier in Istanbul in November 2019 the group had largely disappeared from the headlines. 

A quick look at the recent activity of their "Director" Raed Saleh, a former mobile phone salesman from Idlib, demonstrates that they are regaining traction in political, diplomatic and Intelligence-linked-agency spheres. Saleh has been speaking at UK FCDO policy influencer Chatham House, SOAS University London, meeting with US and Canadian officials including Samantha Power now Administrator of USAID under the Joe Biden administration.

The White Helmets have used the NATO-provoked conflict in Ukraine to relaunch their brand even offering to send members of their team to Ukraine to train first responders there. Currently their involvement appears to be restricted to instructional videos.  Al Qaeda auxiliaries offering assistance and training to Nazi auxiliaries: 

ARK Group driving the 'Civil Defence' Global Franchise

Alistair Harris, CEO of ARK Group the UK FCDO contractor that is responsible for the majority of Global Britain's Intelligence operations inside Syria, Lebanon and the Balkans had his role exposed by a series of UK FCDO document leaks published by ANON in December 2020.  Journalist Kit Klarenberg has covered much of Harris' infiltration of Lebanese Security, Military and Government institutions and has highlighted the formation of a Palestinian Civil Defence (White Helmets). Klarenberg writes

Leaked files [..] reveal the British Foreign Office has for many years secretly meddled in Lebanon's refugee camps, courtesy of ARK, a shadowy intelligence cutout run by probable MI6 operative Alistair Harris. London's agenda is rather different than Tel Aviv's, however – it seeks to subtly stir up revolutionary fervor, and exploit them as unwitting foot soldiers in its ongoing clandestine war against Lebanon's ruling elite.

Klarenberg demonstrates the manipulation of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon at the hands of ARK. According to French journalist Thierry Meyssan ARK has been operating a "myriad of social services in Lebanese refugee camps administered by UNWRA". This has allowed ARK operatives to propagate British foreign policy in the minds of vulnerable communities and to push for "political change" that complies with the UK FCDO agenda in the region, to groom and recruit 'volunteers'  and 'citizen journalists' to instigate the desired 'changes'. A repeat of operations in Syria also led by ARK and Alistair Harris, the White Helmets and embedded 'citizen journalists'.

Consequently in the midst of the Lebanese 'revolution' in October 2019 and the violent protests of August 2020, Palestinians could be seen "on the streets protesting against the political establishment including Hezbollah" Israel's nemesis in the region. 

Included in the soft power package is the creation of a Palestinian White Helmet copycat organisation:

The above screenshot is taken from Harris' LinkedIn profile. It clearly reveals his involvement in the creation of a Lebanese/Palestinian White Helmet brand and mentions the potential for supporting "civil defence activities" in Ukraine - just as Gifford conveniently launches his civil defence brand. 

Harris also alludes to the possibility of a similar Civil Defence initiative in Yemen where Global Britain is reasserting influence. The White Helmet global franchise can no longer be dismissed as a "conspiracy theory". It is a reality and it will be used time and time again to support UK FCDO intelligence and proxy military operations in nations destined to be sacrificed to perpetual war and bloodshed - to secure US/UK globalist supremacy. The war in Ukraine is a de-facto NATO proxy war and the White Helmet involvement is further evidence of that. 

The White Helmets will be used to support and reinforce Russophobic propaganda and anti-Russian narratives just as they corroborated US Coalition anti-Syrian government narratives for the last nine years. Perhaps the "chemical weapon" narrative will take centre stage in Ukraine as it did in Syria and the fall-out used to justify an increase in funding and arms supply to the Ukrainian forces among which the Azov and Aidar battalions are being propelled to dominance by virtue of NATO member state support and their rule of brutal reprisals and punishment of civilian populations.

It also cannot be denied that the White Helmets are accused of running organ trafficking cross border operations in Syria alongside the armed groups and are also accused of child abduction and human trafficking.

The arrival of the White Helmets will signal more war, more devastation, more economic hardship and more suffering for the Ukrainian people and the people of the EU, not less. Their remit is certainly not to foster peaceful resolution because that is not on the agenda of their handlers in London and Washington. 

***

Vanessa Beeley
6 May 2022 | 12:10 pm

UK Column News - the global White Helmet franchise


In the 4th May 2022 edition of UK Column News I present evidence of the expanding White Helmet franchise in Ukraine, Yemen and Lebanon brought to fruition by the same British Intelligence-linked agency that established this pseudo Humanitarian organisation in Syria in 2013:

Vanessa Beeley
3 May 2022 | 9:48 am

Zionism in Ukraine allied with Nazism - the history of the 'Great Reset'


How does Israel and one of the largest and most powerful Ultra Orthodox Zionist cults merge with Ukrainian nationalism and state-sanctioned Nazism?

In this deep dive with historian and author Matt Ehret we examine the history of Zionism in Ukraine and the origin of many of the Zionist ultra nationalist groups now occupying Palestinian territory since the Nakba (ethnic cleansing of Palestine) in 1948.

We look at the emergence of the Chabad Lubavitch sect that was established before Zionism came into existence and has its origins in Ukraine - now with 10,000 emissaries in 100 countries at the cutting edge of Zionist expansionism. This group is believed to be responsible for the majority of the price tag attacks in occupied Palestine, denies the right to return for all Palestinians and leads the ideological war against non adherents of Judaism.

We make the link between this secular ultra nationalist ideology and consider how it is mutually inclusive of the Ukrainian far right and Nazi elements that now dominate Ukrainian politics, military and police. Matt analyses the Oligarchical power base behind these cults and how it ties into the Great Reset/WEF agenda that is threatening Humanity.

Vanessa Beeley
25 Apr 2022 | 11:23 am

Did Macron abandon French military to die in Azovstal to protect his election campaign?


According to reports from Aydinlik, a Turkish media outlet the re-elected French President abandoned French soldiers to die, unacknowledged, in Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine because he did not want their existence and possible deaths to jeopardise his election campaign.

Twitter avatar for @iakfiratIşıkgün Akfırat @iakfirat EXCLUSIVE: #Macron has abandoned at least 50 French officers to death in #Mariupol. There are French military & intelligence officers in #Azovstal Factory who are there for training Ukrainian and neo-Nazi fighters. Macron forbid them to disclose or surrender before the elections. Image

April 22nd 2022

200 Retweets233 Likes

Macron won his second Presidential term with 58.54% of the vote compared to the 41.46% for the Nationalist candidate, Marine Le Pen, who nevertheless secured 13 million votes - an indication of the division and unrest in France. Macron "the Mozart of finance" of Rothschild Bank and the marionette of the transnational plutocracy has been confronted with mass protests led by the Gilets Jaunes since he began enforcing austerity measures followed by some of the most draconian Covid restrictions in Europe.

According to Aydinlik:

Russia regained control of Mariupol, Ukraine. It was learned that 50 high-ranking French officers were trapped at the Azovstal Metallurgical Plant. It was learned that Putin opened a safe corridor, and Macron sent an order to 'do not surrender' in the election rush.

As part of his victory address to a rally at the foot of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Macron vowed to "unite France" after acknowledging the drift right by a disenfranchised population.

"I know that a number of French people have voted for me today, not to support my ideas but to stop the ideas of the far right," he said and called on supporters to be "kind and respectful" to others, because the country was riven by "so much doubt, so much division".

He added: "I'm not the candidate of one camp any more, but the president of all of us." If reports of Macron's abandonment of French troops in Mariupol is confirmed then it is clear that "all of us" does not include those who might tarnish his election campaign. French soldiers who are to be sacrificed without the knowledge of the French public.

The Head of the DPR Denis Pushilin reported an estimated 400 foreign mercenaries trapped in Azovstal. Aydinlik reported that it was determined approximately 50 among those 400 were French officers and some were high ranking. Macron, alarmed by the emergence of the secret operation (alleged organised without a mandate) sent a "do not surrender" message to the French Officers.

Twitter avatar for @iakfiratIşıkgün Akfırat @iakfirat This is scandalous cause their presence there is w/out any official and legal underpinning. And now, instead of finding a way to save French, Macron ordered them "die if necessary" but not ever let this fact out that might cost him dear in the elections. Macron Subaylarını Mariupol'de ölüme terk ettiRusya, Ukrayna'nın Mariupol kentinde kontrolü sağladı. Azovstal Metalürji Fabrikası'nda yüksek rütbeli 50 Fransız subayın sıkıştığı öğrenildi. Putin güvenli koridor açtı, Macron'un ise seçim telaşıyla 'sakın teslim olmayın' talimatı gönderdiği öğrenildi.aydinlik.com.tr

April 22nd 2022

44 Retweets66 Likes

In a meeting between Russian Defence Minister, Sergey Shoigu, and Russian President Vladimir Putin it was agreed that the Russian attack plan would be cancelled to spare the lives of Russian military and Ukrainian civilians trapped in the Azovstal steel plant and in the industrial zone surrounding the plant. Putin's strategy is to force the occupants to surrender without bloodshed while ensuring total blockade of the area to flush the NATO and Ukrainian military out.

As in Syria, humanitarian corridors have been established to permit the safe exit of civilians and military who wish to surrender. As in Syria, the Azov (Nazi) battalions are shooting or executing any who attempt to surrender and exit via the corridors. Their value as human shields is too great to allow civilians or military to escape unharmed.

Twitter avatar for @EvaKBartlettEva Karene Bartlett @EvaKBartlett Streets of Mariupol, including areas 1 km from the Azovstal plant where Ukrainian forces are bunkered down. Yes, there is destruction, that's what happens when Ukrainian forces & Nazis embed in residential areas & occupy apartment buildings. It isn't Raqqa Mariupol Quiet, April 21 & 22Streets of Mariupol, including areas 1 km from the Azovstal plant where Ukrainian forces are bunkered down.Yes, there is destruction, that's what happens whe...youtube.com

April 25th 2022

105 Retweets235 Likes

Aydinlik sources claim that there are also British and American military experts inside the besieged plant who were providing weapons training for the Ukrainian military for the weapons supplied by NATO member states to sustain the war against Russia.

The same sources also claimed that the two French military-insigated failed helicopter rescues were an attempt to extract the French officers and to bring them to safety. Both helicopters crashed, one in the sea and the other close to the Azovstal plant. The sources have informed Aydinlik that two of the dead were French Intelligence officers.

The sources mention that Macron attempted to negotiate a supplementary humanitarian corridor with Putin - one that would enable the trapped French officers to exit into Ukrainian territory to avoid their capture by Russian forces. The sources stated (google translate):

"French soldiers were unofficially located in Mariupol. If the French soldiers trapped in the Azovstal Iron and Steel Factory surrender, Macron must answer to the French people. The work is also against French law. For this reason, we have been informed that Macron gave definite instructions to the French officers not to surrender. They want Russia to bomb the factory and kill the French officers there. Then they will not take care of their own officers and they will cover it up. What Macron fears most; that this event came to light before the election to be held on Sunday. He is afraid of the reaction of the French people."

French analyst, Thierry Meyssan recorded the dismissal of French General of military intelligence Eric Vidaud in an article dated 5th April:

On March 29, 2022, General Eric Vidaud, director of French military intelligence, was dismissed. No official explanation was given. It seems that in reality, General Viaud had deployed men on the direct instruction of President Macron's private staff, in 2021 when he was commander of special operations, to supervise the Azov Banderites regiment. Immediately, five Ukrainian helicopters tried to flee Mariupol, the stronghold of the Azov regiment. Two were shot down on March 30. The survivors were taken prisoner by the Russian army. They spoke immediately. The soldiers of the Special Operations Command are placed for all logistical matters under the orders of the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, General Thierry Burkhard, but they take their orders directly from the head of the armed forces, President Emmanuel Macron.

Relations between Presidents Macron and Putin cooled sharply.

General Eric Vidaud

In the Aydinlik report it is noted that Russian Ministry of Defence spox, Igor Konashenkov, stated (April 17th) that Turkish President Erdogan had requested the release of hostages in the Turkish mosque in Mariupol - this was fulfilled by the Russian special forces. Konashenkov also mentioned the foreign mercenaries at Azovstal:

"The Azovstal Metallurgical Plant facilities in the city of Mariupol were completely surrounded by Russian forces. Russian soldiers asked the Ukrainian forces there to surrender. However, we learned from the radio conversations that the Kyiv administration had ordered the Azov group to shoot down the soldiers and foreign mercenaries who laid down their arms. According to the testimony of those who surrendered, there are about 400 foreign fighters in this region, mostly from European countries. Since the beginning of the war, 6,824 foreign mercenaries from 63 countries have come to Ukraine. Foreign fighters were deployed to Ukrainian military units in the cities of Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odessa, Mykolaiv and Mariupol."

***

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