Battleground: Ukraine

A history podcast that explores the narratives, turning points and characters that shape conflicts, encompassing a blend of social and military history. Following on from the series on the Falklands War, best-selling military historians Patrick Bishop, and Saul David turn their attention to the war in Ukraine.

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10. Will Putin go nuclear?

10. Will Putin go nuclear?

Fri, 14 Oct 2022 01:00

This week on Battleground, Lieutenant Colonel Pavlo Khazan took a break from frontline action to discuss the latest Russian missile attacks, the possibility of a nuclear warhead being deployed, and what he thinks Ukraine's western allies should do.

Twitter: @PodBattleground

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A cast powers the world's best podcast. Here's a show that we recommend. I'm Brian Bafini, and my podcast It's a Good Life is all about helping entrepreneurs. Here's the thing. A recession is a terrible thing to waste. Over the next few episodes of the podcast, we'll touch on past recessions, why this one will be different, and how to be a recession buster. It's a good life. The podcast for entrepreneurs. A cast helps creators launch, grow, and monetize their podcast everywhere. Hello and welcome back to the Battleground Ukraine podcast with me, Saul David, and Patrick Bishin. It's been another dramatic week of developments in Ukraine, including a daring attack on the Kirch bridge that connects Crimea to mainland Russia and Putin's violent and indiscriminate response in the form of multiple rocket attacks on Ukrainian cities. After the break, we're going to be talking to an old friend of the podcast, left-helen colon Pavlo Kazan of the Ukrainian army, who took time off from his frontline duties on Monday, even as the rockets were raining down across Ukraine, to give us an update on recent Ukrainian successes on the battlefield, his fear that Russia might use a tactical nuclear weapon, and why Putin and other Russian war criminals as he sees them need to pay for what they've done. But first, we need to discuss the latest news, and it includes, of course, as I mentioned, the attack on the Kirch bridge, which is not only an important strategic target for Ukraine, as Russia uses it to bring in most of its military surprise for the southern front through Crimea, but also a hugely significant symbolic target because it was opened by Putin himself in 2018. So the first question I think we have to ask Patrick is, who do we think was responsible? The Ukrainians are the obvious ones, they haven't quite first up, and there's an alternative for you suggesting that the Russians themselves or Russian opponents of Putin might have something to do with it. I think in reality, it's probably the Ukrainians, the initial reports suggest a lorry, but a bomb on board, another intriguing possibility, James Bondish again, as we've seen quite a lot of this in this war, is some kind of missile fired from the water level where the bridge is at its weakest. The Russians apparently recently captured some sort of unmanned underwater vehicle, a kind of self-driving submarine. Well, it's possible, of course, that the Ukrainian equivalent of the, of our SPS used one of these to attack the bridge. This is what the Russians basically are saying. However, I wouldn't quite discount the story of the theory that the Russians themselves were responsible. Stories appear on pro-Cremlin channels of the telegram, messenger service. These offer a wealth of detail, which one would imagine could only come from inside the security services. About the operation, they named the driver. He was apparently a tata living in Krasnodar, the exact details of where and when he picked up his cargo, 21 tons of packaging material, all of which suggest the Russians, the Russians were behind it. You can read all about it in an article by the excellent Owen Matthews on the SPS website. But why would they do it? This is where it gets difficult. What do you think? Well, it's a very good question. I mean, the speculation is two elements, of course, within Russia. One, of course, is the hard right. This is a hard line response to provoke Putin into himself responding, which, of course, he has done, although we can discuss the timing of that. We could be, of course, opponents for the regime, too. I mean, it's very difficult to know. And it'll join a lot of other mysteries, frankly, like those who killed Daria Dugin, the daughter of the Russian ultra-nationalist Alexander Dugin, who was blown up by a car bomb in Europe. We know, of course, the consequences, or at least we think we know the consequences, because just a few days later, Russia, and this is a began on Monday of this week, Russia began firing on that day up to 80 cruise missiles, some say, even more at Ukrainian cities. Now, they didn't do an enormous amount of carnage, although any death, of course, is tragic in this war. They killed 12, and they wounded, scores more of people. And it's interesting that this indiscriminate act was celebrated, of course, by Russian hardliners, and was apparently ordered by the new commander of all the Russian forces in Ukraine, General Sergei Surovakin, 55 years old, and he made his name effectively destroying Aleppo in Syria. Yeah, we've all seen the pictures of him. He looks pretty nasty piece of work. His nickname is General Armageddon, which I just about sums up his modus operandi and his record to date. It's extraordinary to think this guy's been put in this very elevated position, given his past, he's served time in prison twice for allegedly selling weapons. This plays into what we've been hearing a lot about, the absolute centrality of corruption to the poor performance of the Russian forces. Even their senior commanders are up to their necks in all sorts of dirty dealings. He's also got a record of firing on his own people. He was led a military column against protesters all those years ago during the 1991 coup attempt against Mikhail Gorbachev, which resulted in several deaths. But I think it seems to me, as a lot of people have been saying, I think all everything points to this being a sign of weakness, rather than a genuine kind of use of resources that they've been leaving in reserve until now and are now bringing to bear. I think we've seen a rallying in the West, the US Germany, they're going to actually give it practical expression, their support, with something that has been sorely needed these last couple of days, anti-Missile systems, which are, we know, a capable of knocking down these cruise missiles. They were promised months ago, and now they're actually going to be sent. But I think against all that, we've got to remember that we still haven't got a global alliance against Russia, China and India have made disapproving noises, but they're still short of outright condemnation. And you have people who met me are allies, strategic allies, Saudi Arabia, are being particularly unhelpful. There was a recent OPEC meeting, their energy minister stood alongside the Russian deputy prime minister, and announced that they would be slashing oil production by 2%, which of course sent the price of crude rocketing. And this was after Joe Biden had sent envoys to re-ad begging them not to. Yeah, I mean with friends like that, of course, do you agree? I'm afraid if we go all the way back to 9-11, I'm not suggesting for a second, there was official Saudi complicity in that. But of course, it's very murky, the sequence of events leading up to and after. And of course, a lot of the perpetrators were Saudi nationals, albeit opponents of the regime. Very, very interesting speech given yesterday, Patrick, by the British head of GCHQ, Britain's Cybersecurity Agency, and that's Jeremy Fleming, who I myself actually met. A couple of months ago at GCHQ, very articulate, bright man, came from MI5, interesting enough. And I spoke to a former head of MI5, who said, well, the only reason Jeremy Fleming would have left is because he saw his route to the top of MI5 blocked by someone else, but he said he was hugely talented. And he gave this fascinating speech. And really quite encouraging to me, anyway, he made a lot of interesting points. And one of them was that the Russian forces are now in a desperate situation with supplies and munitions running out. And the implication is, of course, that GCHQ knows this. It is able to track messages. We know that the Russians are particularly bad at cybersecurity. Well, I say cybersecurity, I mean, general security on the battlefield in terms of information. So on that point though, Saul, don't you think that clearly this is part of a kind of overall information strategy? This is kind of insider information, which is being made public. What do you think the purpose of that is? I think there are two purposes, really. I think generally speaking, it's to calm fears in the west of an imminent nuclear attack. And we'll talk more about that later. But also, I think it's to firm up the western alliance, frankly. I suspect this is partly a speech that's been given after authorization from the government. And it's basically saying Russia is losing this war. And we need to keep going in our support for the Ukraine. Yeah, presumably it's also sending a message to the Russians saying, you know, we know just how dire the situation is. I mean, it's the signal is going in two directions. I would have thought, I don't know. What do you think? Yeah, exactly right. It's also saying that I think they want to stress to the Russians that the nuclear black male, the nuclear saber rattling, which has been ongoing since the start of this conflict, is not going to, is not going to wash. And as I say, we'll discuss other elements of his speech when we, as we move on through the program. I mean, there's another elephant in the room, of course, Patrick, as a possible response to the attack on the bridge. And that's Belarus. I mean, what do you think about the possibility that Belarus may actually come into the war on Russia's side? It's been completely up till now, but actually use its troops. Yeah, I think it's pretty unlikely. Again, I think it, there's a kind of rather clumsy attempt, I think, to get the Ukrainians to switch some of their resources from the crucial areas in the south and east, back up to the north to defend against an attack, which I don't think will probably come. I mean, if it did come judging by what's happened at the beginning of the war, it would probably be a disaster. You'd be using, you know, much depleted troops, low-grade troops against a very experienced defender who's already proved that they can rebuff and attack their once with great effect. So, I think that that's part of it. The other, I think, is it come straight from Lukashenko himself. It's a declaration of loyalty. He is really connected with the hip to Putin. He sinks or swims with him. I mean, Lukashenko has been in power since 1994. He's much hated by his own people. His survival depends on Putin's support. So he's bet the farm on Putin staying in power. So again, I think it's overall, it's a sign of general weakness and desperation. We all know that Putin is not in a good place, but just how weak do you think he is, sort? Well, you know, I'm a basic optimist in the pro-Ukrainian camp on this. And I think he's very weak. I think all the indicators, the points, Fleming's making, this wild lashing out by sending all those cruise missiles. I mean, after all, each cruise missile costs an awful lot of money. We know that the Russians are running out of munitions. I mean, they basically sent their whole fleet or a big chunk of their long-range missile fleet. So we can go and to what military purpose? That's the question you have to ask, Patrick, because actually that was a terror attack, not a targeted attack against military installation. So it's having no effect on the actual course of the war. It's simply for domestic consumption, I would suggest. Yeah. And we all know from our knowledge of the Second World War that this is militarily the effect of math on governments and civilian areas don't really make any sense at all. Look at the blitz. It killed more than 40,000 civilians in Britain. London was attacked virtually every night from September 1940 until April the following year. In one night, a learning coventry, we all remember the attack on Coventry in November 1945, 160 odd people were killed then. In Germany, throughout the course, there were 600,000 civilians were killed. Now, the effect is we're going to hear from Colonel Kazan later on. He just stiffens the resolve of the soldiers on the front line. They hear that their loved ones have been battered hundreds of miles away back in what is supposed to be or had seemed to be becoming safe areas. And all it does is just make them even more determined to defeat the enemy. Yeah. And the other question I suppose we're bound to ask, if we feel that Putin is getting weaker, which clearly he is. I mean, how weak his political base as a home is, is another matter, but that he is losing the war and it's very difficult to see a way for him to turn it round. It's pretty clear to me now that the consequences of all of that, of course, the fear that he might strike out, well, we're going to consider that in a little while. But of course, this also brings into another intriguing possibility and that NATO itself gets directly involved. What do you think of the chances? Well, before we get to that, Saul, I'm just thinking about the home base because it seems to me that he's now, Putin is now being manipulated by people who should be peripheral players. I'm thinking of these sociopathic types like Ramzan Kadyirov, the Chechen leader, and you have Gennie Prigozhin, the chief of the Wagner group, who's essentially a kind of mafia boss. Now, in a state like Russia, these people have got their uses. You can use them to kind of manipulate opinion and things like that, but they should not be calling the shots, but they really should be peripheral figures. They seem to be moving into the center. They're now dictating the narrative along with these social media blowhards. They seem to be calling the shots now. They're calling for a ramping up of these revenge attacks, and Putin is responding. Now, that seems to me to be a sign of grave weakness at the center. Now, to get back to NATO, I think we'll be hearing Gennie Prigozhin about this, but I think it's becoming more of a possibility, a conventional response of some nature, which really kind of removes the fiction that we're not really totally in on the Ukrainian side. It's a kind of a legalistic fiction, don't you think? Yeah, absolutely right. I mean, we are in this war. Let's be in no doubt about that. We don't have soldiers on the ground who are fighting in the front line. In fact, we've almost certainly got a few in Ukraine advising, but we're providing hardware. And this reminds me a little bit, Patrick, of the United States in 1940 and 1941 before Pearl Harbor. It was clearly in the war against Germany, although it hadn't declared war. Therefore, when Germany made the decision to clear war on the United States just after Pearl Harbor, it did so, as it said at the time, because nothing's actually changed. It was in effect already at war with the United States, and I suspect Russia regards the situation with NATO exactly like that now. Yeah, so I suppose there's nothing to lose really, is there? It's sort of politically expedient to tell people back home in the West that we're not actually at war with Russia when in DBR, in a moment, may come when that fiction is no longer necessary. Well, that's all for the first half. Do join us afterwards. This one will hear from Lieutenant Colonel Pavlo Kazan of the Ukrainian Army. Have you heard of Nautam? Hard to pronounce easy to put on. They make the world's fairest cashier that's ethically sourced, sustainable, and super soft. And the best part? Nautam works directly with herders in Mongolia to keep the herders pay high in war prices low. From classic sweaters to sheep dresses in the outerwear, Nautam has something for him, and more. Learn more at Acast powers the world's best podcast. Here's a show that we recommend. I'm Brian Bafini, and my podcast It's A Good Life is all about helping entrepreneurs. Here's the thing. A recession is a terrible thing to waste. For the next few episodes of the podcast, we'll touch on past recessions, why this one will be different, and how to be a recession buster. It's a good life. The podcast for entrepreneurs. Acast helps creators launch, grow, and monetize their podcasts everywhere. Welcome back. We're now going to hear from Lieutenant Colonel Pavlo Kazan, the commander of a C4 ISR unit of the Ukrainian Army, which specializes in reconnaissance, intelligence, and artillery fire correction. The Colonel, you might remember, spoke to us in late August, just as the recent counteroffensive were about to be launched. Needless to say, he did not let the cat out of the bag. Colonel, welcome back to the podcast. Obviously, a lot's been happening in Ukraine today. We're hearing reports of missile strikes across the country. Can you tell me where you are and what you've heard is happening today? We are now on the frontline. Of course, it was really terrible news again from peaceful territories in the morning. We started to walk early morning today. Of course, everybody once again saw the true face of this terroristic state called Russia. And Russians is killing our people again and again. They kill our civilians. They kill children, women, men. Everybody. Because it's really very difficult for me every time, from the beginning of the war. Because we are now here on the frontline with helmets, bulletproof, wears, weapon, and so on. And we are now fighting. And we understand where the enemy is, because this is a frontline. But it is really difficult. It is really complicated for civilians to understand and for us as well. Of course, civilians and peaceful territories in any time could be targeted by Russian missiles. And there's hundreds of missiles which are going to Ukrainian territory from Russia. And of course, it's terrible news for us. So we are waiting, of course, for new and new missiles. And we need to be prepared. We spoke before, Colonel, about the weapons that the West were supplying and how they had helped to tip the balance. What sort of new weapons would make a difference to these sort of long-range missile strikes? Yes. Indeed, first of all, artillery and very much appreciate to our West's importance for really beautiful weapon for 3.7 and Suzanne and other very good examples of artillery vehicles. It's the regular artillery and self-propeller artillery. And of course, this weapon could give us much more balance. At the same time, we understand that now Russian Army has really larger quantity of weapon, of people and of equipment. And our aim and our main weapon is our brains and we need to be as smart as possible. And of course, we need much more weapon, much more equipment from our Western partners because we need to use these modern technologies and high technological weapon to win this old-fashioned weapon, but with the mass quantity, this big quantity of weapon. Let me spoke at the end of August, the Ukrainian military or since we spoke, the Ukrainian military has achieved a number of spectacular gains on the battlefield in the northeast, east and south. Can you give us an assessment of why your armed forces are doing so well and why on the other hand, the Russian Army is performing so poorly? Yes, from the beginning of August, it was many big successes of the Ukrainian army and of course, this is first of all because of our big experience of brave and heroic people in the Ukrainian army, very professional, very highly equipped and trained. But of course, it's also because of good equipment, good weapon which we received from Western partners. And I already said about artillery equipment, my unit is working with 3.7 weapons and this other artillery, self-properial artillery. But this is also because of Hymars, which is also very important in this war. It's a very precise equipment, very precise weapon and I think that we need much more of this weapon. It's been as soon as possible, as quick as possible because first of all, this is a war of technologies and we have smaller army, we have lower quantity of our personnel, but we can much more trained people and of course, we have much more motivated people because we are protecting our motherland, we are protecting our land. And this is only a way for us to win in this war. And if we compare with the Russian soldiers who came to Ukraine just to kill civilian people just to destroy our city and of course, this is absolutely another motivation and the level of professionalism is lower than Ukrainian and of course, the moral level, we could not say of course about the morality and about the moral level of this Russian army. Can you tell us a little bit about your unit's personal contribution to the recent successes? We are, is C4, SR Group, we have different kind of work, first of all, we are doing our work as artillery fire correction, working with different types of artillery here on the front line. Also we are doing electronic support, we have very high technological equipment which give us possibilities to make a support to our UAVs on the front line. We, we discover in the electromagnetic picture of our sports where we are working on and also be doing this common support, this common operation picture programs, this C4, SR is command control, computing communications, intelligence, civilians and reconnaissance. So this is very complex activity, this is what I can say of course, it's very limited, sorry I can say, but this is very complex via combining this intelligence and reconnaissance within artillery fire correction and this electronic support and communication issues to implement high technologies in a processing and analyzing of information and transmitting of data around the units on the front line. It's territorial defense forces and land force and other types of army. Do you have any personal knowledge kernel of the morale of the Russian soldiers? You spoke about morality but what about their willingness to actually carry out orders on the battlefield? Yeah, first of all, what indicators which are characterizing the Russian's alcoholism and drug using and they are not support, they wanted soldiers on the front line. So for Russians, their soldiers, it's just a myth and as we see in some videos which we receive from our intelligence or even from social networks that they even told like openly that the officers say to soldiers to privates that you are a meat for a front line. So this is a really very low level of morality and it's not strange because these people come in to our territory just to kill people, just to kill civilians, just to destroy our cities. So it's not strange for us. Yeah, and you talked about the soldiers effectively being fed into a meat grinder and lack of respect from the officers towards the ordinary soldiers which I imagine is the opposite of the experience in the Ukrainian army. Are you concerned about the potential extra numbers of soldiers that Russia might be able to send into the fight? Yes, indeed. We know about this mobilization and despite that they will mobilize the alcoholics and the drug addicted people, of course it will be quantity of personnel and we should be prepared that many more units will come to the front line. Yes, they will be not very trained. They will not be motivated. They will be not equipped with good weapon and equipment. Nevertheless, we should be prepared and we are doing our best to be prepared to new wave of this mobilization and to have many more units on the front line. How concerned are you that Putin will try to halt the recent tide of defeats by using a tactical nuclear weapon? It's a really big issue and it's a big discussion. I read many analytics about it and I think it's really possible. It's really big danger and I believe that our friends, our partners in Western Europe and the USA should be prepared for this situation and Ukraine, of course, we should be prepared to this situation because it's really possible that Putin and Russian army, Russian government will use a tactical nuclear weapon and actually there is no very strict border between strategic and tactical weapon because it just depends of the potential of this charge, of nuclear charge. That is why it's possible that Putin will target first of all front line, first of all our units on the front line, on the east and down bars, on the carcass and in the south on the hair zone direction. But it is also possible that he could also use it for cities but I think with the less probability. And if he does cross that red line, what do you think the West response should be? You know it's a very complex question because I believe it's always lead red lines, it's always and always our comes. This is the new red line with nuclear weapon and I think this is my personal opinion that of course we need to prevent all this attack, all this nuclear attack to destroy all possible bases on the territory of Russia. It's of course very difficult for Western politician to talk about targeting on Russian territories. This is very sensitive political question because we still fighting on Ukrainian territory and this is what was with the illegal bridge next to Crimea. It was also Ukrainian territory but we have been now fighting on Ukrainian territory but in this situation I think that only prevention of this nuclear attack will be fruitful, will be necessary for all the world because if Putin, if Russians will attack with nuclear weapon it will be unbelievable danger, unmeasurable danger because nobody knows what will be the consequences because we still don't know about consequences from Chernobyl catastrophe or from Fukushima catastrophe but in case if real nuclear weapon will be used even if this weapon is called tactical weapon, nobody knows what will be the consequences not only for Ukraine but all the Europe and all the world. So Colonel, you seem to be suggesting that there should be a preemptive strike using conventional weapons if it looks likely that Russia is going to use it. Absolutely. I even think that we need to shift on the new stage of this war because we absolutely understand but this is third world war and of course the Belarus already involved in this war and it is like some kind of hide it involvement but nevertheless they completely involved in this war and of course our Western partners they are not officially involved in this war but within weapon and equipment, training, advising and everything of course this is third world war and I believe that we need to shift on the new stage of this war to attack Russian territory to protect our territory from the possible new attacks from a Russian basis from Russian territory. Speaking a little bit further ahead Colonel, when we spoke in August you said then you were fairly confident that Ukraine would win and not only win recover all its lost territory including Crimea. Do you feel even more confident now? I think that we have only way now to win because there is no way back for us and this is of course some kind of political question because always we are thinking about our lives because as I am as a commander I would like to protect my people on the frontline but our politicians would like to protect Ukrainian people. At the same time I think that we should talk about all Ukrainian territory. We need to release all Ukrainian territory and of course we have to think how to do it more effective with less losses of our soldiers and our civilian people. But there is no space for negotiation with terrorists. There is no space now to negotiate with Russia or to convince them or to propose them somehow because we can see that there is no adequate response from them. This is like a absolutely for us it is absolutely clear that Russia would like to destroy us and Russia would like to damage Ukraine and would like to make Europe and all country be afraid from their actions and in this situation. There is only way to destroy Russia as a country and I believe that it is impossible to have such a country in a civilized war. It is absolutely impossible to have such as member of UN or other international organization and this is also time to think it's time to measure. It's time to evaluate how international organizations could have this country as a member. Yeah, I agree. And one solution of course is to expel Russia from the Security Council of the United Nations which it wills in a political sense. What do you think will happen to Putin? Can he survive the humiliation of losing a war? I think that Putin should be like other military criminals should be in prison. And this is international law and I believe in rule of law and social justice. And that is why I believe that Putin and other people who are responsible for the beginning of the war and for managing of the war should be in prison. At the same time I am absolutely sure that all Russian citizens are also responsible for this war because they elected this parliament, they elected president and they mostly of them, mostly of them are supporting activity of Russian army on the Ukrainian territory. They support this war. Well that was a very powerful interview. I was struck by the emotional, his voice as he talks about the scale of the missile attack on the civilian infrastructure. Clearly this is having a huge effect on the soldiers who are defending their loved ones and there must be a feeling of impotence when you're on the front line and you can't do anything to protect. I think there are a lot of things when we spoke to him before we were both impressed by the resolve of the Ukrainian troops as articulated by him and that seems to be holding strong I would say. Yeah, just to quickly add on your first point, Patrick, it's terribly difficult isn't it? Probably they felt this a little bit in the Second World War when they were fighting in distant climes and even in Europe and of course people at home are being bombed and it's infuriating really because as he says, everyone's got their body armor on, you know what the situation is, you're up against your enemy and you're on the front line but to think about the defenseless civilians in the cities all over Ukraine, it's just so moving to hear him talk about that and of course as we discussed before it's just doubling down on his resolve isn't it? Absolutely and we come back to what appeared to be an imbalance at first sight with a kind of might of Russia on one side and little or relatively little Ukraine on the other but as he says and I don't think it's a boastful statement, they are a lot smarter than the people that they're fighting, they've got the technology, they've got the skills and they've got the determination. Yeah and they're talking about of course inevitably in the context of these recent attacks that they need more, I mean we've supplied a lot of good stuff which he checked off the triple sevens, the high mars, the self propelled artillery but now they need these anti-missile systems that are going to prevent these attacks on the cities and it is infuriating Patrick to think that both the Americans and the Germans promised these systems months ago and they're only now finally rushing forward the delivery because of course of the recent attacks, it is I suppose another example of how those in discriminate attacks are back firing on Russia. You do have to ask yourself why it was that they were so reticent in supplying something that they actually promised because a lot of people have died because of this delay. I suppose the early explanation is somehow they thought it might be provocative but I think that moment has long passed and it goes back to what we were saying about the high probability I think in both our views that NATO is going to be much more obviously engaged in the weeks and months to come. Yeah, well he made a lot of interesting points about the different kind of motivation of the two sides. Now of course he would say that the Ukrainians are, you know, morale is high and they're determined to defend them and that they're determined to defend their motherland. I mean that I think that goes without saying but it's his characterization of the Russians that I thought was particularly blunt. They just come to kill as what he said. You know, their moral level is zero and worse than that. You know, when I asked about morale as opposed to morality, you know, he said that they're just taking a lot of alcohol and drugs and that even worse there's this real disconnect which we've discussed before Patrick and has always been present in Russian armies between officers and soldiers. You do have to again ask yourself what is in the minds of these Russian troops but not just the troops I'm thinking about the Air Force. A lot of these missiles are delivered from aircraft so, you know, as a pilot in a highly sophisticated military aeroplane you would regard yourself as being part of the sort of elite and there you are standing off at a very safe distance pressing a button that sends a missile into what you know is not a legitimate military target. I mean how do they sleep at night? Yeah, well, you know, I don't want to drag us back to the second one or again but of course the pilots in the RAF, you know, the story very well Patrick, you've written about it. I think the difference between the precision bombing and the area, the so-called area bombing which is basically just destroying large chunks of cities. We may feel now, didn't some of the pilots feel uneasy about that? I mean, you tell me Patrick, I'm guessing some of them did feel uneasy about it but they still on the whole carry it out their orders. Yeah, there were a mark me few pilots who at the time felt disquiet about what they were doing a lot more course after the war when it became clear just how devastating and deadly the whole strategic bombing campaign had been. But I think what you've got to remember is there is a very large element of, well, they started it, everyone in those airplanes had either direct or indirect experience of the blitz they might have lost members of their family. They had certainly, because they were based in Britain, see the destruction, physical destruction to cities that was done by the Luftwaffe. So I think that did quite a lot to blunt moral sensibilities. I can't really see that there's any real equivalent experience on the Russian side of this conflict. No, because as we know, it was a response in the Second World War to an absolute terror regime that had begun the war and the opposite is true in this particular case. I suppose you have to get into the heads of Russian servicemen, particularly those who have been brainwashed into believing that this is a just war. That absolutely fascinating point made. And this rather goes against everything I've been saying recently, Patrick, which is the genuine fear among Ukrainians and the colonel himself that there will be a new attack. And he made an interesting point actually about the difference between tactical and strategic. He said there isn't much difference. It's just to do with the size of the warhead. You know, let's not get caught up in that. But he thinks there's a real danger. And of course, he's on the front line where he suspects the first explosion is likely to come. And I'm absolutely right about this division that is really not existent between strategic and tactical. Interesting that on our side, the intelligence is saying it's not that likely. You've got some interesting insight into that, have news all about the actual mechanics of deploying a nuclear warhead of whatever description. Yeah, well, I was having a chat with someone who knows about these things recently who said that actually before you can use a nuclear weapon, you are going to send off some kind of signature, electronic signature, presumably, that can be identified. And what's fascinating about the Fleming speech, that's the head of our GCHQ cybersecurity organization, Jeremy Fleming saying yesterday, actually, we think that the use of attack in nuclear weapon in Ukraine is, as he put it, a long way off. And that the intelligence agencies, including GCHQ, have a good chance of spotting in an attack. So that's confirming what we've heard before. And it also links into what the Colonel was saying, which is that I hope before a nuclear attack that the West actually responds. And I pressed him on that, Patrick, and he said, no, no, I absolutely am talking about a preemptive strike on any sites where the Russians may be able to use nuclear weapons from. And what's interesting about all of this when we piece it all together, is it, I think it makes me feel a little bit easier, I hope it makes the Colonel feel easier if he's listening to the program after we go out, that actually that's what Fleming is saying. We have the capacity to do. And the implication is we might do it. Yeah. So we're talking about an air raid. A precision is really a style, if you want air raid on the actual site where the nuclear missile would be launched from or the air base from where the aircraft would take off. Is that how you see it? Yes, we need to make this clear, actually, because it does set a bit alarm, isn't it? If you're not specific, we're talking about a conventional strike either with precision missiles or with planes on the locations or on the bases and on the missile launchers or anything that can actually send a nuclear weapon. So that's what he's calling for. That's apparently what we have the capacity to do. But I don't think it's going to get anywhere near that personally, Patrick, because I suspect these conversations are going on as we discussed last week, there are chains of communication still open to Moscow and that they will be making it very clear that that is the likely response if Russia even thinks about using a nuclear weapon. So I don't think it's likely any time soon, but that's not going to make people in Ukraine feel a whole lot better when they're worried about the destruction of their civilian population. Yeah. The big takeaway for me from your conversation was that as he said previously, the Colonel blames the whole Russian people for what's going on, not just the Kremlin. So the Russian people put food in there, they've kept them there. And the consequence of that is that the only way we're going to get peace in his mind is destroying a whole Russian way of thinking and doing things. So in other words, Carthageau Dylenda est, you went to a post school. So you'll know what that means. Carthage must be destroyed as Kato kept telling the Senate during the Third Punic War. Was it 149, roughly 150 BC? And as indeed it was. I think this is a very, very important thing we've got to keep in our minds is that the Ukrainian people, this is a mild-mannered, decent guy, the Colonel. And there's him saying this absolutist doctrine. And I think that's probably going to be true of most Ukrainians that this war can only end, not only when the Russians have been driven out of every square meter of Ukrainian territory, but when the whole rotten edifice of post-communist rule collapses. Now what happens after that is anyone's guess, but one thing is sure that there's plenty of trouble ahead, certainly. Yeah, for sure. And just the stress he's an electrical engineer and environmentalist. I mean, he's the last person, frankly, Patrick, you would think we'd be talking in such hard-line terms. So it is slightly scary because as soon as you double down in that way, it makes it very difficult for the other side, so to speak, to withdraw from a war with any kind of semblance of dignity, frankly. But that's his point, isn't it? There shouldn't be any dignity Putin needs to fall. And I'd rather agree with that, but as you say, Patrick, what comes next, then, and could it be even worse than Putin? I mean, we'll find out, of course. OK, well, that's all we've got time for. Join us next week when we'll be talking to a key analyst or participant in the war and bringing you all the latest news. Goodbye. Acast powers the world's best podcast. Here's a show that we recommend. I'm Brian Bafini, and my podcast It's a Good Life is all about helping entrepreneurs. Here's the thing. A recession is a terrible thing to waste. Over the next few episodes of the podcast, we'll touch on past recessions, why this one will be different, and how to be a recession buster. It's a good life. The podcast for entrepreneurs.