The New York Times’ Embedded Reporter Revealed Three Inconvenient Truths About Bakhmut
First, Kiev lacks experienced forces for conducting surveillance operations and therefore outsources them to foreigners. Second, the locals are scared of those Western mercenaries. And finally, these same foreign fighters are once again illegally militarizing residential areas, with there being concern that they’re also using those aforesaid locals as human shields.
The New York Times (NYT) embedded a reporter in a surveillance team that operated on the outskirts of Artyomovsk, better known to the international community by its Ukrainian name Bakhmut. Their resultant report from its correspondent’s two days in the field was published on Thursday under the title “The Infrared Hunt for Russian Troops in the Battle for Bakhmut”, which inadvertently revealed three inconvenient truths about the way in which Kiev is waging the latest phase of the Ukrainian Conflict.
For starters, the “surveillance team” that the NYT’s journalist was embedded with actually isn’t Ukrainian at all but comprised of several Westerners who joined Kiev’s so-called “Foreign Legion”. The American, Briton, and Canadian all have former military experience, while the report is unclear whether their Australian colleague has the same. In any case, this suggests that Kiev doesn’t have experienced enough forces in its own ranks to carry out such surveillance itself, instead outsourcing it to foreigners.
The second politically inconvenient tidbit that was revealed in the piece is that the former US Marine who led this particular team explicitly warned everyone “No English” when approaching the city. The NYT added that “Many of the remaining residents of Bakhmut were already suspicious of foreigners, especially those with rifles.” This hints that the locals are either Russian-friendly and/or scared of Kiev’s foreign mercenaries, the latter of which could be due to their reported war crimes.
And third, the NYT reported that the surveillance team operated in a “blown-out apartment building”, which means that they militarized a residential area in a conflict zone. Not only that, but they didn’t clarify whether any civilians were sheltering in that particular building’s basement despite informing readers that “The remaining residents of Bakhmut live in basement shelters”. This conspicuous ambiguity suggests that the foreign mercenaries might have been operating in an inhabited building.
There are credible reasons to suspect that this might indeed be the case, especially after recalling Amnesty International’s damning report over the summer confirming that Kiev regularly militarizes residential areas in order to use civilians there as human shields for deterring Russian strikes. Considering the high likelihood that this internationally illegal tactic is presently being employed in the Battle for Bakhmut, this means that the NYT was literally party to yet another one of Kiev’s war crimes.
Taken together, there’s no doubt that the NYT’s latest report inadvertently revealed three inconvenient truths about Bakhmut. First, Kiev lacks experienced forces for conducting surveillance operations and therefore outsources them to foreigners. Second, the locals are scared of those Western mercenaries. And finally, these same foreign fighters are once again illegally militarizing residential areas, with there being concern that they’re also using those aforesaid locals as human shields.