Russia prepares to celebrate ‘Victory Day’: What does this mean for Ukraine?

(The Hill) – Victory Day is one of the most popular and important holidays in Russia, usually celebrated with military parades, festivals and fireworks throughout the country to celebrate Russia’s victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.

Victory Day comes amid Russia’s devastating war with its neighbor Ukraine.

Some fear that Russia could take advantage of the holiday to hasten a significant victory, especially as Russian President Vladimir Putin prepares for a new offensive in eastern Ukraine.

Experts have warned that Putin could win a victory in the east ahead of the May 9 holiday to divert attention from massive losses of Russian troops and equipment in Ukraine.

What is Victory Day?

On June 22, 1941, Nazi Germany, one of the world’s largest modern military operations, invaded the Soviet Union. Adolf Hitler sent more than three million troops to the country as part of “Operation Barbarossa”.

Although Operation Barbarossa eventually failed, Nazi Germany carried out several failed attacks against the Soviet Union. The greatest casualties of the Nazi regime were in Eastern Europe, but in World War II the Soviet Union lost more than 24 million people, more than any other country in the war.

The Soviet Union and Allied forces eventually surrounded Berlin and put an end to the war.

Victory Day in Europe (VE Day) was declared on May 8, 1945, but Russia celebrates it on May 9.

The end of the “Great Patriotic War” in Russia is one of the largest celebrations of World War II in the world, filled with parades, concerts, events, fireworks, festivals and speeches.

What can happen in Ukraine?

World War II had a profound impact on Russia, sparking patriotic and anti-Nazi sentiment.

Putin capitalized on Russian patriotism and anti-Nazism when he invaded Ukraine on February 24, in defiance of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zhelensky’s Jewish tradition.

Russia is said to have retreated from the Kiev region of northern Ukraine earlier this month and returned to the east with a new offensive: the capture of the Donbass region of Ukraine’s industrial hub.

Ukrainian parliamentarian Dimitrov Kurin told The Hill that he believed Russia was trying to “destroy Ukraine” by pointing to the devastation of the port city of Mariupol and destroying cities and people on a large scale.

Kurin said Russia could take major action on Victory Day.

“They want to show something to their people,” he said.

Civil servants of the Ukrainian Armed Forces have warned on March 24 on Facebook that Russia wants to end the war by May 9.

The post read, citing Russian military sources, that “a consistent campaign is being carried out among the personnel of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, which calls for an end to the war by May 9, 2022.”

However, it does not matter to Putin whether Russia is really having a significant victory, writer and scholar Faith Hillis told The Washington Post.

“Even if Putin fails, I do not think he will fail,” Hillis told The Post. “In his mind there is no room for failure. No matter what happens, it’s going to turn into success.”

Russia said on this year’s Victory Day

As incumbent president and former KGB official, Putin usually addresses Victory Day. A large celebration and military parade usually takes place in Moscow’s Red Square.

For the 77th anniversary, Moscow is preparing 12,500 people, 190 vehicles and 76 aircraft, according to the Defense Black.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier this month that Russia would celebrate the holiday as usual.

“We celebrate it the way we always do. It’s a holy holiday in our country. It has been a holy holiday for all Russians,” Beckhov told the Security Blog on April 6.

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