The Kremlin may be planning to march hundreds of Ukrainian prisoners of war through Moscow as part of a WW2-style victory parade, analysts have warned.
The Centre for Defence Strategies, based in Ukraine, has warned that some 500 captured fighters could be “forced to go through Red Square”, according to a report in The Times. The captured fighters could include British fighters Aiden Aslin, 28 and Shaun Pinner, 48, who were captured while defending Mariupol from Russian invaders, the Daily Express reports. A third British soldier, Andrew Hill, is also thought to have been captured by Russian forces after appearing on Russian state TV.
Every year Moscow celebrates the victory parade by having thousands of Russian soldiers march through Red Square. The event is due to be held on May 9 – a day some believe Putin is seeing as a deadline to declare victory over Ukraine. Other analysts believe that Russian President Vladamir Putin will use the event to officially declare war on Ukraine. Up until now, Putin has referred to the war as a “special military operation”.
Last Friday, Ben Wallace, the British Defence Secretary, predicted that Putin would use the parade to declare a new war not just against Russia, but against the world’s “Nazis” to galvanise a further push against Ukraine. He told LBC Radio: “I would not be surprised… that he is probably going to declare on May Day that ‘we are now at war with the world’s Nazis and we need to mass mobilise the Russian people’. I think he will try to move on from his ‘special operation’.
“He’s been rolling the pitch, 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’.” He added: “Putin, having failed in nearly all objectives, may seek to consolidate what he’s got… and just be a sort of cancerous growth within the country. We have to help Ukrainians effectively get the limpet off the rock and keep the momentum pushing them back.”
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