Russo-Ukrainian War 4/15/22

Victory Day in the Red Square, 2005. T-80s like the ones pictured above have been surgically eliminated by Ukrainian forces, despite their slat armor (colloquially referred to as ‘cope cages’)

Pressure within the Russian government may force Putin to declare victory in Ukraine on May 9th, coinciding with Russia’s ‘Victory Day,’ celebrating the surrender of the Wehrmacht.

Despite the encroaching deadline, Russia continues to face significant setbacks in Ukraine, particularly in the Black Sea and in the South, near Kherson. After being thoroughly repulsed from Northern Ukraine, Russia has failed to realize any meaningful objectives with which it could safely declare victory. With the sheer amount of casualties and destroyed materiel it is suffering, Russia’s military defeat so far will be a hard pill to swallow for Putin’s nationalist supporters.

Given the deteriorating situation in the Donbas, many in Ukraine and abroad believe Russia intends to escalate on top of the new wave of troops it is sending into the region. Despite this, Ukraine’s partners have shown even greater willingness to supply Ukraine, with further heavy weaponry being on the table as presented by multiple nations.

With the loss of the Moskva flagship, public opinion in Russia has been of shock and horror, with many calling for a formal declaration of war. If Russia is unable to make significant gains by May, such a declaration could come on Victory Day. Additionally, the risk for escalation with the deployment of WMDs, whether biological, chemical, or nuclear, could be seen on Victory Day.

Ultimately, May 9th will be a significant day regardless of what occurs. Putin will be forced to address the nation and give his supporters any respite from the ceaseless war of attrition in the Donbas, whether through unimaginable escalation or a hollow ‘victory.’

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