Russia wants to besmirch Ukraine’s military in the eyes of onlookers and is planning a fabricated Red Cross report to do it.by Pete Shmigel, January 16, 2023
Russian state security services have a plan to use the Russian Red Cross to stem the international community’s supply of heavy weapons to Ukraine, according to the Ukrainian Security & Cooperation Centre (USCC), a leading strategic policy NGO currently embedded with the Ukrainian military.
Based on its access to Ukrainian strategic and military intelligence sources, the USCC reports that Russian agencies will soon use the Russian Red Cross to allege war crimes by the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) using Western-supplied weaponry.
“Russia needs to besmirch Ukraine’s military in the minds of Western decision-makers and the public. It is poised to exploit the seemingly non-government affiliated Russian Red Cross to manufacture disinformation about the AFU. It is an extremely cynical propaganda tactic that sickly uses the international credibility of the Red Cross,” Mr Serhii Kuzan, Chairman of the USCC, said in an exclusive interview with the Kyiv Post.
Kuzan noted that, based on briefings by Ukrainian intelligence of the USCC, the Red Cross effort will take the form of a “monitoring report” from Russian-controlled territories of Ukraine. That report will include false eyewitnesses and produced video content of alleged Ukrainian military targeting local populations and breaking Geneva Convention precepts and international law.
Kuzan indicated that it was possible that the International Committee of the Red Cross may also be drawn into the maneuver. The allegation against the Russian Red Cross follows many claims about the organization’s collaborationist and illegitimate role since the start of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
Newsweek and other Western media sources have previously reported that the Russian Red Cross is “fundraising and supporting families of soldiers fighting in Ukraine” and of being directly linked to the Russian Government. It has been accused of facilitating forcible deportations of Ukrainians from occupied territories and has encouraged its followers to “write a poem or song about love for the Motherland.”
“Clearly, there is a pattern that shows that the Russian Red Cross is a front for Russia’s hybrid war strategy. That pattern will expand as it begins the propaganda campaign to curtail Western support,” Kuzan said.
“While that is predictable, what would be truly outrageous would be if the Russian Red Cross is supported by or enters into a collaboration with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in this respect. The ICRC, which has taken very questionable positions on the war to date, must in no way allow itself to be manipulated by or associated with Russia’s propaganda tactics. If it were to do so, the ICRC will destroy any credibility it has left,” Kuzan said.
The USCC was founded in 2021 by a team formed during the Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine. It has been part of humanitarian and communications work in eastern Ukraine, and in identifying the Kremlin’s strategic propaganda. Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, members of the USCC team have been embedded with different formations of the Ukrainian military – at both higher-command and operational levels – to provide policy counsel. Based on its sources, the USCC was likely the first NGO to predict Russia’s staging of false referenda in occupied Ukrainian territories.
Pete Shmigel is an Australian writer. With a background in politics, business, sustainability, the military and mental health, he has been published by the major newspapers in Australia. He helped initiate Lifeline Ukraine.