What is Russia's Victory Day and could it affect the war in Ukraine?

Since Russia invaded Ukraine, there has been speculation that Vladimir Putin is looking to proclaim some sort of 'victory' in time for 9 May.

But why, and what significance, does the date have in the Russian calendar?

Well, in Russia, 9 May is known as 'Victory Day' – a celebration of Russian victory over Nazi Germany in the Second World War.

Every year, Russia celebrates the day with a military parade, with Russian leaders traditionally watching the event from the tomb of Vladimir Lenin in Red Square, Moscow.

Iulia-Sabina Joja, director of the Frontier Europe Initiative, told Forces News Vladimir Putin will "declare victory in Ukraine".

"To us, it seems odd because we see them performing quite pathetically… in Ukraine, but that's not what the Russian public sees," she said.

"They see the opposite and because they are the main target, the main audience for Victory Day on May 9th, this is going to work in terms of declaring victory."

Ms Joja added that, in the last few years, Russia has shown military capabilities in the last few years that are supposed to project fear towards the West.

Despite Russia's depletion of military capabilities in Ukraine, she said "you don't see that in a military parade" and Russia is going to try "really hard" to display "more weapons, more power, more high-tech" in this year's Victory Day parade.

Watch: Putin's long-term end game is not so clear.

As well as the military parade, a number of current and former Soviet cities, known as 'Hero Cities', are recognised for their role in defeating the Nazis.

Included in the list of cities are Ukraine's capital city, Kyiv, as well as Odessa – with both Sevastopol and Kerch, located in Crimea, also on the list.

Retired Colonel David E Johnson, Principal Researcher at RAND Corporation, told Forces News last month: "Putin will make whatever's going on in Ukraine into a victory.

"It doesn't matter what is happening there, it would be portrayed as a triumph of Russian arms and the liberation of the oppressed Russians in the Ukrainian Donbas.

"I'm sure they've already got the message written," he added.

It isn't just Col Johnson who believes Russia is looking to deliver a 'victory' on 9 May.

Last month, Retired Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, former commander of US Armed Forces in Europe, told Forces News Russia had changed its focus to the Donbas region.

"They're anxious to deliver some sort of victory, I think, before 9 May, after all their failures over the last six-plus weeks," he said.

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