The Russian military will not "artificially accelerate" the end of the war against Ukraine in time for May 9, Russia's Second World War Victory Day, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said in an interview on Italian television.
Lavrov said this was not because of Russia’s military failures and huge losses of men and materiel, as regularly reported by Ukraine’s General Staff, but to "minimize the risks to the Russian military and (Ukrainian) civilians."
He claimed that the Kremlin does not demand that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky surrender, but "they do want him to order an end to hostilities."
"Our military will not artificially adjust their actions to a certain date, including Victory Day,” Lavrov said. “The pace of the operation in Ukraine depends primarily on the need to minimize the risks to the civilian population and the Russian military."
He also added that Moscow will "solemnly" celebrate May 9. Previously, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, announced that no foreign leaders would attend Putin's parade.
Earlier, UK intelligence said that Russia was eager to achieve some serious successes in the war against Ukraine by May 9. British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace suggested that Putin may announce a mass mobilization in Russia to "fight world’s Nazis" and for "a final push in Ukraine."