“Celebrations” on May 9
Ukraine awaits Russian military parade in Mariupol
In many cities, Russia wants to celebrate the victory over Nazi Germany on May 9. According to a report by the Ukrainian secret service, “celebrations” are not only planned on Russian soil. The Kremlin is also planning a military parade in the nearly destroyed metropolis of Mariupol in southern Ukraine.
According to kyiv, Russia is planning a military parade in the southern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol on the anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany on May 9. Deputy head of Moscow’s presidential administration Sergei Kiriyenko arrived in Mariupol to prepare for the celebrations, Ukrainian military intelligence said.
According to Moscow’s plans, Mariupol should become the center of the “celebrations” on May 9. The city’s central streets are currently “cleared of debris, bodies and unexploded ordnance”. The strategically important port city in southern Ukraine was largely destroyed by Russian attacks. Mariupol is largely under the control of Russian troops, only in the premises of the Azov steel plant are Ukrainian fighters still resisting, who, along with many civilians, are locked in the tunnel system of the plant .
“A large-scale propaganda campaign is underway,” Ukraine’s military intelligence service said. “Russians should be shown stories about the locals’ ‘joy’ in meeting the occupiers.”
On May 9, Russia traditionally celebrates victory over Nazi Germany with a military parade and a speech by Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin in Moscow’s Red Square. “Military parades will take place in 28 Russian cities this year,” Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said. Nearly 65,000 participants would be mobilized for this and a show of numerous weapon systems and hundreds of aircraft would be organised. He did not comment on possible celebrations in Mariupol.
Like the day before, the Ukrainian side on Wednesday reported heavy fighting around the Azov steelworks. Contact with the Ukrainian fighters entrenched there has been “lost”, port city mayor Wadym Boitschenko said on television.
Russia had recently denied a major attack on steel mills. “There is no storming,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. “The Commander-in-Chief has publicly issued the order to stop all attacks,” Peskov said, referring to an April 21 order from President Vladimir Putin. Nearly three weeks ago, Putin ordered the factory to be besieged – so tightly that “a fly can’t get out.” According to Peskov, the Russian army continues to besiege the steelworks, intervening only to prevent the Ukrainian fighters from getting into “firing positions”.
The Ukrainian military said on Tuesday that Russian forces launched a full-scale offensive with tanks on the steelworks after around 100 civilians were evacuated from the tunnels under the steelworks. The Russian Defense Ministry, meanwhile, has accused Ukrainian soldiers of using the evacuation-called ceasefire to move into new positions at the vast plant site.
According to Ukrainian sources, many civilians are still trapped in the tunnels of the factory compound. The industrial complex is the last retreat for Ukrainian soldiers in Mariupol, and more than 150 people have been rescued from the site in recent days.