belgorod bomb shelter
© @johnnyjmilsBomb-shelter in Belgorod, Russia
There's alot of vandalism in war. People just killing each other for the hell of it. No strategic purpose. Or the ethnic hate is so bad. They just want to kill. That's Belgorod.

Like any big country, Russia is full of sub cultures. The people here pride themselves on being the cleanest city in Russia. And it is. You'll never see a piece of litter. The street gardens are pruned and curated. Like the Truman Show. A film set. Even the bomb shelters are nice. And there's hundreds of them now. Civilisation fighting back against the chaos.

For most of this war. Ukraine went for military or infrastructure targets in the region. But on the 30th December, the strategy changed. They bombed the central square. Killed twenty five. There were others that made the headlines. Like the part of the building that collapsed from a Tochka-U a couple of weeks ago. But most doesn't make the news. You need more than a dozen dead to do that in war. The rest, just the maddening drip drip of slaughter. In the border region, a mother and child were killed by a drone the day I arrived.

damage missile belgorod
Damage from a 'Ukrainian' (NATO) missile attack in Belgorod, Russia

Driving around Belgorod, random pot holes from the missile strikes, smashed in shop fronts and pock marked walls. These are civilian streets. No rules based order here. Hundreds of painted white concrete shelters, so people can run into when the siren rings. And it rings alot. Half a dozen times a day. Sometimes you hear the work of air defence. Sometimes not.

Why did the policy change? What's the strategic purpose of targeting civilians? It doesn't seem to make any sense. I would ask myself the same in Donestk. No air raid sirens there. No point. The frontlines too close. You're dead before you know what happened. But why? I'm not sure even the Ukrainians know.
damage belgorod missile
© @johnnyjmils
A mash-up of misguided policy, revenge, and to hell with it, let's just kill some Russians. Ruzzians, orcs, untermenschen, call them what you want. There's a big city there. Let's just bomb that. Good chance we'll kill some Russians. Or terrorise them. Turn them against their government. Well that didn't work. Desperation? We don't know what else to do. Let's just try that. A weird mash and mangle of policies that has defined Ukraine and NATO's whole campaign. And when you start, it's hard to stop. You've already crossed that moral line. Belgorod, the new Donetsk.

Many have left the city. But most stay. It's bareable. Like 23 year old Kristina. Six months pregnant. Her apartment building has been hit twice. So she's moving to a safer neighborhood. She sighs heavily. "The stress isn't good for the baby." That's a hell of an understatement.
belgorod ukraine war
© @johnnyjmilsKristina in Belgorod
And now Russia has launched its offensive in Kharkov. And Ukraine is losing more territory. They say to stop the bombing of Belgorod. I rather suspect it has something to do with winning this damned war too. But bombing civilians of your more powerful neighbour was never sound strategy.

But then the only sound strategy in an unwinnable war is to make peace. Something the sane in NATO are slowly coming round to. Although so many have invested so much. They just won't stop until they are are forced to. What will be the next misguided, desperate mistake that will only cost more lives? And damage Ukrainian and NATO interests further?

Strikes with American weapons inside 'mainland' Russia? It will only lead to more territory lost. Those who claim to support Ukraine, like some crazed masochist are only doing more harm to themselves.