Vladimir Putin Has Run Out of Options To Win Ukraine War—Analyst

Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Tauride Palace, on April 27, 2022 in St. Petersburg, Russia. There is speculation he will use the May 9 Victory Day celebrations to step up his invasion in Ukraine.

Anticipation is building over whether that Vladimir Putin might use World War II victory celebrations on May 9 to put his country on a broader war footing, but one analyst has suggested that the Russian leader has run out of options to win in Ukraine.

The annual Victory Day celebrations in Moscow on Monday, to mark the end of what Russians call the Great Patriotic War, will see a lavish event in Red Square in which military hardware and troops will parade past Putin.

Two and a half months after invading Ukraine, what Russia says is a “special military operation” has gone badly and is beset by losses of troops, matériel and morale.

Still, there is speculation over whether Putin might use May 9 to bolster his campaign, either by declaring victory or announcing greater participation among the Russian population.

But Anton Barbashin, a Russia analyst who is the editorial director of the online journal “Riddle Russia,” said that the war has gone “too far” and that “there are no longer good options” for Putin or the Kremlin.

He said that state propaganda may have convinced the Russian population that their forces were fighting a proxy war with NATO in Ukraine, but questioned whether Putin could declare victory on May 9 by saying that he had “liberated” the eastern Donbas region.

“Can he then pull out 90% of forces involved back to Russia and call it a day?” Barbashin wrote in a Twitter thread.

“Putin can declare a victory only to announce that now Russia will need to defend that victory—and seek yet new ways to get people excited about going to fight in Ukraine,” he added.

A report in April by the London think tank, the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) said that May 9 might be used as a “fulcrum to mobilize a much larger force.”

“It appears increasingly likely that rather than use it to announce victory, the Russian government will instead use 9 May as the day on which the ‘special military operation’ is officially framed as a ‘war,'” RUSI said.

On Wednesday, Belarus began large-scale military drills which some say point to Putin soon officially stepping up the scope of his invasion of Ukraine. However, there is no clarity as to whether May 9 will be when he might do so.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday that the Kremlin is not looking to end the conflict by Victory Day. Rob Lee, from the U.S.-based Foreign Policy Research Institute, tweeted that people are “a little too fixated on May 9 as an end date for this war.”

In any case, a number of Russians who left the country at the start of the war, will use May 9 to gauge whether it was OK to return, The Moscow Times reported.

Barbashin said that as it stands, the Russian president has no easy off ramp from the war he started and that the conflict was “a universe away” from Syria, where Russia’s military has helped Putin ally, Bashar al-Assad.

“Putin under no circumstance can declare any type of victory over the West,” Barbashin wrote, referring to dwindling military resources, Ukrainian attacks on Russian infrastructure and the clamor among some of Putin’s circle, such as former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, for all of Ukraine to be seized.

“Putin got himself in a situation when he no longer has a plug. He can’t just say ‘we’re done’ and actually be done with it.”



  1. I agree that May 9 is given too much importance. Now! It WOULD have been an important date, had the war gone better for mafia land and its cockroach army. But, IMHO, seeing the deplorable situation for the cockroaches, they will downplay this date because they have nothing to show for it.
    What will Putler do when defeat is knocking on the door? That’s the big question now, not IF they will be defeated. Isn’t that great?

    • That would provide some very good fireworks. Both on site and in the Kremlin.

    • Blowing up that bridge would be a bigger victory than the sinking of the Moskva.

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