As the invasion of Ukraine was launched toward the end of February, the Moscow leader announced his country was engaging in a “special military operation”, geared towards “de-militarising” and “de-Nazifying” Kyiv. But experts now expect him to officially declare war on May 9.
On this day – known as “Victory Day” – the Russian people will commemorate the surrender of Nazi Germany at the end of World War Two.
As happens every other year, a military parade will be held, followed by a major address to those in attendance, and those watching at home.
Some have claimed this would act as a perfect backdrop for Putin to announce an escalation in the invasion of Ukraine.
This, they added, could then be used to justify more brutal action, and could see other countries getting involved in the conflict, amid fears of an approaching World War Three.
Describing the significance of the day, James Nixey, Director of the Russia-Eurasia Programme at Chatham House, told CNN: “May 9 is designed to show off to the home crowd, to intimidate the opposition and to please the dictator of the time.”
UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace added Russian military objectives appear so far to have “failed”, Putin could ramp up his action to move closer towards success.
He, quoted in News.au, said: “I think what he’s going to do is he’s going to move from his ‘special operation’… and he’s been 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 basically.”
The Secretary of State added he “would not be surprised” if war was officially declared on May 9.
Mr Ignatov added the declaration of war could, in fact, lower support for the operation in Russia.
He said: “If they declare full-scale mobilisation, some people wouldn’t like it.”
Though, in a continuation of what has from the beginning been a confusing war, there are also some signals the war could come to an end on “Victory Day”.
The Pope, after meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, said: “When I met Orban, he told me that the Russians have a precise plan, and that the war will end on May 9.
“I sure hope so. That would explain the speed of the military operations in the last few days.”
He added, however, he was not sure a conclusion to the invasion was this close, noting: “I have a bad feeling about it all…
“I’m very pessimistic. However, it is our duty to do all we can to stop the war.”