Putin could formally declare war on Ukraine on May 9 – Report

Russian President Vladimir Putin might publicly declare war on Ukraine as early as May 9, allowing Russia to fully deploy.

On May 9, Putin would use the symbolic meaning and propaganda value of “Victory Day” to proclaim either a military victory in Ukraine or a dramatic escalation of hostilities — or both, US officials said.

The report says western officials fear Putin would use the day to diverge from a “special military operation” with the central goal of “denazification,” as the Russian government has referred to its campaign in Ukraine, in order to legally declare war on Ukraine.

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A formal declaration of war on May 9 might boost Russian civilians’ support for the invasion. It would also allow Putin to deploy reserve forces and recruit conscripts, which officials say Russia sorely needs as its manpower declines due to the conflict.

Western and Ukrainian officials estimate that at least 10,000 Russian soldiers have been killed in the conflict since Russia invaded a little over two months ago.

British Defense Secretary Ben said Putin “is probably going to proclaim on this May Day that ‘we are now at war with the world’s Nazis and we need to mass mobilize the Russian people.”

Other options for May 9 include annexing the separatist territories of Luhansk and Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, making a big drive towards Odesa in the south, or declaring complete control over Mariupol in the south.

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The US has highly credible” intelligence reports that Russia will attempt to annex Luhansk and Donetsk “sometime in mid-May,” according to US Ambassador to the OSCE Michael Carpenter on Monday, May 2.

There are also indications that Russia intends to declare and annex a “people’s republic” in the southern city of Kherson.

Ned Price, a spokesperson for the US State Department, said there is “strong reason to assume that the Russians would do all they could to utilize” May 9 for propaganda objectives.

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“We’ve seen the Russians really double down their propaganda efforts, probably, almost certainly, as a means to distract from their tactical and strategic failures on the battlefield in Ukraine,” Price said during a State Department briefing.

“It would be a great irony if Moscow used ‘Victory Day’ to declare war, which would allow them to surge conscripts in a way they can’t do now, in a way that would be tantamount to revealing to the world that their war effort is failing, that they are floundering,” Price added.

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