Russia denied claims that it will declare all-out war in Ukraine in the coming days as “nonsense,” despite the crisis going on for more than 2 months.
Moscow has so far dismissed it’s at war with Ukraine by saying that the situation with Ukraine is only a “special military operation.” However, Western officials believe that President Vladimir Putin could use the May 9 Victory Parade to announce an escalation of military action as it aims at taking over Ukraine with full force.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said there was no truth to the rumours “at all.”
UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace last week said that the Moscow parade, which commemorates the defeat of the Nazis and end of World War II – could likely be used to beef up support for a mass mobilisation of troops and renewed push into Ukraine. The ongoing fight within Ukraine has left thousands dead and millions displaced.
“I would not be surprised, and I don’t have any information about this, that he is probably going to declare on this May Day that ‘we are now at war with the world’s Nazis and we need to mass mobilise the Russian people’,” he told LBC radio.
Russian officials have so far called the situation in Ukraine “special military operation” to “demilitarise” or “de-Nazify” the country.
There have also been reports that Kremlin is planning some sort of additional parade in the city of Mariupol in southern Ukraine, most of which has been taken over by its forces. Ukrainian troops remain in one area of the city – a vast industrial steelworks called Azovstal.
Latest reports suggest that after the recent evacuation of some civilians, attacks on the steelworks resumed and contact has been lost with the last remaining soldiers inside.
Ukrainian officials say the streets of the city centre are being cleared of debris, bodies, and unexploded bombs – which have turned the urban centre into rubble.
Ukrainian politician Alyona Shkrum told the BBC she was expecting things to become more difficult alongside Russia’s victory day celebrations as it is a “symbolic day.”
“For Putin and for the empire he’s trying to build, basically this is a symbolic day, right?” she said.
“So he takes some kind of victory day and he turns it into a big fight right now against Nazis, which is obviously Russian propaganda and completely ridiculous.
“We are expecting that there will be quite tough times here in Kyiv and in Odesa and in Mariupol, and in other cities for 9 May.”
Tensions between Ukraine and Russia continue as the latter sent its troops for invasion on Feb. 24. Despite several attempts at peace talks, the situation in Ukraine remains hostile.