Why is Putin holding a Victory Day parade on 9 May?

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·Breaking News Editor, Yahoo News UK
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MOSCOW, RUSSIA - APRIL 18: A view from a rehearsal of Victory Day military parade in Red Square marking the 77th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, at the Alabino training ground in Moscow, Russia on April 18, 2022. (Photo by Pavel Pavlov/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
A rehearsal of Victory Day military parade in Red Square on 18 April, 2022. (Getty)

Russia is preparing for its 77th Victory Day parade next month, in a ceremony Western intelligence officials have warned is a deadline for Vladimir Putin to show results for his war in Ukraine.

The Russian president ordered his soldiers to invade on 24 February, justifying his actions by claiming he wanted to "de-Nazify" and demilitarise the country.

But instead of producing an anticipated swift victory, Russia has seen its troops repelled from significant parts of the country as well as galvanising Western allies to stand united in their condemnation of the invasion and impose swingeing sanctions of Moscow.

A key date in the campaign is now approaching on 9 May, according to some analysts, with Russia's military preparing for its annual show of might that could have significant consequences on the war in Ukraine.

Watch: Russia accused of lying as Moscow launches second phase of invasion

What is the Victory Day parade?

Victory Day is a public holiday for Russians to remember those who were killed during the Second World War.

Troops parade across Moscow’s Red Square to mark the Soviet Union's role in the victory over Nazi Germany in 1945 and the Kremlin also shows off its military arsenal, including intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Last year, over 12,000 troops took part and more than 190 pieces of military hardware including over 80 military aircraft were displayed for all to see.

Putin usually oversees the pomp of the traditional march from an area packed with war veterans.

Russian President Vladimir Putin looks on as he holds a meeting of the Russia - Land of Opportunity platform supervisory board at the Catherine's Hall of the Kremlin in Moscow on April 20, 2022. (Photo by Mikhail TERESHCHENKO / Sputnik / AFP) (Photo by MIKHAIL TERESHCHENKO/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images)
Vladimit Putin is going to want results to show at the Victory Day parade on 9 May. (Getty)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - APRIL 18: A view from a rehearsal of Victory Day military parade in Red Square marking the 77th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, at the Alabino training ground in Moscow, Russia on April 18, 2022. (Photo by Pavel Pavlov/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Soldiers rehearse to march through the Red Square in Moscow. (Getty)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - APRIL 18: A view from a rehearsal of Victory Day military parade in Red Square marking the 77th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, at the Alabino training ground in Moscow, Russia on April 18, 2022. (Photo by Pavel Pavlov/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Russia will show their power and military vehicles. (Getty)

Russia claims Mariupol

Western intelligence officials have said Putin believed he could take over Ukraine in as little as a few days, but - more than two months into the conflict - a combination of poor leadership and an underestimation of Ukrainian defences have seen the Russians make little headway.

Moscow refuses to issue an official number of the number of soldiers who have been killed, but Ukraine have estimated their losses at over 21,000.

Putin's forces attempted to take over the capital of Kyiv, but despite attempting an encirclement were forced out of the north.

Russia subsequently announced it was focusing its forces on the East of the country, and last week claimed to have seized the strategically important southern city of Mariupol having reduces swathes of it to rubble with a relentless bombing campaign.

MARIUPOL, UKRAINE - 2022/03/23: A column of tanks marked with the Z symbol stretches into the distance as they proceed northwards along the Mariupol-Donetsk highway. The battle between Russian / Pro Russian forces and the defencing Ukrainian forces lead by Azov battalion continues in the port city of Mariupol. (Photo by Maximilian Clarke/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
A column of tanks marked with the Z symbol stretches into the distance as they proceed northwards along the Mariupol-Donetsk highway in March. (Getty)
Remains of destroyed Russian tanks in the Kiev region, Ukraine, on April 6, 2022 (Photo by Oleg Pereverzev/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Remains of destroyed Russian tanks in the Kyiv region, Ukraine. (Getty)

But Ukrainian officials refuse to concede defeat, and hundreds of soldiers still remain in the last line of defence - the strategically important Azovstal steel works.

On Friday, Russia announced plans to take full control of the Donbas and southern Ukraine as part of the second phase of its military operation

FILE - A local resident looks at a damaged during a heavy fighting apartment building near the Illich Iron & Steel Works Metallurgical Plant, the second largest metallurgical enterprise in Ukraine, in an area controlled by Russian-backed separatist forces in Mariupol, Ukraine, Saturday, April 16, 2022. Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his forces not to storm the last remaining Ukrainian stronghold in the besieged city of Mariupol but to block it
A local resident looks at a damaged during a heavy fighting apartment building in Mariupol. (Getty)
Ukrainian soldiers examine Russian multiple missiles abandoned by Russian troops, in the village of Berezivka, Ukraine, Thursday, April 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Ukrainian soldiers examine Russian multiple missiles abandoned by Russian troops. (Getty)

The deputy commander of Russia's central military district, Rustam Minnekayev, was also cited as saying that Russia planned to forge a land corridor between Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula which Russia annexed in 2014, and Donbas in eastern Ukraine.

Mariupol sits between areas held by Russian separatists and Crimea and its capture would allow Russia to link the two areas.

What does the parade mean for the war in Ukraine?

Western intelligence officials have suggested Putin needs to show tangible results ahead of the Victory parade.

Peter Caddick-Adams, director of the Defence and Global Security Institute think tank and a military historian said Putin needs something to prove that the war he ordered his forces into was worth it.

He told the i: "There will be huge pressure on the generals to throw everything in over the next few weeks to deliver that."

British military officials have also warned the upcoming parade could cause Russia to intensify their campaign.

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - APRIL 18: A view from a rehearsal of Victory Day military parade in Red Square marking the 77th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, at the Alabino training ground in Moscow, Russia on April 18, 2022. (Photo by Pavel Pavlov/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
British military officials have warned the upcoming parade could cause Russia to intensify their campaign to show some victory. (Getty)

A spokesperson tweeted in an update: "Russia likely desires to demonstrate significant successes ahead of their annual 9th May Victory Day celebrations.

"This could affect how quickly and forcefully they attempt to conduct operations in the run-up to this date."

Russian forces have been seen advancing from the eastern Donbas region

US intelligence has also suggested that Putin's forces have regrouped and are building logistics and command-and-control capabilities necessary for a larger offensive in eastern Ukraine.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said Russian forces have announced plans to hold a Victory Day parade in Mariupol.

They added: “Russian forces may undertake hasty and poorly-organised offensive actions to clear Azovstal before this date."

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