Vladimir Putin will officially declare his invasion of Ukraine a war next week, according to a former British Army commander.
When troops first moved into Ukraine in February the Russian President declared it a “special military operation”.
General Sir Richard Barrons, an ex-Commander of Joint Forces Command, now reckons that Putin will use next Monday’s (May 9) annual Victory Day parade in Moscow to shift the narrative.
The Victory Day celebrations in the Red Square mark the Soviets’ World War Two triumph over the Nazis.
This year, given that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine appears to be becoming a drawn-out and attractional conflict, Sir Richard believes Putin will rebrand it a “war” to allow him to make greater use of young conscripts, reports the Daily Mirror.
He said: “That provides a different legal basis in Russia for hanging onto the current cycle of conscripts and deploying other reserves and taking other measures.
“Essentially, it’s bracing Russia for what will become a long, drawn-out war in Ukraine, which will become more about annexation than anything else.”
Sir Richard also predicted a stalemate in the Donbas as Ukrainian and Russian forces do battle.
For the latest breaking news and stories from across the globe from the Daily Star, sign up for our newsletter by clicking here.
“The most likely outcome is it grinds down into a stalemate and that may cause Russia to stop or if it’s still got plenty of resources I think it will then turn its attention to taking more territory in the south,” he told the BBC.
“There is a very stiff fight and it’s inconclusive. The Russians have made some progress but the Ukrainian military have counter-attacked and taken back territory in other places.
“This is really now a race between the Russian ability to be able to concentrate force in ways in which they have just not managed so far.
“And on the other hand the Ukrainian military’s ability to get these heavy weapons, particularly the artillery from the US and Germany, in order to break up these attacks and deal with the Russian artillery.
“It’s very hard to call how that is going to turn out.”
The deputy head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, Ihor Zhovka, insisted Ukraine would “definitely win the Battle of the Donbas”.