The Russians are feeling “self-imposed pressure” to achieve some sort of victory by May 9, according to two European officials. May 9 is the day Russia celebrates Victory Day over Germany in World War 2.
Traditionally Russia marks the holiday with a military victory parade through Red Square and a speech from President Vladimir Putin. With one month to go until the holiday, the officials say Russia is regrouping and shifting its forces to southeastern Ukraine — a far more limited goal than seizing large swaths of the country — with the aim of achieving some sort of regional victory.
“Consolidating and trying to at least have something to talk about is clearly in their interest,” one official said.
The official noted that the time pressure could lead Russian forces to make mistakes, compounded by the logistical issues and the morale problems they already face.
The second European official said that a political timeline for the war could lead to a “military disaster as a consequence.”
But it could also lead Russian forces to commit more atrocities, said the first official.
“The stench of these war crimes is going to hang over these Russian armed forces for many years,” the official said.