Ukraine: As 'Victory Day' Approaches for Russians, All Eyes Are on Mariupol
Many are expecting a dramatic announcement from Putin, which could be a declaration of victory in Ukraine.
Victory Day is approaching in Russia.
It is observed on 9 May every year and is an occasion for the Russians to celebrate the last phase of the Second World War, when the Soviets defeated Nazi Germany.
That is why WWII in Russia is still known as the "great patriotic war".
Vladimir Putin, over the years, has made 9 May a crucial part of Russian identity.
This year, the day is especially siginficant given that Russian forces continue their assault on Ukraine.
Many are expecting a dramatic announcement from Preisdent Putin, which could either be a declaration of victory in Ukraine or a change of plans that could lead to further escalation in the war.
One of the victory announcements that is being widely anticipated is regarding Mariupol.
Observers believe that many watching the celebrations (if they happen) home on TV may really believe that the city has been “liberated” from Ukrainian “Nazis”.
Ukrainian intelligence has already claimed that Russia is making preparation to organise a part of its Victory Day parade in Mariupol.
Ukraine’s defence intelligence agency had said in a statement, "Mariupol, according to (Russia's) plans, should become the centre of 'celebrations'. For this purpose, the city is urgently cleaning the central streets from rubble, bodies of dead and unexploded Russian ammunition."
An Associated Press investigation reported earlier this week claimed that more than 600 people might have been killed when Russia targeted the Mariupol drama theatre in March.
Thousands had been using the theatre as refuge from Russian airstrikes.
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