Russian soldiers left the town Bucha in Ukraine on March 30. Two days later the Ukrainian Gestapo like SBU and men of the fascist Azov battalion moved in to find and remove 'traitors'. On April 2/3 video was published that showed freshly killed men laying on the streets of Bucha. Several of them had white arm bands signaling to Russian forces to see them as friendlies.
The 'west' and Ukrainian officials immediately called those dead the result of 'Russian atrocities'.
I had called it a provocation:
The Bucha 'Russian' atrocities propaganda onslaught may have worked well in the 'west' but it lacks evidence that Russia had anything to do with it.
The former Indian ambassador M.K. Bhadrakumar calls it an outright fake: ...
And a fake it was.
Thankfully there are still some sane U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency officials and William Arkin is talking with them:
Last Wednesday, Bucha Mayor Anatolii Fedoruk said that 320 people had been killed in the town of 37,000.
"It is ugly," a senior official with the Defense Intelligence Agency tells Newsweek. "But we forget that two peer competitors fought over Bucha for 36 days, and that the town was occupied, that Russian convoys and positions inside the town were attacked by the Ukrainians and vice versa, that ground combat was intense, that the town itself was literally fought over."
"I am not for a second excusing Russia's war crimes, nor forgetting that Russia invaded the country," says the DIA official. "But the number of actual deaths is hardly genocide. If Russia had that objective or was intentionally killing civilians, we'd see a lot more than less than .01 percent in places like Bucha."
320 of 37,000 is not .01 percent. But we do not know how many of those dead were Russian or Ukrainian soldiers. Some of the dead were so called 'civilian defenders' which were supposedly local civilians to whom the government had handed guns to 'fight the Russians'. During a war a 'civilian' with a government issued gun shooting at enemy soldiers is a combatant, not a civilian.
The DIA official continues:
"Have the Russians been indiscriminate? Absolutely. But it shouldn't too surprising. It's part and parcel of the Russian way of war, lining up their artillery guns and letting loose," the DIA official says. "But here in particular, in Bucha and the other towns around it—Irpin and Hostomel—there was intense ground fighting that involved almost 20 battalion tactical groups."
I doubt that there is really intentional 'indiscriminate' Russian artillery fire. The Russians have held back quite a lot and paid in blood for it.
One should also note that the often shown mass graves in Bucha were not from recent actions but had been dug on March 10 after heavy fighting when Russian soldiers tried to enter the town:
Maxar Technologies, which collects and publishes satellite imagery of Ukraine, said the first signs of excavation for a mass grave at the Church of St. Andrew and Pyervozvannoho All Saints were seen on March 10.
"More recent coverage on March 31st shows the grave site with an approximately 45-foot-long trench in the southwestern section of the area near the church," Maxar said.
The DIA official clearly says the civilian casualties in Ukraine, which are quite low, get overplayed and that attributing them solely to Russia is wrong:
On Monday, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said it had recorded 1,793 deaths and 2,439 injuries to civilians in all of Ukraine since the war began on February 24. U.S. intelligence believes that the true number is some five times greater, as previously reported by Newsweek.
"It's bad," the DIA official says. "And I don't want to say it's not too bad. But I can't help but stress that beyond the clamor, we are not seeing the war clearly. Where there has been intense ground fighting and a standoff between Ukrainian and Russian forces, the destruction is almost total. But in terms of actual damage in Kyiv or other cities outside the battle zone, and with regard to the number of civilian casualties overall, the evidence contradicts the dominant narrative."
The official says that it is dangerous to attribute one or even several graves and scenes of civilian disaster to Russian barbarism rather than just being realistic about the depredations of war.
The official also worries that attributing the destructiveness only to Russian conduct, rather than to war itself, creates future dangers.
"If we blame all the damage on Putin, as if he commanded it and that it is due solely to Russian war crimes, we are going to walk away from Ukraine with some illusion in our heads that modern warfare can be fought more cleanly, that the Ukraine war is an anomaly solely created by Russia's behavior. This war is just demonstrating how destructive any war on this scale would be."
One should avoid to wage war whenever possible but it also important to end wars as quickly as possible:
"Maybe it's heartless to urge that we look at Ukraine with precision, without human emotion," says the DIA official.
"But for those who think tens of thousands have died and Russia is intentionally killing civilians and pursuing genocide, I say that's even more of an argument to find a diplomatic solution to cease fighting. But nothing is going to happen in the coming days or weeks to change the reality on the battlefield. That's why stopping the fighting should be our highest priority."
Unfortunately ending the war is not a priority for the U.S. nor the EU. Their leaders are drunk on the idea that the Ukraine defeated Russia around Kiev. They seem to believe that the Ukraine can defeat Russia everywhere.
But the retreat from Kiev was ordered because the deceptive move towards it had fulfilled its purpose of keeping a large number of Ukrainian soldiers in place around Kiev while the Russian army opened the land corridor to Crimea.
The Ukraine has no chance to defeat the Russian army no matter how many old tanks or airplanes the U.S. and EU countries move to it.
Sending more weapons only prolongs the war and inevitably creates more military and civilian casualties on both sides.