Russian leaders are discussing the declaration of a “full-fledged war” on Ukraine on May 9, the day Russia celebrates its defeat of Nazi Germany, according to Ukraine Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.
“According to partner intelligence services, Russia has such intentions — to declare a full-fledged war on May 9. Such talk, we understand that there is a possibility. We will watch it,” Shmyhal said during a briefing Friday after he visited Warsaw.
His comments, reported through the Ukrainian Russian-language publication Focus, come after Moscow has denied reports from CNN and other western outlets that Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to announce the start of a general mobilization.
Russia has insisted its bombing attacks and strong military presence in Ukraine are a “special military operation,” not a war.
Shmyhal said that Russia officially declares war, or if it doesn’t, Ukraine “will fight until complete victory over the occupier and aggressor.”
The Russian agency RIA Novosti reports through a Telegram post that Putin will speak at a Victory Day parade in Moscow on May 9, when he will place flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. He is planning to hold a meeting on economic issues the next day, the agency said.
Earlier this week, CNN reported that Putin could officially declare war and initialize a military mobilization in Russia.
By declaring war, Putin would be allowed under Russian law to draft conscripts into the nation’s army while mobilizing reserve units to resupply the troops in Ukraine. According to Western and Ukrainian officials, at least 10,000 Russian soldiers have been killed since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February.
CNN also reported that the US has “highly credible” intelligence reports showing Russia will, “sometime in mid-May,” annex the Ukrainian breakaway territories in Luhansk and Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, quoting U.S. Ambassador to OSCE Michael Carpenter.
However, Russian Federation press secretary Dmitry Peskov has dismissed the reports that Putin will declare war on May 9 as “nonsense.”
He also blamed Ukraine for peace negotiations being at a standstill, saying its leaders “change their position every day. This does not inspire confidence that this negotiation process can somehow end successfully.”