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HomeLatest NewsCrossroads May 9: towards total war in Ukraine?

Crossroads May 9: towards total war in Ukraine?

This Monday, May 9, could be a turning point in the course of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. that day, Russia celebrates Victory Day over Nazi Germany in World War II, an event that since 1945 has acquired the category of a myth in the minds of the Russian people, one of the most affected by that war. Parades and military parades throughout the country The President of Russia, Vladimir Putinmay add this Monday a shocking announcement that will attempt to reverse the Kremlin’s strategy for invading Ukraine, a war Russia has not just won and risks dragging on for months or even years.

Foreign leaders weren’t invited to celebrate Russia’s holy day, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov pointed out, but that doesn’t stop the world’s eyes from being fixed on the date.

These days, the Western Foreign Ministries and intelligence agencies are speculating about Putin’s true intentions for May 9 and putting forward a thousand and one guesses about what the head of the Russian state allegedly intends to present to his fellow citizens. From a formal declaration of war on Ukraine, with the aim of mobilizing the entire military potential of Russia against its southern neighbor, to the expansion of the theater of operations, including the declaration of victory in the conflict based on the undoubted military achievements of Russia in the Ukrainian east.

But still Kremlin he appears to be looking the other way as that date approaches and downplaying the West’s fears. “Our army is not going to artificially adjust its actions to any date, even to Victory Day,” the Russian Foreign Minister said a few days ago. Sergei Lavrovfor which the course of hostilities in Ukraine “depends, first of all, on the need to minimize any risk for the civilian population and military personnel of Russia.”

It is not known how many Russian soldiers have already died during the invasion. According to the Ukrainian authorities, there will be more than 23 thousand of them, that is, almost two out of every ten military personnel who participated in the campaign. According to the British intelligence services, the dead Russians would have been at least 15,000 people. Government of the President of Ukraine, Vladimir Zelensky, does not mention their losses, of course, nor those of their Western allies, but they should not be much lower than those calculated for the Russians. There is no truth in either, and only when the conflict ends, perhaps military losses in this war can be counted, as well as civilians, of which the UN considers dead at least 3238 people, according to data presented last Wednesday and, certainly very far from the real numbers.

In any case, it seems clear that the initial goals set by the Kremlin in its “special operation” in Ukraine are far from what has been achieved so far. Its forces have settled in the east and south of the country, in the Donbass and in that crescent of territory that reaches the Crimean peninsula, annexed by Russia in February 2014. They also put unbearable pressure on Kharkovthe country’s second largest city in the northeast, and seems to have won the battle for the port city Mariupolwhere Ukrainian soldiers still resist in inhuman conditions in the underground of the Azovstal plant, surrounded by Russians.

But the Ukrainian army is far from defeated. The flow of weapons and ammunition from the United States and many European countries does not stop. The involvement on the ground of US, Canadian, British and other NATO advisers in support of Ukraine seems more and more evident every day. Provision of strategic intelligence by Washington and Brussels Kyiv, with information from US and Atlantic Alliance satellites, is vital in identifying vulnerable targets for invading forces. Under these conditions, the war could last a long time.

A time that the Russian Army does not have, with problems with supplies, replenishment of troops, lack of ammunition and with the irresistible deterioration of Moscow’s image in the world. If the war in the Ukrainian countryside and cities could be swayed to the side of Russia for some time, then the media battle was won by Ukraine long ago. The propaganda and disinformation deployed by Kyiv has surpassed the propaganda and disinformation from Moscow, which can be seen every day in most Western media. The Kremlin’s information manipulation, for its part, only seems to be successful within the Russian Federation itself, where many continue to think its soldiers are helping to denazify Ukraine and liberate the brotherly Ukrainian people.

Thus, the image is set for May 9 and a party in honor of the Victory Day. A formal declaration of war on Ukraine would entail full Russian mobilization, martial law, large-scale conscription, war economy, full provision of all national logistics and seizure of private means of production, increase in stockpiles, stockpiles and conventional weapons (and unconventional, i.e. nuclear ), intended for the battlefield, and the training of the civilian population itself in the service of the military forces. However, few people doubt that this whole set of measures will mean a catastrophe in the medium term for the already impoverished Russian economy.

Putin knows, however, that such a shift cannot be countered by the West and its military aid to Ukraine, unless its intervention in the conflict also turns the tide, with the ensuing risk of massive fire and consequences that are unpredictable but very serious. , in Europe. A successful Ukrainian counterattack in the Donbass or the Crimean peninsula, backed up by the heavy weapons promised by the US, Germany and other NATO countries, could push Putin to order the use of tactical nuclear weapons, which would change not only the course of the war, but also the history of Europe and the world.

On the other hand, rumors about Putin’s illness support the opinion of those who think that on May 9 the Russian president could temporarily hand over the reins of government to his confidant, also a former spy. Nikolai Patrushev, acting secretary of the Russian Security Council and one of the Kremlin’s hawks. Those who know Patrushev do not breathe a sigh of relief over a possible change of leadership in the country. Rather the complete opposite.

It is possible that the announcement, if it comes, will amount to an announcement with great fanfare about the takeover of the Azovstal steel plant and the destruction of the last Ukrainian resistance in Mariupol. There could also be an announcement of victory in the war and the annexation of Donbass to Russia. Another possibility would be to expand the theater of operations to the southwest, towards the city of Odessa, the main Ukrainian city on the Black Sea. Kharkiv is also under Russian gunshots, as is neighboring Izyum, and hostilities on Ukraine’s now calm border with Belarus should not be ruled out, although the country’s president, Alexander Lukashenko, has recently repeatedly stated the need to end the war. By the way, even Lukashenka, a big ally of Moscow in this crisis, was not invited to the parade and military parade, which are supposed to take place on Red Square in Moscow on May 9th.

Putin wants his country to close ranks around the war on that day, which he is not sure yet, given the scale of protests in Russia itself that have opposed the conflict since it began on February 24. Since then, tens of thousands of people have been arrested, and no one doubts that if such a “total war” is declared on Ukraine, tens of thousands more will be arrested.

This is why the Russian leader urgently needs a more attractive flag, positive news, a visible solution that will not only bring the desired twist to the current situation of uncertainty around the Ukrainian campaign, especially for his inner circle of power, but also gather the greatest possible popular support in case the war drags on. longer than expected. Support that will also be needed for a possible peace that will cause great collateral damage to their own country as well.


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