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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40. Snipers, Assassinations, and New Nato Members

40. Snipers, Assassinations, and New Nato Members

Fri, 07 Apr 2023 00:00

This week on Battleground: Saul and Patrick cast doubt over claims by the Wagner group that they have more or less taken Bakhmut, they take a look at the possible suspects behind the assassination of a Russian military blogger in St Petersburg, and they look at Finlands rapid accession to NATO which doubles NATO's border with Russia. They also delve into a fascinating haul of listeners questions.

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Producer: James Hodgson

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Hello and welcome to the Battleground Ukraine podcast with me Saul David and Patrick Bishop. Well despite the Bergman groups claim to have more or less taken back moot, the Ukrainians appear to be holding on and activity has dropped away as exhaustion takes its toll on both sides. The Lawn Will of course give the Ukrainians a breather while they build up their resources for the forthcoming offensive and for the Russians it will be an opportunity to strengthen their defenses. We'll be looking into all that as well as the consequences of Finland's very speedy accession to NATO as well as the assassination of a pro-war blogger who's blown up in a cafe in St Petersburg. Let's start with that Saul. That was a sort of characteristic murky affair wasn't it with a very widely spaced cast of suspects. The Russian State's claiming that the Ukrainian Secret Service was behind it quite predictably iceberg with the help of supporters of the jailed anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navelle, equally predictably I suppose. But others are saying meanwhile that it was a state operation and partly ongoing spat between the Ministry of Defense and the Vagna Bosch, you've got any regurgian. What do you reckon? Well it's a tricky one isn't it? We've been here before too haven't we? The dead blogger I should say is a real piece of work. He goes by the name of Vlad Len Tatarsky but his real name is or was Maxim Formin. So let's call him that. He comes from Donetsk and was in jail for armed robbery when he was freed by pro-Russian forces. He then transformed himself at some point into a pro-war propagandist which of course does not mean that he's pro the Russian army top brass quite the country. So he's been doing his fair share of bashing Shogu, the Minister of Defense and Gerasimov, the Russian commander in Ukraine and basically pushing the pre-gusion line that the war is being lost not by the troops but by the high command. So he's clearly not popular with a military top brass. And another possible clue is that the cafe where he was blown up in St Petersburg is owned by pro-gusion and himself that is pro-gusion was going to speak there at some point. Pro-gusion has hinted darkly that the attack was aimed at him without specifying who was behind it. But the person has actually been arrested in connection with the blasters from the opposite end of the spectrum. She's a young woman called Durya Tripova. She's 26. She's got a bit of an anti-war record. She was arrested way back in February last year for taking part in an anti-war demonstration. And the Russian investigative committee which handles major crimes is claiming that she was the agent of a joint conspiracy between the Ukrainian secret services and supporters of Navalny. Now this interesting footage you can see anywhere on the internet of her going into the cafe carrying a box inside of which is a statueette which was later presented to form in the cafe. Before it exploded killing him and wounding many of the people that were gathered there to hear him give a talk. People have drawn attention to the Russian tradition of female assassins citing the killing in 1881 of Sir Alexander II known as the Liberator. He abolished Serfdom. And that killer there was a young woman called Sophia, but of Skaya who was a leading light in the revolutionary terrorist group calling itself the People's Will, Nair Voliya. And that was in Serfdom. It was well, of course there was Fanny Katplund who tried but sadly failed to kill Lenin in August 1918. But all in all I don't buy that, Daryer seems a very unlikely assassin. She worked in a vintage clothes shop. I think it's more likely as her husband suggests that she was a patsy who was duped into delivering the exploding statueette. And the claim that she's connected to Navalny is a smear. I mean she might be a supporter of Navalny, but I very much doubt she's an agent of some Navalny terror operation. I mean that's not his style at all. But he is coming up for trial fairly soon. So this might be a useful bit of quasi pseudo evidence in the prosecution armory. Yeah, it's very tricky, isn't it? We're hearing all these conflicting reports of responsibility. There's also been a claim from an outfit called the National Republican Army. It sounds like something out of Ireland in the 1970s Patrick, which may be linked to another spectacular bombing, the one that killed Daryer Dugina, the pro-war activists and daughter of ultra-nationalist propagandist Alexander Dugin back in August. Now my own belief is in line with pre-Gosians claim that this is more likely to be another episode in the ongoing war between the Russian military establishment and Wagner. And let's not forget Patrick that the FSB has a history of using bombs to assassinate opponents, smear the opposition and in the case of Chechnya, almost 20 years ago, providing a justification for going to war. Of course, yeah. Well like we said, not much action on the battlefield at the moment, but strong signs that we're moving on to the next phase. I attended a briefing this morning by Western officials and there were lots of indicators that the dynamic is now in the process of shifting, with Ukraine getting into a full preparation mode for the offensive and the Russians stealing themselves to withstand the blow. Before we get there, there was some comment at the briefing on the fast-tracked arrival of Finland into the NATO fold and how this has had an immediate impact on the military situation in Ukraine. Basically Russia now has to treat Finland not as a neutral but as a potentially hostile state on its border, which means they've got to put troops up into that area facing Finland, which of course can ill afford to do because it means that the troops they put there won't be available for use on the Ukrainian front. No, it's a huge border. In effect, I think the statistics we're hearing is that Russia's border with NATO countries has now doubled. So the question is, will they be able to do that? Will they have the troops and you're quite right to suggest that they might not Patrick, as I understand it, the briefers were saying that basically they've gone ahead and despair and the chances of raising new troops are heavily constrained. The intelligence assessment is that Russia needs 400,000 more troops to make up losses, keep the war in Ukraine going and fulfill its ongoing security needs. But where they're going to come from, they've increased the length of conscription duty, raised the age of service, but stopped short of another mobilization, interestingly, clearly fearing the political consequences. Even if they get the men's, although who's going to train them? All the trainers are either fighting or they're dead or wounded, so they'd be sending men into battle with a gun in their hands and that's about it. Whereas on the Ukrainian side, these officials were pretty sanguine about their ability to handle the losses that they're undoubtedly suffering. We still don't know how many, of course. And they've got a very well oiled system for rotating people out of the front line. They still have a reserve of trained, not necessarily battle-tested troops, but very highly trained compared to the Russian counterparts. Many of them, of course, have been trained outside the country and the UK and Europe and etc. And they're also reorganizing, they've regained the core structures clearly to get ready for this offensive. It's interesting, isn't it? The number of hints we're getting from Western officials, as you say, Patrick, that the offensive is imminent. But what about the date? Were there any hints about when it might start? Well, not really. I asked a question about whether it seems to be whether there's a big factor. The grounds got to be hard enough to allow these very heavy, actually, main battle tanks to move around without getting bogged down. It's still pretty wet there. But strangely, they didn't seem to have been able to provide any precise information about when the summer actually arrives in Ukraine or that part of Ukraine. But there are other signs that they were prepared to talk about that the build-ups already pretty advanced. Things that you have to have in place like tank transporters, because this is a vast battle space and you can't just try to tank up into the front line. But these are arriving tank transporters to move around to where they're needed. Also very vital, essential, engineering kit, frontline repair shops, bridging equipment, very important to get across waterways, rivers, etc. The stockpiling ammunition, incidentally the fears, which we remember from a couple of weeks or maybe more back, that they were going to run out of ammunition that Western supply couldn't keep up with Ukrainian demand. They don't seem to be realized. Very interesting and all the pieces of the Jigsaw are slowly being put together. It's interesting, a lot of the op-eds that we're seeing in Western newspapers at the moment, Patrick, are talking about a crisis point looming for Putin. One of the obvious reasons is that this counteroffensive is really going to have an effect. And do I think it'll happen? Well, we've already talked about this many times. We don't know for sure, but I would say late spring early summer at the latest to give this offensive enough time really to have effect while the ground is firm. And from what we also gather, the Russians are carrying out extensive defensive preparations as indeed they might. As I understand it, they're now using civilian contractors to strengthen defenses in the south, which, frankly, is another example of how the military capacity on the Russian side has been stretched to the limit by this war. They simply don't have the capacity to do the job themselves. Finally, they did have a word to say this is the briefers about Bakmuk. You may have seen that pre-Gojin released some films showing the Wagner flag flying over the city's administrative building, which I take to be the town hall emblazoned, actually, with the name of Maxime Formine, say tribute to the fallen comm raid. But the officials weren't sure how genuine it was. And they believe that the Ukrainians are still holding on there and will continue to hold on there. And the Russian gains there and in Makayevka, they said are being measured in meters. If they do actually get anywhere, it's not anywhere like the kind of momentum that you need to actually get the city to fall at this moment. Now, it's all I understand that David Alexander, our old friend, he's been in touch with some fascinating developments on the cyber front. He did indeed. David, very generously, has offered up, which I think we've mentioned on the podcast before, to keep us updated with any important news on the cyber front. And we're getting these updates every two or three weeks. But the latest is really fascinating because it relates to the NTC Vulcan files. I mean, I'll explain what they are or at least I'll let David explain what they are in a second. But fascinating because what these files are showing and these these files were leaked. I mean, the New York Times got their hands on this story and these files were leaked to Western sources. And they basically show the extent of Russia's cyber warfare capability and the key company that was involved in this. And so I'm just going to read out some of the message that I got from David and we only got it literally 24 hours ago because it's pretty fascinating. Now he's confirming the story. That's the first thing we need to know because there have been reports in the press that this is misinformation, not according to David. So he writes NTC Vulcan is an IT consultancy based in Moscow. Somebody with access to that material, not necessarily an insider, but more than 50% probability that it is an insider has leaked it to the West to show how they provide support and cyber intelligence warfare capability to Russia's military and intelligence organizations. And here's the interesting thing. In short, Russia now has their own Edward Snowden. Just remember what this outfit is. As I understand it, it's like a, it's a supposedly civilian, what high-tech surveillance type thing is it or, but it's actually operated by two former military guys and is essentially a subcontractor to the, to the state. Is that right? Exactly. I mean, I think the point here, Patrick, is that if you hire, that is the Russian government hire a private outfit like this, you've got deniability. And as David goes on to explain Markov and Tom Markov is the co-founder and chief executive of Vulcan. And he and Alexander Zatsky, the other co-founder of both graduates of the St. Petersburg Military Academy and former army officers. So there's the clue. The consultancy was set up to provide information security services in the commercial sector and still does work as a front operation. But in 2011, we now know Vulcan received special government licenses to work on classified military projects and to store and process classified information belonging to the state. And in other words, the material that we now, we now have from these leaked files highlights the fact that Vulcan worked for several Russian intelligence and military agencies, including FSB, GRU and SRV, SRV being the foreign intelligence services and various other subunits. And it also gives evidence of their links to the 2014 power blackout in Ukraine, disruption of the Olympics in South Korea, and attempts to skew the outcome of the French and US elections and the creation of some of the best known malware attacks, such as not Petia, which David's written about before. And he goes on to say that there are diagrams in these leaked files and details of the power generation and energy distribution networks in the United States. One of the main motivations behind the development of a US cyber defense capability was the discovery of pre-position malware in the control systems of the US power grid. In other words, somebody, or more certainly Russia, was preparing the capability to turn America off as David puts it, but they were found out before they decided to use it. And as David goes on to say, that's always a risk with resident malware. Somebody will find it before it can be used. Yeah, well that sounds like that's a big gain in the cyber war for the West, isn't it? Because we're particularly for America, because they've now knowing all this stuff though. If they haven't already discovered the malware, they'll be able to now root it out and presumably strengthen their cyber defenses. Okay, well that's enough for now. Do join us after the break when we'll be answering listeners' questions. Welcome back. Okay, the first question is from Karen O'Shea. He's actually written his name out in the proper Irish spelling and given us helpfully pronunciation. So I hope I haven't mangled that, Karen. Hello again, Jens. I'm going to do one of your listeners' questions in relation to why there is a fear in the West of risking a complete breakup of the Russian Federation. Simply put, is it because Russia would descend into absolute chaos? It would be power grab after power grab in each locality and that's all grand, but when you take into account the Russian stocks of weaponry, especially the nukes who takes those on, the West fears complete Russian collapse due to the risk of nukes getting flopbed down the local market by any Del Boy looking to make a few quid in the absence of centralized state control. Yeah, I think there is something in that actually Patrick. I mean, I suppose you have to get your head around the fact that Russia itself, Russia being the key component of the Russian Federation, actually controls the nukes. So, but nevertheless they are placed in other locations and there is a danger I suppose if it all goes to Pot that some of them might get on the open market. So yeah, good points, I think the West, more generally speaking, Patrick, does not want a complete breakup of the Russian Federation. Yes, I think that's always a central thought or worry concern in calculations about what happens when a foe that you might have who you would, in an ideal world, wouldn't exist. You could actually look at what happens if they are removed. I'm thinking particularly of Iraq and Saddam Hussein. So under George Bush senior, the thinking very much was okay. We don't like Saddam. He's got to be put back in his box, but he's going to stay in his box. And so it's containment, it's not destruction. Well, precisely the risks that they knew they were running were very evident when his son actually decided to get all the way. And the whole place fell apart in short order and we're still living with the consequences. I think that will be very much in the minds of American planners when they're trying to game the future. So yeah, I think be careful what you wish for. Got one here from Global Unionist, his Twitter name, he says, love the podcast. Are you ever concerned that the seemingly cutting edge information and intel that you receive and broadcast also plays into Russian hands? What do you think about that? That's all. It's a good question, isn't it? I'd love to think that the FSB is monitoring our podcast, you know, a few more listeners in Russia would be very handy. But we really only have a handful and in reality Patrick, I mean, you'll know this from your work as a journalist. I mean, we're given enough information for all kinds of reasons, for keeping Western support, going for the war, but we're not going to be given vital intelligence information by Western officials or you claim for that matter that is actually going to be useful for Russia. I don't believe that for a minute. Yeah, yes, indeed. Okay, we've got another question here from Gretchen in UK, Hygiene, loving the podcast, which is one of my essential weekly lessons. I'll be interested to hear what the role of the Ukrainian police has been during this conflict. I've just returned from the police and often wonder how the British police would operate in similar circumstances. Patrick, got a thought on that? Well, I think the police are just being policemen by and large, but there is such a thing as the special police forces, which is Spetsielni Bolitskii Sili. I think it's something like that anyway. And there are Ukrainian volunteer corps, they were set up way back in 2014, from from regular police, and they formed into companies and they've been fighting in the Donbass and ever since, as a kind of paramilitary force, first of all, it gives pro-Russian separatists and now against the Russians themselves. So there's something for them to think about, perhaps they could get together and have their own international brigade of cops to go and fight the good fight. Yeah, a couple of other thoughts. Some of the police from Odessa, I think it was, featured in that rather wonderful documentary that we interviewed the producer many episodes ago and they had volunteered basically from their duties as policemen to fight on the front line. And also, if I remember right in Patrick, in France, their anti-terrorist organisation is a part of the police, isn't it? And we've got the SBS and the SAS, which are of course a military organisation. So you do get this kind of curious crossover in some countries between police paramilitary organisations, don't you? Okay, we've got another one here from Robb. Hi, if the new real Cold War is between China and the US, then here we have Russia and Ukraine both acting as proxy forces. So whilst China is not the driving force for the conflict, Russia is, the conflict sits within a wider ontology where China and US are the key players, not Russia. What are your thoughts? Give a very good point, Robb. Patrick, do you basically agree with that? Yeah, I think there is a sort of strong element of truth in that. I think it's a situation is developing all the time, but I think it's sort of heading in that direction. I've always reminded, actually, of the Spanish Civil War, and you could look back and see big echoes today and what was happening back then in the 1930s. Essentially, you have a sort of cockpit, which is separate from the interests of the main players, and in that cockpit, these two big world views are being fought out. So you've got communism or socialism or anywhere kind of left interpretation of the world, surrogate versus a fascist surrogate. And so you could say you were looking at the same thing here. You've got one side, you've got an authoritarian nationalism, the interests of those, IE and Russia versus a democratic, globalist, capitalist, Western philosophy. Well, we've got one here from Jeffrey Russell, who we often mention is Stalingrad Metaphore, that's going to come up later on. But he's referencing the Winter War, the 1939 war between Russia and Finland, interesting actually in light of recent events, and he's saying that, you know, to his mind, that seems like a worthwhile historical comparison with a heavily outnumbered, outgunned, outarmored Finland actually managing to hold off the Russians against everyone's expectations. So right until March 1940 and all without any assistance from the outside, do you think that's a valid comparison, saw? It is a good comparison, and of course the big difference, which he also mentions is that the Finns managed to hold off Russia until Russia regroups, rethought, replan the invasion, and the second invasion was successful, and we've actually forced the Finns to submit. The difference, of course, is that Finns didn't have strong Western support. There was some talk actually, interestingly Patrick, as I'm sure you remember, of sending a mission, a military support to Finland, but of course it was terribly difficult to get to. Now it's very different. You've got NATO on the border of Ukraine, and I think the broader point that Jeffries trying to make is that without that immediate support from the West, Ukraine probably would have gone under in the subsequent months. Well, that may or may not be true, and how quickly that have gone under, nobody knows, but the chance of them winning the war without Western support would have been vanishingly small. We do agree with that. Okay, here we've got one from Ed Butler, based in Kuala Lumpur as an old war study student, is a huge fan of the podcast. He'd love to hear us shedding a little more light on the sanctions regime. For example, how effective is it proving, but also more pointedly, can we expect sanctions on Russia and its leadership to end immediately at the point of a negotiated peace, or assuming Ukraine manages to claim victory with sanctions come to an end immediately, or would that depend on certain contingencies, like the paying of reparations or the handing over a put into the ICC? What do you think, Patrick? Well, I think very briefly to answer the second question, I think that sanctions will be in place for quite a long time after any ceasefire. But I think this is a really interesting subject, and rather than going into it now in a kind of, you know, less than fully prepared way, we're going to take up your suggestions and get an expert in down the line to do a full interview on it. Yeah. Okay. Now, a question from Jack from Great Yarmouth on Republican voters, and the fact that we flagged up the dangers, if one of the two front runners for the Republican presidency get in. Trump, of course, has recently been indicted. In fact, he's appearing in court at the moment, hasn't he, Patrick? So whether or not he's going to be available to take up the presidency, if, indeed, he wins, or is allowed to continue in the race, is another matter. The broader question is why are American Republicans who are obviously right of center in their politics? Why do they not see the bigger picture and the fact that actually money spent on supplying weapons to Ukraine now is, you know, doing the job that American troops may have to do down the line in obviously curbing Russian ambitions, but also China and the longotun. And it is a perfectly reasonable question, actually, isn't it? There is this long tradition of isolationism within American politics. We know that. But anyone who has any sense and can accept that China is the bigger problem, which most of the Republicans can. Why do they not see this stopping of Russia as a kind of proxy of China, an important job to be done now, and you're doing it with money rather than American lives? I mean, it's a reasonable point to make, isn't it? Yeah, no, I completely take that. But I mean, you know, we're up in the air here, aren't we? As it stands, American supporters pretty solid and the American presidential elections are sometime away and the positions that certainly to Sanctis is taking now may be much more to do with, you know, domestic politics building up his campaign for the nomination rather than actually what he intends to do if he ever gets to the White House. Going to run two together here now from Roger Bentley and Jack Gargan. And they're both making the same point, which is that when we talk about Stalin-Grad, of course, the role of the stipend, Stalin-Grad was quite important. And asking whether the same is true of what's going on in back work. Well, of course, Stalin-Grad was indeed a sniper's happy hunting ground, a famous Russian sniper. Do you remember him, sort of Vasily Zayedsev, who's meant to have killed 225 Germans? He wrote a rather bloodthirsty memoir. I'm just going to dug out a little quote from it where he says, as a sniper, I've killed more than a few Nazis. I have a passion for observing enemy behavior. Watch a Nazi officer come out of a bunker, acting all high on mighty, ordering his soldiers every which way, and putting on an air of authority. The officer hasn't got the slightest idea that he only has a few seconds to live. So pretty chilling stuff. He had a duel with a German sniper. Owen Kernik, he eventually won it. Kernik was killed. And of course, it was turned into a movie, wasn't it? I think was it Brad Pitt paying the sniper? Yeah, exactly right. They've always fascinated people, haven't they snipers? The military forces themselves treats snipers very harshly when they get their hands on them. I mean, many examples in the Second World War of all sides, in fact, not just the more brutal regimes just dispatching snipers out of hand. It's sort of, there's a kind of sense that it's an ungentlemanly form of warfare, but I can't imagine why Patrick and I'm gentlemanly form of warfare to me is sending missiles into blocks of civilians, not shooting other combatants on the field of battle. And snipers, you know, have to put themselves at risk and they also have to endure extraordinary privation in the course of their business. This is not a, you know, I'm not a flag waiver for snipers per se, but they do seem to me just to be another part of, you know, the military framework. Yeah, they are a breed of part, I think, snipers. They've been a few of my time. And they do have something rather kind of, how should we say, we're like a sinister about them. I think it takes a certain mindset. And you're absolutely right. It's a very dangerous business because you have to put yourself essentially in a kind of high isolated place, which means that if things go wrong, you can very quickly be captured. And as you say, rough justice, we meet it out. I remember in my Lebanon reporting days in Beirut, snipers often featured there. And if they've got a whole of a sniper, you almost always operating out of a high-rise building, they would simply toss him off that high-rise building. So not a nice way to go. But in Bach Mutt, you know, they have actually played a very significant role as far as I can tell. Again, you know, firing down from a lot of high-rise buildings in Bach Mutt. And last month there was a report of an attempted infiltration by Wagner's Special Forces across the river, which was spotted and basically driven back with very heavy casualties just simply by a couple of snipers. So they can be very, very effective. Yeah, exactly right. Okay, let's move on to the last couple of questions. We've got one here from Matisse Bahian in Netherlands. And this actually was a question that's been asked by someone else. So, you know, we're doubling up these questions and this particular one. And he says that in episode 38, you were discussing the fact that authoritarian regimes are willing to accept appalling losses of human life and material. Matisse's question is, could it be possible that modern population demographics are no longer able to support these kinds of losses? And he gives the example of Russia already seeing manpower shortages on the front line and in the domestic industrial base. And more than that, a point made by another question. It's seeing a dropping population, basically. This is a crisis. Both Ukraine and Russia, like most developed countries, have an aging population. And this would be exacerbated by hundreds of thousands of casualties of young men, although of course, in the Russian case, there were an awful lot of criminals that no doubt they were quite glad to see the back up. But his broader point is in the coming decades, this could cause the economy to collapse. The Russian fertility rate he ends is 1.5 and that of Ukraine is 1.22. But yes, the broader point here, Matisse is absolutely right. People are beginning to discuss what is going to happen in the future for both Russia and Ukraine with the loss of so many key young men. Just a few statistics. So, yeah, the Russian fertility rate, 1.5 is pretty much the same as just slightly below the UK fertility rate, which is 1.5, 6 Germany's roughly the same, France is a bit higher, 1.83. But how that compares with, say, just before the First World War, and it's a very significant difference. So, back then, about 1910, the UK was 3.13, so pretty much double what it is now. Germany was 4.29, so considerably higher. So yeah, I mean, losses are much, much harder to replace now than they were then. And the general overall trend, as you say, is very, very steep decline over the last 120 years, odd. So yeah, you've got a significant effect on the sustainability of the sort of war that has been fought in Ukraine. Okay, last question. This is from Dave and the new forest. And his question relates to Putin's continuing threat of nuclear weapon deployment. And this is happening, interesting enough, as we've already reported, it's happening in neighbouring Belarus. And also, going back to the question of the pre-sported with NATO countries, because of Finland's accession to NATO, what seems likely to be happening up there is they are going to start installing nuclear weapons tactical nuclear weapons to threaten Finland and hope that in some ways this is going to make up for the lack of troops up there. But Dave's broader point is, given he's been making waves, that's Putin for some time about this, that's nuclear saber rattling. Do you suspect a new Star Wars program may have been restarted? And that's obviously in the United States, or even completed? Patrick, what do you think about this? Have we had any hints of this? Well, I don't know, but I would be very surprised if they weren't looking at this, just to recap on what that, it was Star Wars, was the strategic defence initiative that was the nickname given to the SDI, which was a proposed missile defence system, which was meant to basically put a shield up around the United States to prevent it being attacked by intercontinental ballistic missiles, nuclear missiles, of course. And it was a Ronnie Reagan was behind it, he announced it way back in 1983, it was incredibly expensive, but it was making considerable progress. And because the Russians had to come up with their own version of it, this was a huge contributive factor in the collapse of the Soviet Union, they simply didn't have the resources or the money to keep the program going. So yeah, I mean, it was much derided at the time, but I think as time passed, certainly in these current circumstances, it's looking like maybe something that should have been continued, probably exactly when it was discontinued. And something tells me that Donald Trump did actually look into reviving the program, but like I say, I'd be very surprised if the Pentagon hadn't dusted off those files and was looking at it pretty close to you. OK, that's all we have time for this episode, but please join us next Wednesday for another big interview. And of course, following on from that next Friday, when we'll be recapping the latest news and answering listeners' questions. Goodbye.