Putin could formally declare war on Ukraine on May 9

3 May, 03:20 PM
Mural in Serbian Belgrade (Photo:REUTERS/Marko Djurica)

Mural in Serbian Belgrade (Photo:REUTERS/Marko Djurica)

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin could move to formally declare war on Ukraine as soon as May 9, U.S. cable news channel CNN reported on May 3, with reference to U.S. and Western officials.

The move would open the Kremlin’s way to announcing a full mobilization and escalating the war in Ukraine, officials said.

May 9, known as Russia's "Victory Day," commemorates the Russians' defeat of the Nazis in 1945.

Western officials have long believed that Putin would leverage the symbolic significance and propaganda value of that day to announce either a military achievement in Ukraine, a major escalation of hostilities – or both.

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Officials have begun to home in on one scenario – with Putin formally declaring war on Ukraine on May 9.

UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace previously suggested that Putin could declare war on May Day.

"I think he will try to move from his 'special operation,'" Wallace told LBC Radio last week.

"He's been rolling the pitch, laying the ground for being able to say 'look, this is now a war against Nazis, and what I need is more people. I need more Russian cannon fodder.'"

Other options for May 9 include annexing the breakaway territories of Luhansk and Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, making a major push for Odesa in the south, or declaring full control over the southern port city of Mariupol.

It is also reported that the Russian invaders may launch massive attacks on Luhansk Oblast on May 9.

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