Russian special forces are using Red Cross flag ambulances to practice brutal ambush techniques in a blatant violation of the Geneva Convention.
Moscow’s naval commandos were spotted using medical carts as a ploy to kill imaginary enemy forces just six miles from their border with Norway.
The amazing breach, published on the Russian Defense Ministry’s website, has caused anger among Western military experts. A former British Army commander told the Daily Mirror, “It’s a terrible trick that is hard to believe.
“When Russian armed forces use ambulances with Red Cross or Red Crescent insignia, it is an inhumane betrayal of the sanctity of all laws covering armed conflict.”
Former British Defense Attache in Afghanistan, retired British Army Colonel Simon Diggins, told the Daily Mirror: “War is bloody and terrible. One of the few traces of humanity and decency in war is respect for the Red Cross and the Red Crescent.
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“These symbols provide an opportunity for all parties to treat people with humanity, and misusing these symbols is nothing less than a war crime.
“It makes me incredibly angry and sad that they would do this, and I believe it is also a great betrayal of the Russian people.
“I worked with Russian soldiers in the UN, as well as with Ukrainian armed forces who were in the former Soviet military. They were just like us, decent people.
“If this happens now, I believe it will be incredibly unbelievable to be misled and misled into such a way that someone would abuse a symbol of good in armed conflict.”
Arctic Special Forces troops were photographed with ambulances wearing the Red Cross symbol as cover and hiding heavy weapons that were carried on board.
Russian military officials have confirmed the incident in Pechenga, near Norway, which involved raids, ambushes and counter-sabotage.
It comes when thousands more Russian troops and armaments are called up to the border with eastern Ukraine for fear of a massive escalation of the fighting.
But Russian military officials have openly publicized the latest exercise, which experts warn against, which could be a prelude to dirtier war tactics by the Moscow Armed Forces.
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The Russian Defense Ministry justified the image on its website by describing the officers of the 61st Spetsnaz Marines Reconnaissance Group as: “… develop skills to make non-standard decisions in a dynamically changing environment.”
Describing the exercise, which saw troops pouring out of an ambulance to launch and attack enemy forces, the Moscow Defense Ministry added, “The commanders of the units made unexpected adjustments during tactical training.”
Former Russian soldiers have shown in the past that it was only a long time in their military careers that they became aware of the existence of the symbol of the Red Cross.
Many Russian operations in Syria, including air strikes on medical facilities, have shown persistent disregard for or concern about civilian casualties.
Dr. Saleyha Ahsan, a former British Army officer and now director of the Action On Armed Violence charity, said: “This type of warfare violates all the rules sacred to me and other members of the armed forces.
“When I was training to be an officer in Sandhurst, we got the Geneva Convention and in Bosnia we carried it everywhere.
“This is something that we held very sacred and that we protected. I can’t tell you how shocked I am that this is happening.
“There is a serious and dire threat to the sanctity of health work in conflict, and the Russian armed forces seem to be normalizing it by training to break the rules.”
Dr. Ahsan, who is doing a PhD in Warzone Health Areas at Cambridge University, added: “I am appalled and something must be done about it. This means that they practice this for future wars, as they have already done in Syria.
“Healthcare people and vehicles need to be protected, and I fear this story shows that we are now entering really dark times.”
“It is a policy for Russia to disregard the rules.”
– Analysis by Chris Hughes
Open boasting of using Red Cross ambulances to attack attacks defeats any pretext made by Russian commanders for taking care of the rules.
In conflicts around the world, the rules of engagement change depending on the threat level and situation at the time, but one constant has been around for nearly a century.
This means that medical facilities such as hospitals and ambulances, clearly marked with the red cross, are out of bounds and cannot be attacked by either side of the battle.
Over the years these rules have been frequently violated by many different armies, but the standard remains and acts as a boundary that is strictly adhered to by British and other NATO forces.
Any suspicion of the rules of conflict can lead Britain to years of research into the behavior of British forces, as seen in Northern Ireland and Iraq.
The British authorities were so keen to comply with the Geneva Convention that it unfortunately came at the cost of the careers and personal lives of many innocent British troops.
Just as they did with their apparent military novichok attack in Salisbury and countless verifiable rule violations in Syria, Russia is now showing that disobeying the rules is a policy.
So shocking is this contemptuous and machoist abandonment of the rules that yesterday a senior British military veteran I spoke to was moved to tears of frustration and anger.
And it shows that Russian special forces, not held accountable for this latest violation, are able to pursue their funds to a cause with impunity.