Coming Soon: Little Green Men by Tim Ripley

Tim Ripley - Little Green Men SNIP
Tim Ripley - Little Green Men

In February and March 2014,  Russian troops – with their rank badge and unit insignia removed – began to seize control of Crimea, blockading Ukrainian personnel in the peninsula inside their bases. At first, the Kremlin denied its military was involved. When journalists phoned up government spokesmen in Moscow or the Black Sea Fleet headquarters in Sevastopol to ask if the troops were Russian, they were met with point blank denials.

“They are more likely to be little green men from outer space than Russian soldiers” was one of more flippant the responses. Few people believed the Kremlin spin but the ironic reference to “little green men” entered media folklore and took on a life of its own.

The phrase “Little Green Men” became forever linked to the idea that Russia waged a sneaky, devious and underhand campaign to capture Crimea. Subsequently, whenever Russian troops were involved in foreign military operations they were referred to by the world’s media as “Little Green Men”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin eventually owned up to the fact that his troops had carried out the operation, not local self-defence volunteers, as his government had initially claimed. In Russia, the troops and their commanders became heroes for pulling off a daring and successful operation by outwitting their opponents to win a great victory, without firing a shot. They were soon dubbed “the polite men” by the Russian media.

Slavic Brotherhood

Russia’s operation to seize the Crimea in 2014 caught the world by surprise. Since then, Russian troops have fought wars in the Eastern Ukraine and Syria – and a new Russia operation is now underway in Libya.

In Little Green Men – Putin’s Wars Since 2014: The Inside Story of Russia’s New Military Power, due for release in
November 2020, Tim Ripley looks at how these Russian military operations unfolded, and examines their implications.

Drawing on a wide array of sources – including hundreds of satellite images of Russian bases in Russia, Syria, Ukraine and Libya – Little Green Men gives an unprecedented insight into the most important Russian military campaigns since the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

Tim Ripley has reported on the Russian interventions in Crimea, Eastern Ukraine and Syria for The Sunday Times, The Scotsman, Jane’s Defence Weekly and Jane’s Intelligence Review since 2014, and has reported extensively on the Russian military for more than 25 years. His book, Operation Aleppo: Russia’s War in Syria, was published in 2018.

• Little Green Men – Putin’s Wars Since 2014: The Inside Story of Russia’s New Military Power will be published in November 2020. You can check out all Tim Ripley’s books here on AmazonUK and here on

Table of Contents


Sources and Methods – Hiding in Plain Sight

1 – Operation Crimea Spring

Perevalne Military Base - 2014

2 – Putin and His Generals

3 – Hybrid Warfare: Dial Moscow for Subversion

4 – The Russian Army Rolls

5 – Frozen War – Battle of Debaltsevo

6 – War Against Ukraine Assessed

7 – The Syria Express

8 Air War Russian Style

9 Finding a Winning Strategy?

10 – Mediterranean Squadron

11 – A2AD and Douma Crisis

12 – America’s Great Escape

13 – Battle of Idlib: Drone Wars with Turkey

14 – Russia in Libya

15 – Russia’s War in Syria Assessed

16 – Understanding Putin’s Military

17 – Russia’s Warriors

18 – Russia’s Land Power

HMS Dragon with aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov

19 – Russia’s Surface Fleet

20 – Submarines of the Northern Fleet

21 – Russia’s Air Power

22 – Russia’s Defence Industrial Complex

23 – Putin’s Wonder Weapons

Conclusion – What has Putin Got for His Money?


• Little Green Men – Putin’s Wars Since 2014: The Inside Story of Russia’s New Military Power will be published in November 2020. You can check out all Tim Ripley’s books here on AmazonUK and here on

About Tim Ripley 34 Articles
Tim Ripley has been writing on defence issues since 1990, for a wide range of British and international publications. He has reported from conflict zones in the Balkans and Middle East, as well as major defence and aerospace industry exhibitions around the world. Recent assignments include the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Croatia, Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia, the Farnborough, Paris, Dubai and Singapore Airshows, NATO Headquarters in Brussels, The Hague war crimes tribunal and the Pentagon in Washington DC. His news reporting and features have appeared in the mainstream news media (The Sunday Telegraph, The Economist, The Scotsman) as well as specialist defence publications (Jane's Defence Weekly, Jane's Intelligence Review, Jane's Sentinel, Air Forces Monthly, Air International, Defence Helicopter, Unmanned Vehicles, Flight International, Flight Daily News, World Air Power Journal, International Air Power Review)


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