Report: Putin Will 'Declare War' on Ukraine

russia president vladimir putin watches a victory day military parade on red square in 2020
Russian President Vladimir Putin (Ramil Sitdikov, Host Photo Agency via Getty Images )
















Russian President Vladimir Putin will likely use the May 9 Victory Day celebrations, which mark the surrender of Nazi Germany in 1945, to inform the Russian people that he is waging a war in Ukraine, not running a special military operation, the U.K.’s defense minister said.

As the Kremlin’s assault on Ukraine moved into its 10th week on Thursday, Putin has not yet labeled it a war, but has instead maintained that it is a “special military operation,” the goal of which is the “denazification” of the former Soviet Union country.

British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said the Russian head of state will have to tell the Russian people about the reality of the conflict if he needs more conscripts to be compelled to join the ranks under a formal declaration of hostilities.

“I actually think what he’s trying to do is lay the groundwork for an announcement on their May Day Second World War celebration to cover his failure, which, if you remember, it is a special operation how they describe it,” Wallace told BBC Radio 4’s "Today" program. “He’s going to have to admit, if he wants to mobilize more of the Russian people, that it is a war.

“Now he can’t admit that by saying, I got it wrong. He’s going to have to admit it by trying to blame everybody else, and I think that is what he is rolling the pitch for.”

In Russia, Victory Day is celebrated with a massive military parade in Moscow’s Red Square, attended by Putin and state officials.

Wallace also said that people “should not be too alarmed” by the Russian leader’s recent warnings against “outside intervention” in Ukraine and a “lightning fast” response to any nation that interferes.

The U.K. government takes Putin “incredibly seriously,” he said; however, it would not be intimidated by him.

According to Wallace, Putin has made several miscalculations, by thinking that Ukrainians would welcome his armies and that his soldiers were indestructible, and that the world would not unite against him.

When asked what direction he believes the war will take, Wallace said cruelty is the only card Putin has to play.  

Pointing to Sweden and Finland’s recent push to join NATO, the defense minister said Putin had made “strategic blunders” by invading Ukraine.

“But he’s got one calculation left, which it is why, in this country, both left and right, the SNP, the Labour party, are united with us,” Wallace said. “One of his calculations is going to be he might win through brutality.”

Putin’s “battle-winning component” could potentially be the mass murder of civilians and the destruction of Ukraine’s infrastructure, Wallace said.

“And if he is successful in that, then what does that message say to all those other nations around the world [about] how to win a battle?” he asked.

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