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Russian military using ‘Red Cross’ ambulances to hone brutal ambush techniques

3 min read

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Russian special forces are using "Red Cross" flagged ambulances to practise brutal ambush techniques.

In what is a breach of the Geneva Convention, naval commandos in Moscow were spotted using medical wagons as a ruse to kill imaginary enemy miles six miles from their border with Norway.

It has sparked fury among western military experts, with one ex-Army commander telling the Daily Mirror: "It is an horrific ruse beyond belief.

"If Russian forces are using ambulances carrying Red Cross or Red Crescent insignia it is an inhuman betrayal of the sanctity of all laws covering armed conflict."

The former British defence attache to Afghanistan, retired British Army Colonel Simon Diggins, told the Daily Mirror: “War is bloody and it is awful. One of the few shreds of humanity and decency in war is the respect held for the Red Cross and Red Crescent.

"These symbols represent a chance for all parties to treat people with humanity and to misuse these symbols is nothing short of a war-crime.

"It makes me both angry and sad beyond belief that they would do this and I believe it is a great betrayal of the Russian people too.

"I have worked with Russian soldiers in the UN, as well as Ukrainian forces who had been in the former Soviet military. They were just like us, decent people.

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"If this is happening now, I believe that to be so misled and misguided that someone would misuse a symbol of good in armed conflict is ghastly beyond belief."

Arctic special forces troops were snapped using ambulances bearing the iconic Red Cross symbol, concealing heavy weapons being carried on board.

Russian military officials confirmed the incident at Pechenga, close to Norway, justifying it by saying it was for "developing skills in making non-standard decisions in a dynamically changing environment."

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Experts reckon it could be a prelude to more dirty warfare from forces in Moscow.

Dr Saleyha Ahsan, a former British Army officer who is now a director at the charity Action on Armed Violence, said: "This way of practising war-fighting breaks all of the rules that have been so sacred to me and other armed forces personnel.

"When I was at Sandhurst training to be an officer we were given the Geneva Convention and in Bosnia we carried it everywhere.

"This is something we held very sacred, that we protected. I cannot begin to tell you how shocked I am that this is happening.

"There is a grave and terrible threat to the sanctity of healthcare work in conflict and Russian forces appear to be normalising it by training to break the rules."

  • British Army
  • Military
  • Russia

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