Russia commemorates May 9 as the anniversary of the end of World War II and the date appears to have been set by Vladimir Putin to declare the end of the invasion of Ukraine, an expert told the Mirror
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Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s next move could see him turn his attention back to eastern Ukraine to consolidate enough land to declare a victory by May 9, an expert told the Mirror.
Andrew Wilson, professor of Ukrainian studies at University College London, said this means Putin could use any means necessary to disguise next month’s invasion as a victory.
It is unlikely that Putin will have made any progress in pushing his troops further west by May 9 – especially after withdrawing his military from Kyiv and Chernobyl.
Prof Wilson speculated what a ‘victory’ for Putin would look like, telling the Mirror: ‘He may have a bit more territory in Donbass, Mariupol may have fallen by then, but only because it was destroyed and not as an asset . “
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He adds that Russia could retain control of enough territory north of Crimea to build a land bridge to the Donbass “republics”.
Prof Wilson added: “Ukraine would be cut off from the Sea of Azov and lose many of its Black Sea ports.
“This could be disguised as a win. Russia would have consolidated more territory than it did in 2014, but it’s clearly not what Putin wanted when he started the war.”
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Yesterday, Putin’s flagship, the missile cruiser Moskva, sank after suffering severe damage that Ukraine claimed was the result of two missile attacks.
Conflicting reports claimed two Neptune missiles sank the ship with hundreds on board, while others said the ship had a fire on board. Hours later, Moscow said the ship sank while being towed back into port.
In retaliation for the loss of a key piece of military infrastructure, Russian forces hit Kyiv with an airstrike and promised more missile attacks last night.
This week, Putin said his country’s military operation in Ukraine will continue until its goals are met.
Putin said the “special military operation” in Ukraine was necessary because the US was using Ukraine to threaten Russia — including through the NATO military alliance — and that Moscow needed to protect Ukraine’s Russian-speaking population from persecution.
The president claims he had no doubts that Russia would achieve all of its goals in Ukraine – a conflict he described as both inevitable and essential to Russia’s long-term defense.
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The warmongering president’s comments come as Prof Wilson said Putin looks to May 9 – the day of Russia’s victory – to then declare the new “victory”.
May 9th is the day Russia commemorates as the end of World War II – which the Kremlin calls the Great Patriotic War.
Prof Wilson said: “Usually in Moscow there is a huge parade, it’s a big prestigious day, so he wants to announce the victory by May 9th.
“Putin’s propaganda machine will present any territory Russia has as a ‘victory.’
“They are very good at defending urban areas.”
Putin has withdrawn his military – suffering heavy casualties and plummeting morale – from key regions of Kyiv and Chernobyl, and international authorities have warned his next move could be a serious offensive in the east.
Prof. Wilson has speculated on three ways Putin might try to achieve his “victory”.
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He believes Putin will turn his full attention to eastern Ukraine and direct his troops to encircle Ukrainian forces by shelling more open areas such as cities.
The third speculation is that Putin will try to increase his manpower, but Prof believes that doesn’t seem very likely.
He added: “Putin has lost a lot of men and their morale is low and there was a chance he would keep contract troops in the field even though their contracts are expiring. It appears they rely largely on domestic drafting.
“But that’s a big question, how many additional troops can they field? Not many. For a huge country like Russia, their army looks disappointing.”
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Unless Russia can turn the tide of the unjust war in its favor, there is a real fear that Putin will resort to the large-scale use of chemical weapons.
Prof Wilson said: “Maybe not with chemicals, but maybe with the city’s tactics like they did against Aleppo.
“Bombing cities from outside, destroying them from afar with artillery and rockets. Then to continue the brutal terrorization of civilians and populations that we have already seen.
“Conventional forces have not given Russia the victory they hoped for and there are fears that they will use chemical weapons because they cannot win by other means.”
It comes as Britain is “urgently working” to verify reports that Russian forces may have launched a chemical weapons attack in Ukraine, the British Foreign Secretary said.
Liz Truss was one of the first senior Western politicians to speak this week as Britain warned that “all options are on the table” if the use of chemical weapons is introduced.
The following are unconfirmed reports from the besieged port city of Mariupol, whose mayor said more than 10,000 civilians had died in weeks of fighting.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/vladimir-putins-next-move-revealed-26695613 Vladimir Putin's next move revealed as Russian President plans May 9 Victory Day - World News