As Russia’s Victory Day for World War II looms on May 9, the nation’s army in Ukraine appears more defeated than victorious.
During the 2.5 months of the war, Moscow’s conquests have been minor. Ukrainian opposition remains resolute.
To appear victorious, President Vladimir Putin will have to proceed by declaring all-out war, instead of a “special military campaign,” against Ukraine, while saying he’ll thwart NATO’s purported efforts to destroy Russia.
Putin’s Likely Next Move
Victory Day is an annual celebration of Russia’s military might that honors the Soviet Union’s victory over its erstwhile ally, Nazi Germany.
Putin will utilize the event’s symbolism and passion for painting Ukraine and the West as Russia’s new Nazi threat.
He will likely declare a mass mobilization to permit the enlistment of hundreds of thousands of conscripts and prepare the economy for war.
Russia moves forces to Mariupol ahead of 'Victory Day' parade, officials work to rescue trapped troopshttps://t.co/tcMS2BhGVA
— Fox News (@FoxNews) May 8, 2022
In a fast-declining economy, however, such a step is unlikely to yield instant results.
Russia’s reservists are inadequately prepared and unmotivated to fight in a hostile state; rising reports of military losses in Ukraine will persuade many to forego military service.
Despite its failings, one should never discount the destructive capacity of the Russian military.
Good morning to readers!
Kyiv remains in Ukrainian hands.
As we approach Russia's 'Victory Day' on Monday, it's worth reflecting on how Putin misjudged the appeal and meaning of Russian language, identity and empire to Ukrainians…
— Tim Mak (@timkmak) May 7, 2022
Putin might use Victory Day to proclaim the formal annexation of the territory now occupied by the Russian military.
These encompass significant portions of four oblasts: Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhia, and Kherson. He may also make aspirational declarations for other empty regions.
By declaring this is Russian territory, any strike would be deemed an assault on Russian soil.
Attacks in Russia
For all of Moscow’s bluster, keeping the conquered lands will come at a tremendous cost.
The more successful Kyiv’s military assault proves to be, especially with an increased supply of heavy weapons by NATO allies, the more confident Ukraine will feel to drive all Russian forces from its territory.
Amid mounting rumors of internal divisions among military, domestic security, and more, Russia’s elite look more troubled than at any time since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Also increasing daily is the number of mysterious fires or explosions in various regions of Russia. The attacks ultimately involve important military installations, fuel depots, and ammo storage areas.
Among the most notable were an army facility and oil facilities in Bryansk. These are all responsible for the oil flow to Europe. The attacks also included a military base and ammo depot in Belgorod, just across the frontier from Ukraine.
These incidents have three likely origins.
The origins involve Ukrainian special forces acting on Russian territory, regional anti-regime activists undermining military capabilities, and sabotage operations conducted by factions attempting to overthrow the incumbent leadership.
A confluence of all three would be the most frightening indication of the Putin regime and Russian state’s weakness.