Ukraine War, May 11, 2023–UPDATED: Britain sends long-range missiles to Ukraine; U.S. says South Africa sends arms to Russia; Extraordinary video of Russian soldier pleading for mercy, and being escorted by drone to point of safe surrender

Developing. We are publishing this article as it is being written. Please check back for updates

To see a list of previous articles, enter “Ukraine” in the Search Box on the upper right, and you will see a list in chronological order.

To understand the broad context within which current developments in Ukraine should be considered,see

“Ukraine War, October 26, 2022: The context for analysis of current developments; The “dirty bomb” as a Russian propaganda distraction from current war crimes,” The Trenchant Observer, October 26, 2022.


1) Danielle Sheridan,Dominic Nicholls, and Genevieve Holl-Allen, Britain is first nation to send Storm Shadow long-range missiles to Ukraine; The weapons, which cost about £2.2m each, outstrip the US-supplied Hi mars and can be fired deep behind Russia enemy lines,” The Telegraph, May 11, 202 (1:21pm);

2) Ben Farmer (Cape Town) and Peta Thornycroft Johannesburg), G”fSouth Africa ‘sent weapons and ammunition to Russia’ in clandestine port transfer; American ambassador said arms had been loaded onto a Russian vessel in December, despite Pretoria claiming it wished to remain neutral,” The Telegraph, May 11, 2023 (5:03pm);

3) Gabriele Steinhyauser, “South Africa Supplied Weapons, Ammunition to Russia; Alleged supplies of potential war material to Russia put Johannesburg at risk of sanctions,” Wall Street Journal, May 11, 2023 (Updated 3:43 pm ET);

4) Joe Barnes, “Watch: Russian soldier ‘follows the drone’ as he is lured to surrender; Aerial footage shows Ukrainians’ remarkable peace offering after fighter begs for mercy from lethal device,” The Telegraph, May 10, 2023 (5:44 p.m.);

5) Sir Kim Darroch and John Ashton, “Ukraine is fast running out of time – and Putin must know it; We may be at the moment of peak Western resolve – and the clock is ticking. The West must send Zelensky the weapons he needs,” The Telegraph, May 11, 2023 (5:00 p.m.);


6) Christian Putsch Korrespondent in Kapstadt, “Südafrikas Schritt zu weit beim Flirt mit Putin,” Die Welt, den 12, Mai 2023;


British Defense Secretary Secretary underlined the fact that sending the missiles was a necessary and proportionate response to Russia’s attacks on Ukraine. The Guardian reported:

He told MP’s: “It is my judgment as Defence Secretary that this is a calibrated and proportionate response to Russia’s escalations.”

He added that “while these weapons will give Ukraine new capability, members should recognise that these systems are not even in the same league as the Russian AS-24 killjoy hypersonic missile” or “even the Kalibr cruise missile with a range of over 2,000 kilometres, roughly seven times that of a Storm Shadow missile”.

Regarding the U.S. supply of long-range weapons, Sheridan,Nicholls and Holl-Allen observed,

The US has resisted pressure from Kyiv to send the long range surface-to-surface Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), supposedly over fears they could be used to hit targets inside Russia; an act deemed too sensitive and escalatory, given the poor performance by Russia’s forces since the launch of the full-scale war in February 2022.

Long-range artillery and missiles are needed to support combined arms operations in the expected Ukrainian counteroffensive.

The Democrats and similar-minded Republicans in the Senate and/or House of Representatives should send a ream of psychologists to the White House to help President Biden overcome his fear of Putin. This will be necessary if Ukraine is to succeed in repelling Russian aggression.


UPDATED May 15, 2023

Christian Putsch, the Cape Town correspondent of Die Welt, provides an account of the deteriorating relations between South Africa the U.S. including the arms transfer to a Russian vessel on the sanctions list, detailing a number of incidents suggesting South Africa is pulling closer to Russia. The U.S.-South Africa Free Trade agreement will expire in 2025.

Now would be a good time for a Sense of the Senate resolution stating that the Senators do not intend to renew the free-trade accord given South Africa’s sanctions violations and failure to denounce the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

This is a message that should be clearly heard by other fence-sitting nations in Africa which tend to follow South Africa’s lead.


In an extraordinary video and accompanying story by Joe Barnes, a Russian soldier is shown with his hands praying for the Ukrainian drone operator not to kill him. The drone sends him a message to follow it to a point of surrender. He follows the drone and we learn from Barnes’ story that he safely surrendered.

This video has an emotional power that brings home the terrible tragedy of war in general and this war in particular.

What it comes down to in every case is one human life, here that of a Russian soldier pleading for his life and his plea being answered.

One human life, whether Ukrainian or Russian, and the redemptive power of compassion and mercy.

The video suggests one way the war could end: with the large-scale surrender of Russian soldiers who want to live, and who justifiably believe that they will be treated humanely by their Ukrainian captors.

If only a few Russia soldiers surrender, the consequences for them whhen they return to Russia may be extremely harsh. Their families may suffer even sooner.
If tens of thousands of Russian soldiers surrender, they may fare better when they eventually return home.

Ukraine should devote major resources to developing plans and mechanisms to accommodate the surrender of large numbers of Russian soldiers, and find some way to guarantee to those who do not want to return to Russia that they will not have to.

It is just possible that the power of Vladimir Putin could be broken not in Moscow but on the front in Ukraine, and not merely by the number of Russians killed but also by the number of Russians who surrender, who choose life over death in Putin’s war.

Maybe this is mere wishful thinking. But its possibilities should be fully explored.

It would be useful to be able to explain to a Russian soldier the details and guarantees of the process that awaits him if he surrenders. Guarantees of that process by other nations such as the U.S., Germany, and Poland could strengthen its credibility.

Compassion and mercy could turn out to be among the most powerful weapons in this war.

The Trenchant Observer


A selection of the best articles from The Trenchant Observer is published on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday in the Trenchant Observations newsletter on Substack.

You may subscribe here,

Be the first to comment on "Ukraine War, May 11, 2023–UPDATED: Britain sends long-range missiles to Ukraine; U.S. says South Africa sends arms to Russia; Extraordinary video of Russian soldier pleading for mercy, and being escorted by drone to point of safe surrender"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.