Amid the burgeoning Russian rampage in eastern and western Ukraine, Kyiv claimed on Wednesday that Russia was considering holding a Victory Day parade in the besieged city of Mariupol. According to Mariupol Mayor Petro Andryushchenko, the occupiers will dress Ukrainian prisoners of war who are currently being held in filtration camps in armed forces uniforms to stage what he called a “prisoner parade”. Talk to Ukrainform, Andryushchenko claimed that around 2,000 men were moved from the besieged city about four weeks ago, and that Russia would use them to take part in the potential celebratory parade.
“These men – chosen from the villages of Bezymennoye and Kozatsky in the Novoazovsky – will be dressed in Ukrainian uniforms and involved in the so-called parade of prisoners in Mariupol, because our real prisoners do not have enough for the masses. He There will be such a grotesque mass of Mariupol even to create a propaganda “image”, said Andryushchenko.
The mayor of the city also informed that Russian troops in the city are already on the list for the May 9 parade to be held in the strategic port city. The Russian occupiers removed debris, corpses and unexploded ordnance from the streets. They also installed statues with red Soviet flags, the Ukrainian Armed Forces said in a Telegram post.
What is the Victory Day Parade?
On May 9, the Russian Federation commemorates the victory of the Soviet Union over Nazi Germany in World War II. The annual event is marked by elaborate military parades and public events. This year, Russia celebrates the 77th anniversary of the defeat of the Nazis in the Great Patriotic War. The mainland has already started preparations for the said parade by flying helicopter gunships and other rehearsals for the upcoming parade in Moscow’s Red Square.
Interestingly, in the wake of the ongoing Russian war, Forbes magazine reported earlier this week that the parade had been reduced by 35% from what was originally planned. The reduction is an example of Moscow’s dwindling military prospects, the report said. Russia has reduced the display of military war vehicles compared to last year. Experts have signaled that the parade will be an image of Russian shortcomings and will help Ukraine build up its sustained resistance in the ongoing war.
Russia steps up attack on Azovstal steel plant
Meanwhile, Russia has renewed its assault on the Azovstal steelworks, which is the last stronghold of the defending armed forces. Videos and images released by Ukraine’s military department showed a barrage of strikes hitting the steel plant, despite a Russian-agreed ceasefire due to begin today. Ukraine evacuated some 157 civilians from the factory on Wednesday, but at least 200 others holed up in the basement that took shelter from Russian shelling a week ago.
The Ukrainian commander of the Azov regiment, Denis Prokopenko, claimed on Wednesday that the country’s defenders were fighting “difficult and bloody battles” inside the Azovstal plant. Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko in a telegram message informed that his department had lost communications with the defenders inside the steel plant. In the latest operational briefing from the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, authorities also noted that the Russians had focused their attacks on “blocking and attempting to destroy” defense units stationed at the steel plant.