By Nauman Sadiq
Depicting a doomsday scenario in order to malign Russia’s calculated offensive in Ukraine to minimize collateral damage, mainstream reporting focused today on the fire that broke out  at Zaporizhzhia plant, one of Europe’s largest nuclear power plants situated 550 km southeast of Kyiv. The fire has since been extinguished after the plant was captured by Russian troops and no radiation leakage has been detected.
The black-op of setting a building in the sprawling nuclear complex alight and then posting doctored video clips of Russian tanks shelling straight at the nuclear plant on social media, promptly verified as “authentic” by corporate media, was clearly the dirty work of covert saboteurs who’ve been advising and assisting Ukraine’s inept security forces and also taking active part in combat operations in some of the most hard fought battles against Russia’s security forces north of Kyiv and at Kharkiv and Donbas. After capturing Kherson yesterday, Russian forces even apprehended several “suspicious and armed” foreign nationals who are currently being interrogated by Russia’s military intelligence GRU.
Volodymyr Zelensky reassured his compatriots  yesterday: “Ukraine is already welcoming foreign volunteers who are coming to our country. First ones from 16,000. They are coming to defend freedom, defend life. For us, for everyone. And it will be a success, I’m sure.” But unsurprisingly, he did not describe who those thousands of “daredevil volunteers” willing to sacrifice lives and limbs in a foreign war were.
Since the harrowing Nisour Square massacre in Baghdad in 2007, the Blackwater private military contractor, renamed as Academi in 2011 and becoming a subsidiary of Constellis Group following a merger with Triple Canopy in 2014, has built quite a business empire for itself. In 2013, Academi subsidiary International Development Solutions received an approximately $92 million contract for State Department security guards.
After selling Blackwater to a group of investors in 2010, Erik Prince, a former US Navy Seals officer and the swashbuckling founder of Blackwater, has founded another security company Frontier Services Group, registered at Hong Kong Stock Exchange, that advises and provides aviation and logistical solutions to Chinese oligarchs for the security of their lucrative business projects in Africa.
Further, besides advising and assisting the UAE’s petro-monarchy in strengthening the police state, Erik Prince also reportedly provided  weapons and modified aircraft to eastern Libya’s warlord and former CIA asset Khalifa Haftar, backed by Egypt and UAE, in his thwarted military campaign against the Tripoli government lasting from April 2019 to June 2020.
Using the good offices of his sister Betsy Devos, who worked as Trump’s secretary of education, Erik Prince even made an offer to Trump for outsourcing of the Afghanistan war to private military contractors advising and assisting Afghan security forces following the withdrawal of US troops. But Trump reached a peace agreement with the Taliban and then lost the re-election bid before he could consider the bizarre proposal.
Although the Pentagon’s military contractors have known to be training and advising several brigades of neo-Nazis backed by Ukraine’s security forces in the Donbas region since 2014, Erik Prince along with his associates from several other private security firms providing military contractors to the US Department of Defense personally visited Kyiv early last month following the Russian troop build-up and met with security officials of the Zelensky regime, according to informed sources.
Before embarking on the clandestine Kyiv visit, Erik Prince consulted with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Director National Intelligence Avril Haines, with whom his relationship goes a long way back to early nineties after she purchased a bar in Fell’s Point, Baltimore, which had been seized in a drug raid. She turned the location into an exotic bookstore and café, offering “erotica readings,” among other licentious pastimes.
In his meetings with the high-ups in the US national security agencies, Erik Prince reportedly obtained a “gentleman’s promise,” though without any documentary assurances due to secretive nature of the Faustian pact, that he and his associates would not be held legally liable for the dirty work they do in the Ukraine proxy war.
The black-ops of NATO’s mercenaries in Ukraine were being directed from Ukraine’s Security Service (SSU) headquarter and the main center for information and psychological operations in Kyiv. No wonder Russia formally issued an ultimatum on Tuesday, March 1, that it would target the hub of covert warfare.
In fact, private military contractors in close co-ordination and consultation with covert operators from CIA and Western intelligence agencies are not only training Ukraine’s conscript forces in the use of caches of Stingers and Javelins provided by Germany and rest of European nations as a military assistance to Ukraine but are also directing the whole defense strategy of Ukraine by taking active part in combat operations in some of the most hard fought battles against Russia’s security forces north of Kyiv and at Kharkiv and Donbas.
Despite public display of uncharacteristic valor by sporting military fatigues and flaunting images and video clips of soldiers proudly standing beside caches of MANPADS and Javelins on social media, Ukraine’s conscript army was so frightened following Russia’s military intervention that it wanted to surrender territory and opted instead for mounting guerrilla warfare by adopting hit-and-run tactics from the safety of border regions of Poland and Romania.
But NATO’s covert operators embedded with Ukraine’s security forces reassured them that the war wasn’t over and implored them to give their Western mentors a face-saving by mounting at least a semblance of resistance against the fierce onslaught by Russia’s professional security forces.
Although NATO powers did provide Stingers to their jihadist proxies that helped turning the tide in the Soviet-Afghan war in the eighties, since then, despite providing anti-tank munitions and rest of weapons to militant groups during the proxy wars in Libya and Syria, Western powers have consistently avoided providing MANPADS to proxy forces, because such deadly anti-aircraft munitions could become a long-term threat not only to military aircraft but also to civilian airlines.
In the sheer desperation to inflict maximum material damage to Russia’s security forces, however, NATO appears to have breached its own long-standing convention of curbing the proliferation of anti-aircraft munitions. Following Russia’s intervention in Ukraine, Germany alone has proudly bragged  of dispatching caches of 500 US-made surface-to-air Stinger missiles and 2,700 Soviet-era, shoulder-fired Strela missiles to Ukraine’s conscript military.
Who would be responsible for the myopic and vindictive policy of providing anti-aircraft munitions to Ukraine’s irregular militias once Kyiv falls and those MANPADS are found in black markets posing grave risk to civilian airlines across the globe?
Russia’s reluctant and delayed military intervention in Ukraine is fundamentally a war of power projection, a shot across the bow to perfidious former allies, the East European states, who’ve been joining the EU and NATO in droves since the break-up of Soviet Union in 1991, that the collective security of Eurasian nations is a shared responsibility, and NATO’s eastward expansion along Russia’s western flank not only imperils the security of resurgent Russia but also compromises the balance of power in the multipolar world.
It’s worth recalling that before the Biden-Putin summit at Geneva last June, Russia had a similar troop build-up along Ukraine’s borders. Extending the hand of friendship, Russia significantly drawdown its forces along the western border before the summit last year. Instead of returning the favor, however, the conceited leader of supposedly world’s sole surviving super power turned down the hand of friendship and even snubbed Putin.
Despite losing the empire in the nineties, as far as military power is concerned, Russia with its enormous arsenal of conventional as well as nuclear weapons still more or less equals the military power of the United States, as is obvious from the unfolding Ukraine war where all the NATO could do is watch it from distance, and not even attempting to enforce a no-fly zone lest the conflict spirals into a mutually destructive nuclear war.
But it’s the much more subtle and insidious tactic of economic warfare for which Russia has no antidote, as the global neocolonial order is being led by the United States and its Western European clients since the signing of the Bretton Woods Accord in 1945 following the Second World War. Because any state, particularly those pursuing socialist policies, that dares to challenge the Western monopoly over global trade and economic policies is internationally isolated and its national economy goes bankrupt over a period of time.
Despite having immense firepower at its disposal that could readily turn the tide in conflicts as protracted as Syria’s proxy war, the Russian advance in Ukraine has been slower than expected according to most estimates because Russia is only targeting military infrastructure and doing all it can to minimize collateral damage, particularly needless civilian losses in the former Soviet republic whose majority population is sympathetic to Russia.
Rather than mitigating suffering of Ukraine’s disenfranchised masses held hostage by the Zelensky regime, the self-styled champions of human rights are doing all they can to lure Russia into their “bear trap project,” a term borrowed from the Soviet-Afghan War of the eighties when Western regimes used Pakistan’s security forces and generous funding from the oil-rich Gulf States for providing guerrilla warfare training and lethal weaponry to Afghan jihadists to “bleed the security forces” of former Soviet Union in the protracted war.
Of the $10 billion humanitarian and military assistance for Ukraine announced by the Biden administration, the top brass of the Pentagon is reportedly making preparations for allocating significant portion of the funds for providing military training and arms to almost a million refugees who have fled Ukraine following the war.
The Machiavellian plan of NATO’s military strategists is to establish refugee settlements with the “humanitarian assistance” in the border regions of Ukraine’s neighboring countries Poland, Romania and Bulgaria, and then provide guerrilla warfare training and lethal arms to all able-bodied men of military age in order to “bleed Russia’s security forces” in the protracted irregular warfare.
 Russian forces seize huge Ukrainian nuclear plant, fire extinguished:
 16,000 volunteers coming to Ukraine, Zelensky:
 Erik Prince provided weapons and aircraft to eastern Libya’s warlord Khalifa Haftar:
 Germany to ship anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine:
Nauman Sadiq is an Islamabad-based geopolitical analyst .