Putin wants Azovstal Steelworks as trophy – ground attacks intensified

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Of: Tobie Utz


Putin could announce a general mobilization on May 9, “Victory Day”. Before that, he wants to conquer the Azovstal steelworks – as a symbolic success.

+++ 12:44 p.m.: The human rights organization Memorial, founded in Russia and banned since February, wants to launch a special protest action on “Victory Day”. “As Vladimir Putin prepares for his May 9 military parade, demonstrations against the war of aggression in Ukraine are strictly prohibited in Russia. People who want to demonstrate peacefully should expect severe penalties.

Memorial therefore wants to set an example with a digital alternative demo. On redsquareprotest.org, the group invites people from Russia and around the world to a joint digital demonstration in a virtual Red Square. “Come to this Red Square!” the group announced on its website. The objective is one million digital demonstrators. Memorial, now banned by Russia’s highest court, operates as an organization to investigate Soviet crimes. It also raises awareness of the human rights situation in Russia.

Update for Friday, May 6, 8:30 a.m.: The British Ministry of Defense announced on Friday (May 6) that Russian forces were continuing their ground attack on the beleaguered Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol for the second consecutive day, despite official claims from Moscow that they only wanted to block the combine harvester.

According to the UK, Putin’s increased attacks are aimed at celebrating a symbolic victory in Ukraine ahead of the traditional May 9 victory parade. If the Azovstal factory was conquered, Russia would have completely taken the city of Mariupol on the Black Sea. However, success would have been purchased at a high price: Russia currently pays high rates for personnel, equipment and ammunition.

For Vladimir Putin, capturing the Azovstal Steel Plant ahead of the May 9 Great Victory celebrations would represent a major symbolic achievement. © AFP Photo / Telegram Report from the Ministry of Interior of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic.

+++ 4 p.m.: While the Kremlin is rumored to be planning several military parades on May 9, the war in Ukraine could also leave deadly scars in Russia. Fires in various Russian cities are being reported with increasing frequency, mainly affecting ammunition depots and military installations. Whether the fires were caused by attacks by Ukrainian armed forces, or whether it was sabotage by Ukrainian ranks or just pure coincidence, is so far completely uncertain. The BBC reports that the attacks may be linked to fears of a general mobilization by Putin on May 9. This information cannot be independently verified.

+++ 2:30 p.m.: The Ukrainian secret service currently assumes that Russia is not only planning a military parade on May 9 in Moscow. The Kyiv Independent news portal reports that a parade is also to be held in the port city of Mariupol, which has been besieged and destroyed for weeks. Russia is currently “preparing for the parade”. Mariupol’s central streets would be cleared of rubble and ammunition in the process. Also, the bodies would be removed. The information provided by the Ukrainian secret service cannot be independently verified.

Ukrainian War: May 9 in Russia – Kremlin spokesman with denials

+++ 1:30 p.m.: The Kremlin has denied that Vladimir Putin intends to officially declare war on Ukraine on May 9. “This is nonsense,” spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. This is reported by the Reuters news agency.

+++ 1 p.m.: In the context of the war in Ukraine, Russia intends to present new weapons again this year during the traditional military parade on May 9 in Red Square. “For the first time, modern Tornado-G multiple rocket launchers with a caliber of 122 millimeters and equipped with automatic control and fire control systems will roll into Red Square in the motorized column,” the minister announced on Wednesday. of Defense Sergei Shoigu, according to a press release. Interfax agency report.

May 9: CDU expert warns of ‘huge escalation’

Update for Wednesday, May 4, 9:30 a.m.: Roderich Kiesewetter, the CDU’s foreign policy expert, warned of the danger of a new mobilization of the Russian army. “It is to be feared that Vladimir Putin will announce the general mobilization on May 9,” he told the Augsburger Allgemeine. “If it came to that, it would be a huge escalation of the war,” Kiesewetter said. In this context, you must be prepared for all possible scenarios. “Before Putin can call for general mobilization on May 9, the West and Europe still have a week to send clear and strong signals,” Kiesewetter told AZ.

War in Ukraine: May 9 as a “turning point”? Ukraine probably on alert

Update for Tuesday, May 3, 10:15 a.m.: In Ukraine, there are fears that Russian attacks will intensify significantly in the coming weeks. On Tuesday, several Ukrainian media outlets picked up a report by US television channel CNN on speculation that Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin could declare a state of war in Russia and order general mobilization in just a few days. Ukraine’s military intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov also spoke about Russian preparations for an open mobilization of soldiers and reservists. There is no evidence on this. So far, Russia has only officially spoken of a “special operation” in Ukraine.

The Kremlin did not initially react to the latest rumours. In the first weeks after the attack on the neighboring country on February 24, Moscow commented on the concerns of its own population and stressed that a general mobilization was not planned. Even in the case of such an order, however, the scope would be completely unclear: Russian legislation also provides for the possibility of partial mobilization, which would then only affect individual regions of the giant country.

War in Ukraine: May 9 as a “turning point”? Klitschko warns against ‘lies’

+++ 4:45 p.m.: Wladimir Klitschko, ex-world boxing champion and brother of kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko, commented on the May 9 war forecast. In an interview with the Phoenix TV channel, he said it was extremely uncertain, as only “lies” could be expected from the Kremlin.

“There is a huge difference between being scared, which is actually a good thing, and being worried without being a coward. And I would also like to warn the western world not to be a coward, we have to stick together against this Russia aggressive and against this aggressive policy of Russia and its army, without being cowards, with a single front. And that is why I do not want to comment on what will happen on May 9. Will there be a mobilization? We can’t really trust the information coming from Russia because the lies are endless,” Klitschko said in an interview.

War in Ukraine: “Turning point” on May 9? UK Foreign Secretary speaks

Update for Monday, May 2, 2:30 p.m.: Many experts have recently commented on the possible development of the war in Ukraine. The unanimous prognosis: Russia will use May 9, the “day of victory” over Nazi Germany, not only for the pompous annual military parade, but also for a renewed mobilization of the armed forces. The British Defense Secretary has now accepted this forecast.

In an interview with LBC Radio, Ben Wallace said he expected Vladimir Putin to make a corresponding announcement in Moscow. It is likely that the Russian President will declare a world war against the “Nazis” as part of the “military operation”. Thus, Putin could possibly “consolidate” the heavy losses of the war in Ukraine, as Wallace put it. Accordingly, it is considered as an option that groups of reservists could be sent to Ukraine. Britain’s defense secretary called the Kremlin’s attempts to cover up the losses “pathetic”.

Ben Wallace
Ben Wallace, UK Defense Secretary. © Mateusz Wlodarczyk/Imago Images

May 9 as a “turning point” in the Ukrainian war – Putin will probably change Russia’s strategy

First report for Friday, April 29, 09:00: MOSCOW — May 9, a Monday, plays a crucial role in Vladimir Putin’s war plans. On this date, the Kremlin celebrates the victory over Nazi Germany in 1945, “Victory Day”. To mark this, soldiers march through Moscow and a pompous military parade takes place. That Monday, Putin would probably be happy to announce another victory: in the war in Ukraine.

As the Russian offensive in the Donbass progresses slowly, this scenario becomes increasingly unlikely. That’s why experts now assume that Putin will change his strategy. Experts from the Center for European Political Analysis think tank predict in a report that on May 9, Russia will mobilize new troops for war. “The Russian army thinks it is a mistake to limit the aims of the war. They argue that Russia is not fighting Ukraine, but NATO,” the analysis read.

“Victory Day” on May 9: Is Vladimir Putin changing his strategy in the Ukraine war?

Experts from the Royal United Services Institute argue the same. The latest study says: “May 9 has gone from a deadline for victory to the start of a huge mobilization. The slow Donbass offensive calls for greater army strength. In this context, experts speak of a “turning point” in the Ukrainian war: “May 9 could be the day when the Russian leadership will no longer speak of a ‘military special operation’, but of ‘war'”.

Michael Mazarr of the Rand Corporation think tank also shares the assessment of the mentioned experts. “It could be threatening gestures from the Russians. But that could also be true, and Putin is changing course. The risk of such a scenario cannot be ignored,” Mazarr said in a statement.

During the appointment of Alexander Dwornikov as the new supreme commander of the Russian army in the Ukrainian war, it was learned that Putin had proclaimed “Victory Day” as the target date for the invasion. This emerges, among other things, from an internal NATO briefing. He said, among other things: “The Russian military leadership is under enormous political pressure to finally achieve a military breakthrough in Ukraine, which can be presented as a victory at the May 9 parade.” (you with dpa / AFP)

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