Russia’s alleged war crimes in Ukraine are calculated, experts say: ‘As shocking as it is, it’s nothing new’

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People around the world have been shocked by horrifying images of corpses strewn on the streets of Bucha, Ukraine, as Russian forces retreated in recent days, but foreign policy experts say the brutal tactics used by the Kremlin are nothing new.

“It’s absolutely no accident that they’re fighting this way,” Rebekah Koffler, a former Defense Intelligence Agency officer and author of “Putin’s Playbook: Russia’s Secret Plan to Defeat America,” told Fox. NewsDigital.

“It’s 100% intentional. It’s not a lack of military discipline.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy detailed the alleged atrocities in a speech to the UN Security Council on Tuesday after visiting Bucha, saying Russian forces “killed entire families, adults and children, and attempted to burn the bodies”.

“The civilians were run over by the tanks as they sat in their cars in the middle of the road, just for fun,” Zelenskyy said. “They cut off limbs, slit their throats, women were raped and killed in front of their children.”

DISCLAIMER: GRAPHIC IMAGES BELOW

The atrocities revealed in Ukraine follow past Russian military operations, according to Sean McFate, a US Army veteran and professor of strategy at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

“In the frustration of conventional warfare, [Putin’s] pivoted to less conventional warfare to achieve its goals, but not the American type of winning hearts and minds. It’s the Russian guy, who’s the hammer,” McFate told Fox News Digital.

“That’s what he did in Grozny in 1999 when he was the new prime minister. That’s what he did in Aleppo,” McFate told Fox News Digital. “It’s in their playbook. As shocking as it is, it’s nothing new.”

US CALLS ‘CREDITABLE REPORTS’ OF PUTIN FORCES GATHERING UKRAINIANS IN ‘FILTRATION CAMPS’, THEN IN RUSSIA

State Department spokesman Ned Price said Monday that the United States is “receiving credible reports of torture, rape and civilians being executed alongside their families.”

“The images we’ve seen and the reports we’ve heard suggest that these atrocities are not the act of one rogue soldier. They are part of a larger, disturbing campaign,” Price said.

DISCLAIMER: GRAPHIC IMAGES BELOW

Ukrainian officials said around 300 civilians were killed in Bucha, a town about 20 miles northwest of kyiv, but NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned on Tuesday of scenes more poignant if Russian forces withdrew from other areas.

“When and if they pull their troops out and Ukrainian troops take over, I fear they will see more mass graves, more atrocities and more examples of war crimes,” Stoltenberg said during the interview. ‘a press conference.

EVIDENCE OF WAR CRIMES IN RUSSIA IS ‘DEVASTATING, DISGUSTING AND HARMFUL’: KIRBY

In addition to allegedly targeting civilians, Russian forces also blew up an industrial container of nitric acid in eastern Ukraine on Tuesday, sending noxious and noxious fumes into the air, Ukrainian officials said.

“Do not leave the bomb shelters. If you are inside, close the windows and doors,” Luhansk region governor Serhiy Haidai wrote on Facebook.

Russia has denied the war crimes charges. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called the Bucha scenes a “directed anti-Russian provocation”, while Moscow’s UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia accused the Ukrainians of staging “a gross fake”.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks from a distance during a meeting of the UN Security Council, Tuesday, April 5, 2022, at the United Nations headquarters.
((AP Photo/John Minchillo))

Part of the reason the West has been so shocked by Russian actions is an intelligence failure called mirror imaging, in which we process Putin’s invasion through our own lens.

“It’s a cardinal sin of intelligence analysis. Basically, you put yourself in Putin’s shoes, but you don’t understand Putin, you judge him as we would judge him,” McFate said. “What we think is good is actually not how they think about the world.”

Koffler echoed that sentiment, saying it’s wrong to expect Putin to do the same thing Americans might do in a given situation.

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“Bottom line, tactically, they’ve shown a lot of incompetence from an American perspective, but they have the wrong frame of reference,” Koffler said.

“The fight in Ukraine is to draw the red line for NATO membership, but also to demonstrate to other post-Soviet states that might think about this kind of change that significant costs will be imposed on them.”

Fox News’ Gillian Turner and Jennifer Griffin contributed to this report.