Russia carried out this Saturday the last rehearsals before the traditional military parade on May 9 in Moscowwhich recalls the victory over Nazi Germany in 1945 and which will be permeated this year by the offensive in Ukraine.
In recent years, the president, Vladimir Putin used the parade to show off the might of his army and unveil new weapons. And this occasion will not be an exception. There is speculation that he will officially declare war on Ukraine.
The test saw the RS-24 Yars thermonuclear ballistic missile parade – which, according to experts, can carry up to 10 warheads– Mounted on a 16-wheeler, he passed between rows of armed guards.
The intercontinental weapon, which weighs 49.6 tons, can travel up to 24,500 km per hour and is capable of hitting targets 12,000 km away, meaning it could reach London or New York in a matter of minutes.
The weapon of mass destruction was closely followed byr several Iskander-M missile launchers during a rehearsal for the annual eventwhich takes place on Monday and could see British fighters paraded as prisoners of war.
But although Russian tanks and soldiers parade in the emblematic Red Square like every May 9, everyone’s mind will be on Ukraine, where Moscow is carrying out an offensive that has called into question the image of its army. The military intervention, which many experts expected to be dazzling, has entered its third month and is marked by setbacks, especially logistical ones.
After having to retreat to the gates of kyiv in the face of Ukrainian forces, more virulent than expected and supplied by Western countries, Russian military officials revised their objectives downwards and concentrated the offensive in the east and south of the country.
There is no doubt that Putin, who will deliver a long-awaited speech, will also want to forget the loss of the “Moskva”, his flagship in the Black Sea, which sank last month. Moscow claims that she was shipwrecked due to an accidental fire, but kyiv stresses that it was due to an attack by its troops.
Putin’s speech will also be the occasion to address Western leaders and issue new warningsafter Russian leaders have mentioned the nuclear threat on several occasions in recent weeks.
According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, the “plane of the Apocalypse”, the Il-80, specially designed to allow the Russian president to continue to lead the country from the air in the event of a nuclear war, will fly over the sky of Moscow.
They will also be present in this parade systems capable of firing nuclear missilessuch as the intercontinental ballistic system Iars RS-24 and the Iskander, with a shorter range.
According to the ministry, eight Mig-29s will draw the letter Z in the sky over Red Square, a symbol of Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine.
May 9 is also commemorated in other Russian cities besides Moscow, with minor parades.
According to the Kremlin, no foreign leader will be present at the celebrations.
The UK warned that Putin could officially declare war at the May 9 military parade
The UK has warned that Vladimir Putin could use Russia’s Victory Day parade on May 9 to announce the massive mobilization of its reserves for a last offensive in the Ukraine.
The British Defense Secretary, ben wallacesaid last Friday that the Russian president could declare a new war “against the Nazis” in the long-awaited event in which Moscow commemorates the end of Russia’s participation in World War II.
“I wouldn’t be surprised, and I don’t have any information on that, that he will probably declare on this day in May that ‘we are now at war with the Nazis of the world and we have to massively mobilize the Russian people’. Putin, having failed in almost every objective, may seek to consolidate what he has.”
On Wednesday, the Russian air force conducted a rehearsal of its annual flyby of the victory daywith a squad on Moscow’s Red Square performing a “Z” formation.
The symbol “Z” is associated with what Russia calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine and has become a symbol of Putin’s ongoing illegal invasion.
(With information from AFP)
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