Russian forces will organize a military parade in Mariupol on May 9, the anniversary of the Nazi surrender to Soviet troops in World War II.
This measure was already expected by Western and Ukrainian leaders and was confirmed this Wednesday (20) by the deputy mayor appointed by the Russians, Viktoria Kalachova. “It will happen, without a doubt, the population of Mariupol expects this event,” she said, according to the Tass news agency.
Strategic city for Moscow’s plans in Ukraine, Mariupol is already effectively under the invaders’ control, and the last focus of military resistance is limited to the Azovstal steelworks, despite repeated ultimatums for Ukrainian fighters to surrender.
The conquest of the city is crucial to Russia’s goal of establishing a land connection between the annexed Crimea and the rebel territories in Donbass.
Furthermore, this would be the first major military victory for the Vladimir Putin regime in Ukraine since the beginning of the war, although the municipality was razed to the ground during nearly two months of siege.
Mariupol also has a symbolic character as it is the birthplace of the Azov Battalion, a far-right paramilitary militia incorporated into the Ukrainian Army and accused of neo-Nazism by Russia.