If May 9, 2022 will be for many a Monday like any other, that day Vladimir Putin, him, will play big. “For Russia, May 9 is a national holiday, an important military meeting and it is almost certain that, for President Putin, May 9 must be a day of victory” against Ukraine, explained President Emmanuel Macron on April 8, then guest of RTL. Called “Victory Day”, this date celebrates since 1945 the capitulation of Nazi Germany to the Allied troops, including the Soviet Union.
Note that if this date is not the same for us, it is because it is the second signing of the act of German capitulation made in Berlin (at the request of Stalin) on May 8 in 11:01 p.m. (European time), i.e. May 9, 1945 at 1:01 a.m. for Moscow. “And Vladimir Putin needs to announce something” that day, explains to 20 minutes General Dominique Trinquand, former head of the French military mission to the United Nations. But while all international experts agree on this fact, speculation about exactly what the Russian government is up to is diverging.
Scenario 1: The integration of Donbass into Russia
This Monday, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense considered it possible that Moscow would take advantage of the May 9 celebrations to “raise the question” of the integration into the Russian Federation of the separatist and pro-Russian “republics” of Donbass. A prognosis supported by information deemed “very credible” by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). According to her, Russia intends to organize “around mid-May” referendums to “attempt to annex” the pro-Russian separatist “republics” of Donetsk and Lugansk.
On the other hand, the rapid capture of Donbass seems ruled out, especially since the trip of the Chief of Staff of the Russian army to the north of Donbass a few days ago. “He was able to assess what the chances of having a victory in the Donbass were by May 9 and that seems quite improbable, indicates General Dominique Trinquand. The army advances with great difficulty, there are even Ukrainian counter-attacks which work well. »
Scenario 2: Total takeover of Mariupol
Failing to have time to seize Donbass by May 9, Vladimir Putin could take total control of Mariupol. In any case, this is what recent events indicate. Tuesday evening, the Azov regiment hidden in the underground of the Azovstal factory announced that the Russian army had launched an assault against this huge steelworks. “Mariupol is the most attainable right away,” concedes General Dominique Trinquand.
The capture of Mariupol is the scenario that fits with information from Ukrainian intelligence that Russia is preparing a military parade in the besieged port city for May 9. Mariupol, located in the south-east of Ukraine, “will become a center of celebrations”, “the main avenues of the city are urgently cleaned, the debris and the bodies of the dead removed, as well as the ammunition which has not exploded,” they said in a statement released on Wednesday.
Scenario 3: Vladimir Putin launches an all-out war
Since the start of his invasion of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin has never spoken of war. Only “special military operation” and denazification. But things could change. “I think Vladimir Putin will try to get out of his special operation,” said British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace. who spoke at the microphone of London radio LBC. “Vladimir Putin paved the way to be able to say, ‘Look, it’s now a war against the Nazis, I need more people. I need more Russian cannon fodder.’ The latter adds that he would not be surprised if this announcement falls on May 9th.
Scenario 4: The fighting spreads to Moldova
For the past few days, international experts have been worried about a possible expansion of fighting in Moldova, a small country south of Ukraine which does not belong to NATO or the EU. Last week, the breakaway pro-Russian region of Transnistria in Moldova was rocked by a series of explosions. Russia has stationed about 1,500 troops there. She said she was “alarmed” by these “terrorist acts” and indicated that she was monitoring the situation closely, raising fears of an overflow by May 9. If Moldovan President Maïa Sandu wanted to be reassuring by ensuring that she did not see “imminent risk”, she admitted on Wednesday that her government had planned “plans to deal with such pessimistic scenarios”.
Scenario 5: Russia is not preparing anything special
This version, it is for the moment that of the Kremlin. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu simply mentioned the organization of “military parades in 28 Russian cities”. He also said that “nearly 65,000 people, about 2,400 types of weapons and military equipment and more than 460 aircraft will be mobilized this year”.
Regarding the progress of the fighting, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov assured that the Russian military “will not artificially adjust their actions to any date, including Victory Day”. “The pace of the operation in Ukraine depends, above all, on the need to minimize possible risks for the civilian population and the Russian military,” added the Russian Foreign Minister in an interview with Italian television Medias and broadcast Sunday. And to conclude: “We will solemnly celebrate May 9, as we always do. »