Zelensky’s survival key to Ukraine’s future
Russia’s war on Ukraine’s mental health
How NATO is avoiding World War III
Sleep, exercise, nutrition and family are key to Ukraine’s survival, a private security analyst says, as he reveals the disturbing tactics Russian forces are deploying to undermine their Ukrainian targets.
Russia’s efforts to try and impact the strength of the nation will involve both physical and psychological operations, according to US-based security firm Global Guardian.
The company’s CEO Dale Buckner notes that “without question” Russia will be researching individual Ukrainian soldiers to try and break their will.
“If you're a Ukrainian soldier, and the Russians have your cell phone, and if they have your email, and they have any other information, whether it's your home address, your sister, your brother, your parents... in the age we live in, they're going to start profiling them and messaging them,” he said.
“They're going to drive those themes and messages with the intent that they want to weaken that soldier’s resolve."
Those messages could include phrases like:
“You're going to die, there's no future”
“We’re going to drop a nuclear weapon on you”
“We know where your family lives, here’s their address.”
“Here’s a picture your mother, we’re going to kill her, we have assassins there at the address”.
Even if Russia’s threats are entirely false, soldiers under psychic duress are more likely to be impacted by their messaging.
Sleep deprivation having 'zombie effect' on Ukrainians
Global Guardian has evacuated more than 5,000 people from Ukraine and is regularly analysing risk associated with the Kremlin’s invasion.
Speaking with Yahoo News Australia on Thursday, Mr Buckner said 27 more missions have been received in just six hours.
As the war has continued, many people trapped inside the country have become affected by fatigue.
Human beings generally can withstand five to seven days of severely interrupted sleep, but beyond this they generally become “ragged” and “fragile”.
“Just burning that adrenaline for so long, at a certain point, you kind of start to get that zombie effect almost,” he said.
“We’re picking up people now that start to look like that a little bit. It's scary. It's not good.”
Zelensky has 'weight of the country' on him
While the invading forces have safe havens in Russia and Belarus, local Ukrainian forces defending their cities have little respite from attack.
Having served in both Afghanistan and Iraq, Mr Buckner has watched officers become weakened as nine month tours are extended to 18 or 20 months.
Those who found an hour a week to reflect and spend time with their kids and spouse over the internet also often preserved their mental health.
Predicting the Ukraine conflict could last years, he believes President Volodymyr Zelensky will remain a powerful “symbol for nationalism” and his survival is key to the future of the country.
"The very survival of new Ukraine is tied to him," Mr Buckner said.
"Clearly the country is completely behind him, they see him as a symbol, and they need a symbol with the fight they're in."
Despite the pressure of leading a country at war, to stay healthy President Zelensky will need to find time to normalise his day through exercise, eating well and connecting with his family.
"I think those are the tendencies he's going to have to build, even though he's got the weight of the country on him," Mr Buckner said.
“If he can build those habits, he'll be able to endure the the length of this."
Keeping Zelensky safe from Russian assassins
Current analysis suggests Russia could annex Donbass in the east, Crimea in the south, as well as parts of the north, with President Vladimir Putin likely wanting to take Kyiv and install a puppet government.
As the country rebuilds, many of those who survive the war will likely be affected by PTSD for the rest of their lives.
“Some people can compartmentalise this stuff, and others can’t,” Mr Buckner said.
“I saw that in the military, where you'd have this really in shape smart guy who looks the part, sounds the part, he was great in peacetime for training, but the minute you put him in combat, he melted.”
With President Zelensky’s leadership key to Ukraine’s post-war transition, Mr Buckner said there is no doubt there are a number of key measures being used to ensure his survival, which include:
Keeping his location a secret, particularly when he sleeps.
Moving him every 24 - 72 hours.
Minimisation of forecasting when and where he will speak.
Protection from a small well-trained executive security force.
A military detail completing advances prior to arrival in a new location
Phones, computers and other digital devices protected by a cyber bubble
Medical treatment, probably from a private doctor.
How NATO is avoiding World War III
As the conflict continues NATO is trying to “find a balance” between maximising military support for Ukraine without “crossing that line, and then hitting a tripwire, and starting World War III”.
That’s the “simple calculus” that’s driving all decisions made by global leaders, Mr Buckner concludes.
He believes there will be a massive surge in supply of food, intelligence, weapons, medical supplies and fuel, sent across multiple borders, but balance is required.
“If you grey that line, where you put the Russians and (President) Putin in a position where they feel like, I'm already at war with NATO… and Russian feel Russia feels cornered, that's the risk of starting World War III,” he said.
“I think NATO, and the US very specifically, are all in. They're going to do everything they can.
“They're going to surge and I think that has started materially, and it's going to continue.”
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