BACK STORY with DANA LEWIS

Australia Submarines / and in part two: Ukraine and Russia

September 24, 2021 Dana Lewis Season 4 Episode 5
BACK STORY with DANA LEWIS
Australia Submarines / and in part two: Ukraine and Russia
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

On this BACK STORY host Dana Lewis talks to Rose Gottemoeller, who as a former Deputy Head of NATO and former Chief negotiator  of the New START  nuclear arms Treaty with Russia, says American President Joe Biden must rethink a deal which cuts out France and gives highly enriched uranium in nuclear powered submarines to Australia. 

And in part two, we speak to Paul Niland of Lifeline Ukraine, about new and damning reports on Russia's involvement in the war in Ukraine, and calls for Russia to be removed from a cease fire monitoring mission there.


Speaker 1:

Nuclear powered submarines that can stay submerged for long periods of time. Uh, the diesel submarines are our outdated, I mean, didn't this have to happen. And isn't it a good thing for those trying to rebalance China's reach in the Indo-Pacific

Speaker 2:

The irony here is that , uh, essentially, yes, the answer is they need nuclear powered submarines, but what kind of nuclear powered submarines? The irony here is that the United States after years of a very firm and strong policy against using highly enriched uranium , uh, in nuclear propulsion , uh, for any state who is not a nuclear weapons state. And there are reasons for that because highly enriched uranium can be put directly into new nuclear bombs.

Speaker 3:

[inaudible]

Speaker 1:

Hi everyone. And welcome to another edition of backstory. I'm Dana Lewis. This week, the U S has called out Russia in stark language over its involvement in the eight year war in Ukraine, Russia denies its involvement directly. Of course, the American political counselor to the us mission to the U S CE says that Russia is interfering with attempts to document Russian forces, Russian equipment , Russian weapons, Russian convoys, Russian fuel trucks, going into Ukraine more on that in a moment with Paul Niland , who is in Ukraine, but first August, that's the acronym for American and British cooperation to build nuclear powered submarines for Australia to counter China's presence in the Indo-Pacific France was cut out of a multi-billion dollar deal to supply conventional submarines to Australia that was worth about $66 billion knifed in the backs as the French government, a fracture in NATO, a serious rift between traditional allies, which is you're about to hear the former deputy head of NATO in former us chief nuclear arms control negotiator, Stanford university's rose Gottemoeller says president Biden needs to step back and rethink The rose . It's always an honor to talk to you.

Speaker 2:

Thank you very much, Dana.

Speaker 1:

I spent my morning because of our time zone change while you were sleeping. I was listening to UN secretary general, Antonio guitarist , um , speaking at the UN general assembly today, all the world's leaders there, he was bleak. I mean, he issued a dire warning that the world is moving in the wrong direction, faces a pivotable , a pivotal moment, quote unquote, we're continuing business as usual could lead to a breakdown of global order and a future of perpetual crisis . Now he's talking about a lot of things there. I mean, there's global warming, there's the pandemic, but also he is referring to just nation conflict around the world.

Speaker 2:

Obviously, China is striding big across the Indo-Pacific right now, and that has caught everyone's attention. And there's a question out there whether China will be interested in , uh , the tools of diplomacy famously , uh, Chinese diplomats are now known as full four years, which means they're throwing their weight around, but not necessarily willing to come to the table and look for agreement on the basis of neutral interests. And so that's the big question right now. I think for many , uh, is there a way , uh , to come to some mutual interests with China and so to be able to sustain stability , uh, in the world, but in the Indo-Pacific particularly, and then as always, we have the continuing strife , uh, the fight against terrorism situation in Afghanistan, deteriorating. So sharply and quickly , uh, that one wonders whether we have actually made much progress in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism in the last two decades. So I think those must have been on the UN secretary General's mind

Speaker 1:

And he spoke about China. I mean, he said , um, that the , uh , world is creeping towards two set , different sets of economic trade, financial technology rules to different approaches in the development of artificial intelligence, ultimately two different military and geopolitical strategies. It's a recipe for trouble. He said it will be far less predictable than the cold war.

Speaker 2:

Yes, I think that is a worry, of course, the United States and its allies came out of world war two , uh, able to establish the rules of the road. And they did so quite successfully, including the financial rules of the road banking , uh, in addition to , uh , military and , uh , strategic power and some rules of the road to govern, to govern those aspects of power as well. So now the question is , uh, is China and Russia with it going to throw over all those existing rules, which have proven their value. Although in some cases they definitely need an update. They need strengthening and refurbishing, but , uh, are they going to continue to abide by those rules or insist on a new set? Once again, my worry is that it will not be on the basis of any mutual interest, but with only their own national interest in mind,

Speaker 1:

Enter this submarine deal with Australia , uh , where the United Kingdom in America replace a contract. That's almost on the table for signing with France, as it's been described instead of diesel submarines, they're going to supply nuclear powered submarines. The French are furious describing it as a stab in the back. Do think it was a stab in the back to a NATO ally friends .

Speaker 2:

I think it was a brilliant stroke. In many ways. It did establish that the United States means business with its partners, Australia , uh , with the UK as an ally. Of course it means business in the end of Pacific spell . In that way, it was a brilliant stroke, but in my view, it was done without strategic imagination because it left the French out. The French , uh , really are those who can help, I think, to deliver on a submarine deal with Australia. So they should have also been at the table. So I just think , uh , it was a failure of a strategic of imagination here.

Speaker 1:

You're deputy head of NATO at one point. What do you think the conversation is in the whole ways of NATO right now? Um, this is a major split in the Alliance.

Speaker 2:

NATO's at a couple of shops lately. I spoke a moment ago about the situation in Afghanistan, the rapid us withdrawal. Now they did have warning that the U S was going to leave, but , uh , in the immediate days in the run-up, I think the NATO allies were surprised about how fast the United States headed for the door in Afghanistan. So that was shocked . Number one, and on the heels of it, then came this deal with the Australians that shut the, shut, the French out. And not only was the United States keeping quiet, but also the UK. Another NATO ally was keeping quiet and not letting the French know anything about it until , uh , the shock of the day of the rollout . So it was really, I think , um , not good for the transatlantic bond. President Biden came in the office saying he was going to repair the damage done to the transatlantic bond by , uh , president Trump. And , uh, now it really looks like , uh , the Biden administration is continuing to deal out shocks , uh, to, to NATO,

Speaker 1:

Should NATO do something. I mean, the European commissioner , uh, or Sullivan underlay has said that, you know, expressing dismay it's unacceptable, she's demanded that president Biden provide an explanation, but beyond that , um, you know, she feels that it , there has to be a course correction and that you just can't continue on doing business as usual. Now with what's happened with this deal with Australia,

Speaker 2:

I think it's okay to show righteous anger at this moment. The United States, Washington needs to be put on notice that had made a mistake in not reaching out, working with its allies in a , in a better way , uh, in these recent occasions. I don't think there's any problem with that, but in the end of the day, it's going to be up to the Europeans themselves to come up with some solutions. I think , uh, for example, we have an 18 months , uh, consultation period between and among the U S UK on Australia on the submarine deal, the French should come forward with , uh, with a proposal based on what they have to offer in the way of submarine and nuclear propulsion technology and say, Hey, let's sit down together. We can, we can help you through

Speaker 1:

Why don't you like the idea of Australia getting nuclear powered submarine ? Some of the analysis that , that I've read from military analysts have said that it was really diesel submarines for Australia was a kind of a dead duck in its own way that if they really want to be effective in the Indo-Pacific region, they need long range, nuclear powered submarines that can stay submerged for long periods of time. Uh, the diesel submarines are our outdated. I mean, didn't this have to happen. And isn't it a good thing for those trying to rebalance China's reach in the Indo-Pacific

Speaker 2:

The irony here is that , uh, essentially, yes, the answer is they need nuclear powered submarines, but what kind of nuclear powered submarines? The irony here is that the United States after years of a very firm and strong policy against using highly enriched uranium , uh , in nuclear propulsion , uh, for any state who is not a nuclear weapon state. And there are reasons for that because highly enriched uranium can be put directly into new nuclear bombs. So we didn't want to hand out the material that would make nuclear bombs to other countries who are not nuclear weapons states. Now, after 60 years of this very firm hard hard-line policy to bolster nuclear nonproliferation , the United States is handling HEU highly enriched uranium to the Australians. Yes, the Australians are squeaky clean in terms of the non-proliferation regime. They've never wanted nuclear weapons, but now they are going to have highly enriched uranium for the nuclear submarines. If the U S uh, if the U S and UK deal goes forward, as it's described. But the irony is that the French have been building an operating submarines for years on low enriched uranium, which is not a danger for proliferation. And really, I would think would ease this problem. If again, the French were at the table and talking about how to best build nuclear submarines for Australia. You think

Speaker 1:

Prison and Biden should think again,

Speaker 2:

I think it would be worthwhile for not only president Biden, but Boris Johnson Morrison and Australia and president Macron, but it's like , again, think again about how they could do a better deal that won't endanger the non-proliferation regime.

Speaker 1:

Is there a cascade which occurs in security and proliferation when, if this goes ahead with a stroll ? Yeah . Then, you know, some people have talked about Brazil wants nuclear technology for its submarine . South Korea , uh , would like to have a nuclear submarine program to respond to growing threats from North Korea. What might Russia do with some of its prospective customers out there that would like to sync technology?

Speaker 2:

Oh, yes. Russia has been working already with India to provide a nuclear submarine technology, and no doubt would , uh , see this deal with Australia as easing away to further proliferation of nuclear submarine technology using highly enriched uranium. Uh , the Ronk South Korea. No doubt also has its eye on this capability. And Japan has signaled. It's already part of the quad, which is , uh , India, the United States, Australia, and Japan. It's already signaled that, Hey, this looks like an interesting deal, perhaps for us as well. So I could see a wide ranging proliferation of highly enriched uranium technology, again for nuclear propulsion, but don't forget HEU can be taken from a propulsion program and put into a nuclear weapons program. And that's the worry here that we may be facing wide proliferation of nuclear weapons around the world, and we need to avoid that. So the question is, can we, as I put a , can we do a three-quarter billiard shot? Can we give Australia the long range submarines it needs? Can we put together a group of countries, allies, and partners that work together, including France and the Asia Pacific? And can we preserve and strengthen the nonproliferation regime? We ought to be looking for ways to do all three at once, and I think it's quite possible.

Speaker 1:

Why do you think that the Biden administration , um, the Johnson team at number 10 Downing street, why do you think that they did this? Why do you think they kind of kept it quiet and didn't talk to France and then came out and then announced it as some kind of great , uh, you know, triumph. So , you know, it's a great defense triangle between them in Australia. Why , why do you think that they did it?

Speaker 2:

Well, it's always easier. The fewer people you have at the negotiating table, that's just a basic fact of negotiation . So I'm sure it seemed convenient to begin with. And also it is true that the us and UK have been leading the way with inserting military force into the endo Pacific for many years, but particularly in ensuring rights of innocent passage and , uh , international waterways are open in the south China sea. And so there , there, I think has a kind of natural partnership already in place there that the French have not, not been present in. Uh , and so that's probably one of the factors here, but I'm sure there are also some , uh, some defense, industrial interests at play and , uh, all kinds of factors could have influenced the , uh, the particular behavior.

Speaker 1:

Who do you think is best place now to press a button on, on a rethink? Um , is it, is it NATO? Is it the EU , um, who is going to get these people to go back? You know, the U S and the UK and Australia, and rethink this and include Francis .

Speaker 2:

I think there's a place for voices on the outside, particularly those who wants to defend the non-proliferation regime. And I expect and hope we'll see , uh , some good ideas come out of the expert community on the outside saying, Hey, there are some better ways to do this. Let's look at the French leu options. Let's consider how we can, we can put, put this program together in a better way. So that kind of expert help will be important. But again, I think it's important for the capitals themselves to take initiative. And once the first white heat of anger is over for Paris to step forward and to make an offer. And then for Washington, for Canberra and for London to take it seriously. So these capitals or these capitals are going to have to work together

Speaker 1:

Rose Gottemoeller. I never knew that you were a billiard player, but now I've learned something today, a three quarter, what was it again?

Speaker 2:

A three cornered billiard shot.

Speaker 1:

It's great to talk to you rose. Thank you so much. All right. Paul Niland is a writer and commentator in Ukraine. He runs lifeline Ukraine, which established , uh , to provide help for veterans and their family members. Hi, Paul.

Speaker 4:

Hi, Dana. It's nice to talk to you again.

Speaker 1:

Good to talk to you. I mean, I am really struck by this report by the acting political counselor, Andrew Shepherd on the, from who is represents the us mission to the OSC. He put out this report , uh , on the 23rd of September. I think it's about as damning as you can get about Russia and its involvement in Ukraine. Just, just to set you up for this, he says clearly, quote unquote Russia's goal is to prevent the SMM from documenting the Russian forces, Russian equipment, Russian weapons, Russian convoys, and Russian fuel trucks. On the other side of the line of context , this has always been a Russian led conflict, Russia initiated. It continues to be the aggressor. Only Russia is responsible for the death and devastation. It has caused let's bring you in on that.

Speaker 4:

Uh, he's entirely correct. And I'm glad that there is such direct language that's coming out of. Um, this is actually this isn't new for the , for the U S I remember the Pentagon spokesperson , uh, under the Trump administration , uh, saying something in a briefing that was, that was equally direct. And she was referring to , uh , Russian command and control of the forces that are fighting in the Donbass against Ukraine. And I remember like the shock of some of the journalists who were in the briefing saying what that's , that that's the first time that that's been, you know , uh , stated so very clearly. Um, but, but it's, it's entirely true that the, the, the evidence of Russia's involvement from the very beginning of the war goes back to , uh, leaks that we've seen of correspondence from people like this love circle of who's known as the great Cardinal of the Kremlin. He was , uh, the right hand to Vladimir Putin, and he was the person in actual fact that ran the entire , um , mission from the beginning. But the audience mission wasn't just to grab a piece of Donetsk on a piece of Legon school blast . The, the, the early plan was something called [inaudible] or the, the new Russia, which extended all the way from hardcore , which is another old blast , uh , further to the north , um, on , uh, on Russia's border , uh, right the way down to , uh , DESA in the south, through [inaudible] and other regions. So basically if you, if you look at a map of Ukraine, we have this great river down the center of it , which is called the dinette pro , um, and Russia intended to seize everything up to the dinner for a river. And , and that was going to be the territory that they tried to control and, you know , attempting to insight , uh, what was supposed to look like local , uh, insurrections , um, failed to grab, hold anywhere else other than other than Russia. And if I make this final point before handing back to you, there's, there's a very good report that came out from an organization called Bellingcat , um, which documented this was early in 2015. It documented how Russia launched , uh, artillery strikes, missile strikes from the territory of Russia into Ukraine. And that's how they, we can Ukraine's border protection. And that's what opened up the border of which is 400 kilometers now completely open. That's what opened the border for Russia to throw in all of the stuff that you listed there, the , the fuel, the equipment, the men, the mercenaries, all of these things that are exactly the , the , the , the problem. And that's what re that's what Russia simply refuses to stop.

Speaker 1:

All right. Let's, let's just roll back for a second, because a lot of people who don't follow Ukraine, you live it, you live there, but for a lot of people that don't follow this, the war in Eastern Ukraine , um, is now in its eighth year, it's claimed more than 13,000 lives. It's wounded, tens of thousands displaced 1.6 million people continues to undermine regional security. Europe came together with America and others, and they brought Russia to the table and said, look, we need to have a ceasefire. When this started, we need to stop the escalation of violence. And they came up with the Minsk agreement and then the O S C E M , which is the organization for security and cooperation in Europe. They were to set up a monitoring force, independent monitors to monitor the two sides along the border. So , so far, have I got it right?

Speaker 4:

Th there's one small correction. Um, the United States was not a participant in the negotiations that led to the Minsk agreements. The United States was actually a party in the negotiations for the first peace agreement , um , which was negotiated. And in fact, in Geneva and , uh, Russia ignored the obligations of the Geneva agreement, which they'd have the participation of the U S and then the Nord mince one. And now they're ignoring mints to

Speaker 1:

It's really where I want to bring you to is the fact that the OSC, he sends out these monitors. And that's the kind of cool it down between the two sides and report on anybody who is violating the so-called ceasefire , because there's never been a real ceasefire. Isn't Russia, part of the OSC E monitoring mission. They are actually in the mission itself while they are according to this report by Andrew Sheppard of dos CE , one of the, I mean, the chief violator of the ceasefire in the first place, it seems kind of twisted

Speaker 4:

It's entirely twisted. And , um, the reason why Russia is a part of the special monitoring mission , um, for Eastern Ukraine is that the OSC operates on a principle of unanimity. Okay. So all of the OSC members have to agree to whatever kind of mission , uh , the they're committing to . Right. Um, and so that's why Russia is involved, but I, I wrote a piece for the Atlantic council back in 2018, arguing that as Russia is clearly a party to this conflict, and the statement that you've read makes it clear how , um, as Russia is a party to this conflict, they should be removed from the OSC SMN . And in fact removed ,

Speaker 1:

Is there not an impartial participant in a monitoring force that's monitoring, trying to push two sides back. Um, the violence Russia would claim publicly that they're not part of that. And these are Ukrainian rebels. Um, and , and they are trying to bring about peace in Eastern Ukraine, but everybody, including this latest report, calls them out and says, come on, get off it. You are the main instigator of this, and you supply arms, you even coordinate the attacks .

Speaker 4:

That's exactly, that's exactly what they do. And , um, if I go further, it's not just the, the special monitoring mission, but there's also in general, the decision-making process around Ukraine , um, in the OSC. And Russia has a voice in that, the precedent for rejecting them, and, you know, what, like the , the only way to get Russia to comply with any obligations, it is increasing the costs to Russia for failure to comply, right? And , and that obviously means sanctions a simple and effective sanction, something that would really have teeth and, and be a really effective symbol of the reality of the war in the Donbass would be removing Russia from the decision-making process related to Ukraine. And the precedent is there. In fact, in the , uh ,

Speaker 1:

You're a danger in that, okay, let , let's, you know, cut you in the case. A lot of people are worried that the conflict could escalate that Putin could really push forces further and try and do an even bigger land grab and further destabilize Ukraine by keeping them in the OSC . Is there a thought that that somehow tempers their ambitions and by kicking him, kicking them out, that will escalate the conflict?

Speaker 4:

I , I haven't heard that argument against , uh , ejecting them. And again, the precedent was Yugoslavia. When, when the Balkan wars , uh , all kicked off Yugoslavia was ejected and the OSC moved to a principle called unanimity minus one. And what I've heard people argue is that Russia's proxies, be it Bella or anybody else in the OSC would, would continue to vote in Russia's favor. And I say, I say, let them, you know, we , we see it with the, the, the votes in the United nations, for example, and we see the coalition of autocrats and, and , uh, other , you know , bad actors that tend to stand with Russia in the United nations. Recently, I do it , there was a vote, it was about two weeks ago. And the kind of people who are standing alongside Russia and voting against these motions regarding Ukraine are , you know , North Korea, Zimbabwe, Syria, et cetera, et cetera. I don't think

Speaker 1:

That's a, that's a, that's a Motley crew, abandoned brothers, isn't it?

Speaker 4:

That well, that's exactly who Russia's allies are exactly that Motley crew. And , um, you know, not in the good sense of a great rock and roll band, just, I mean, like the worst of the worst on this planet, right. I don't see the argument that removing or rejecting Russia from the OSC decision-making process would , uh, encourage them to, to escalate their attacks against Ukraine. The , the , the reality of the , what would it do

Speaker 1:

If they were removed, where would that take us?

Speaker 4:

Uh , it takes us to a place where there's an effective and very visible sanction that that's just been applied against Russia, but , but the , the reality of the war on the front lines is that it's similar to world war one , it's trench warfare, the sides are dug in the contact line, barely moves. There's no, you know , it's static, there's no , uh, territory being taken by force by either side, really. Um, and it continues to run belong as, as , uh , as you said, that there's never really been a ceasefire, but there are, you know , 2, 3, 4 deaths of Ukrainian service men or women , uh , on the frontline all the time, as well as the trench warfare, Russia's deployed. A lot of,

Speaker 1:

I want to interrupt you there because the fact is while it's, so-called a static conflict, the number of Ukrainian soldiers killed or wounded each month is on the rise as of September the 22nd Ukrainian soldiers, 29 of them wounded and killed this month alone. So it seems like the temperature is rising

Speaker 4:

And Russia is always doing that. They're always increasing , uh, temperatures, you know, from one day to the next, and then, and then decreasing them often actually before Putin , uh, attended some kind of international gathering or something like that. We'll , we'll see a quiet period for like a week before. Um, and that just demonstrates once again, exactly the point that you were making at the beginning with this OSC statement from the U S that the Russia really, you know, they turned the tap on and off and , and , and that's what they decided to do. Is there ,

Speaker 1:

Sorry to interrupt you again, but before you move on from that, is there a feeling there that this could escalate and that , um, and like the danger is that if Russia is not removed from the OSC, if there's not an effective monitoring force there , um, the , the generally Putin is prepared to flex more muscle , um, in Eastern Ukraine and maybe take more land.

Speaker 4:

So the there's always the danger that Russia will escalate. Um, the, the Ukrainian military, you know, after eight years of , of conflict, then one of the best fighting forces on the planet now, right? Because they've been doing this for a very, very long time. I feel I'm , I'm privileged to work alongside some of them, you know, I, my, my project that I, that I run here, lifeline Ukraine , uh , we're first and foremost here to help veterans. And so I work alongside veterans cause it's a peer to peer support structure, but , um, yeah, I mean, in general, there's , there's always the fear that, that Russia is going to escalate. Um, and, and they remain, you know, poised to do so. It's not just with the buildup of forces that we saw back in the spring, whether it was 120,000 Russian troops stationed on the border with Russia, but also their increasing , uh , military cooperation with Belarus now also presents a threat from the north as well. So from the Belarusian border to , uh , the Capitol Ukraine , uh, it's, you know, it's an hour and a half by call. Something like that. Um, what I, what I've always argued though, is that Russia would not be able to, I mean, even if they could, in theory , uh , take another major population center, whether it's, you know, a place like Mario Poland , the Donbass, or, or Kiev, you know, they would never be able to hold on to it. The , the partisan resistance to any Russian occupation of any population center would be, would be enormous. And so there's not the risk that, you know , Russia will grab these big sways of Ukrainian territory up to the dinner pro river. As I mentioned earlier on, you know what I mean, the , the people of the city of pro the people of the city of hotcakes , they're just not going to accept this. They're not going to live under, under Russian occupation, but what they will do is they'll, they'll keep the conflict boiling and they will escalate when they, when they choose. And if they decide to kill maim 20, 30, 50 Ukrainian soldiers in the next month, that is what they will do. And that is again exactly why, you know, the , the only way. And I , I, I keep seeing tweets about Russia's behavior. And, you know, for example, how they've just committed massive election fraud over this last weekend, you know, and I keep seeing tweets from people saying like, we deeply regret this, what's your deep regret going to it doesn't actually change the calculation that is being made on a daily basis in the Kremlin. The only way to do it is forceful direct statements about where the responsibility for the war lies and then an escalation of costs, all that fat sanctions sanctions. It's the, it's the only way to do it. It's the only way to get Putin. Well, the only way to get his attention to first of all, phrases like deep regret, he doesn't care. He laughs and he's been laughing about that for years. All the while Ukrainians are dying on the front line and Russians as well, actually, Russians are dying on the frontline to another article I wrote some time ago was what's called the Kremlin's dirty secret. Um, and then , uh, Groo's visiting and gross . Diversity is a military code for a vehicle that's carrying dead bodies and what the OSC used to be able to monitor. And this is another recent key development. The OSC used to be able to monitor, to , uh , check posts on the border between Ukraine and Russia. The internationally recognized border Russia was just vetoed an extension of that mission to monitor those two checkpoints , uh , while there's 400 kilometers of the border openly have a line of sight, maybe 10 kilometers or something like that. But, but by vetoing those checkpoints , uh, what Russia is doing is, is it saying we won't even let you see that bit, that you've been able to see all this time, right ? Let alone are they trying to hide that they're trying to let alone the clandestine , uh, infiltration through the open border, but , but what they're trying to hide there is that they're trying to hide things like the statistics of how many vehicles are crossing back into Russia with this gross diversity designation on them, you know, clearly , uh, demonstrating that they're carrying dead bodies back to Russia. We don't know how many Russians have died in this war, but if, if you, crane is lost , you know , as , as many as you coated earlier on it's 13,000 civilians and military Ukraine has lost that many, how many is Russia lost? It's a huge amount. It's a , it's a huge amount. And it's something that, you know , people should be aware of. And, and especially the citizens of Russia. I watched a really interesting conversation about the Russian elections. Recently, it was an Atlantic canceled discussion and I'm a Russian opposition politician called Vladimir Kara Mussa , who himself has been poisoned twice by the Kremlin regime. He said that one of the two main , uh, objections of the opposition there in Russia, domestic objections is the Kremlin's overseas adventures. Be it in Ukraine, be in Georgia back in 2008 and the ongoing creeping annexation of further territory there, or be it, you know, the, the war crimes that they're committing alongside Assad in Syria. That's one of the main focuses of the, of the opposition to the Kremlin's rule over there in Russia. And it was good to hear that I, it was, it was a very good point. And , um , I appreciated from a Ukrainian perspective,

Speaker 1:

Right? These, these adventures that are always described in glorious interventions by the Kremlin, but in fact are resulting in the lives lost of Russians in the military, openly in the military, or the little gray man who are deployed to places like Eastern Ukraine, Paul Niland of lifeline Ukraine. Thank you so much.

Speaker 4:

Uh, Dana, it was an absolute pleasure talking with you again. And the next time that we chat, let's talk about these , uh, non-regular forces. Let's talk about the wagon of private military group and , uh, where they come from and how they're funded, because that's a really important point as well. Always a pleasure chatting to you. Thank you, Paul. Bye bye .

Speaker 1:

And that's how our backstory this week, please subscribe. If you haven't already to this podcast, wherever you listen to podcasts and please share it. I'm Dana Lewis. Thanks for listening. And I'll talk to you again soon .

Speaker 3:

[inaudible] .

Rose Gottemoeller
Paul Niland