Putin’s plans for Ukraine on Victory Day – The most likely scenarios

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Today Victory Day In Russia, May 9, marking the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, is usually marked by an imposing military parade on Moscow’s Red Square, overseen by high-ranking Kremlin officials. Today, however, is different – he will probably judge what is to come in Ukraine.

According to NBC, Western officials have expressed concern that the president Vladimir Putin will use Victory Day as an opportunity to formally declare war on Ukraine, which was invaded by Russia in February.

Experts say that after more than two months of fighting in which the Russian invasion Putin seems to have “climbed”, he has limited options, ranging from full military mobilization to the “declaration of victory” in Donbas.

Among these options:

Declaration of war

Putin’s representative Dmitry Peshkov last week he denied that a declaration of war was imminent, insisting that the invasion remained a “special military operation” as the Russians insist on calling it.

However, the declaration of war is a tempting possibility for Moscow, as it would allow Putin to call in additional reservists and order the mass mobilization of conscripts, possibly prolonging the conflict for months – if not years.

Philip Wasielewski, an analyst at the Washington-based Institute for Foreign Policy Research, commented that classifying Ukraine as a war zone would turn the conflict into a “Existential for its status”.

While it would allow Moscow to relieve troops fighting in eastern Ukraine and replenish supply lines, the dangers of a full-blown war on Putin are likely to extend far beyond the battlefield.

“A full mobilization is extremely ‘costly’ politically, and it actually puts Putin ‘in a zone’ where there are risks to the stability of his regime,” said Nataliya Bugayova, a Russian researcher at the Institute for War Studies. based in Washington.

“Just because the Russians can support the war more and more in words does not mean they want to fight and die for it.”

Despite the political pitfalls, Putin must also take into account the wishes of his high-ranking military officials, some of whom are said to have been disappointed by turning the alleged “lightning advance” on Kyiv into a fierce Black Sea-focused conflict.

“Victory in eastern Ukraine”

For weeks, rumors have been circulating that Putin could use the day as an opportunity to declare “victory in eastern Ukraine.”

If Russian troops finally manage to bend the Ukrainian resistance in Mariupol, it could try to build a substantially land bridge between the mainland and the Crimean peninsula (which Russia annexed in 2014) in triumph – albeit less than what he initially hoped for.

“He tried to occupy Ukraine, topple the government and to occupy the country. On the contrary, it had huge losses, loss of equipment, degradation of the army, international pressure and sanctions“, he said. “It simply came to our notice then. “So he’s trying to give it some sort of ‘shine’ and say, ‘You know, this (special operation’) is justified and it works,” said Kurt Volker, a former ambassador to NATO and a fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis.

However, Ukraine is unlikely to accept any peace deal that allows Russia to retain the territories it has occupied.

Partial mobilization

Putin has the option of calling in more troops to help operations in Donbas, focusing on more experienced personnel who have already served in recent conflicts or come from areas bordering Ukraine.

This would probably be more pleasing to both the Kremlin and Russian public opinion. Moscow would also gain some time to make up for its losses on the battlefield.

Volker said Putin may have learned from his mistake by retreating from Kyiv, where the Russian army missed an opportunity to reorganize before launching its offensive.
Donbass.

Ideological re-framing of the conflict

Senior Russian officials have justified the invasion as a way of “de-Naziizing” Ukraine in an attempt to give the conflict a “patina” from the so-called “Patriotic” World War II. Reinforced by friendly media outlets, this Kremlin rhetoric is being accepted by Russian public opinion.

Oleksa Drachewych, a Russian media expert and assistant professor of history at Western University in Canada, said she had seen increased Russian reports of “NATO support” for the so-called “Nazis of Ukraine” ahead of May 9.

“They are also trying to develop a claim at home that Russia is an anti-western bastion “And they are using it to rally people around the war in Ukraine.”

Bugayova said Putin could use the day as an opportunity to broaden the ideological goals of Russia’s involvement in Ukraine in an effort to boost support for the conflict – and for itself.

“He will have to explain to the Russians why they have to go to war and die in a war that Russia is supposed to be winning. “This requires something better than de-Naziization rhetoric.” “So he can try to rephrase the narrative that ‘the West is against us.’

Even if today passes without the Russian president announcing anything dramatic, the conflict in Ukraine looks set to continue, with NATO stepping up Ukraine’s defense against an attack that will surely determine Putin’s time in power.

“He can just parade and make a speech, but there is a great risk of declaring war,” Wasielewski said.

“If he does, he has really crossed the Rubicon. It’s a sign that he’s been thinking about this for months, if not years, and it’s a struggle for victory or death “.

Source: skai.gr

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