Putins propaganda Corpses cleared from Ukraine streets for Russias Victory Day

Putin’s ‘Doomsday’ plane is seen flying during Victory Day parade

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Kyiv on Wednesday, May 4, accused the Kremlin of planning to hold a military parade in the besieged city of Mariupol on Monday to celebrate the anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two.

Ukraine’s military intelligence said in a statement an official from Vladimir Putin’s presidential administration had arrived in the strategic southern port city to oversee plans for the Victory Day parade.

The statement read: “Mariupol will become a centre of ‘celebration’.

“The central streets of the city are urgently being cleaned of debris, bodies and unexploded ordnance.

“A large-scale propaganda campaign is underway. Russians will be shown stories about the ‘joy’ of locals from meeting the occupiers.”

The West has for weeks said they believe Putin could leverage the symbolic significance of the Russians’ defeat of the Nazis in 1945 to make a significant move on the date.

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US and Western officials think Moscow could move to formally declaring war on Kyiv, rather than calling it only a “special military operation”.

Under Russian law, this would allow for the full mobilisation of the Kremlin’s reserve troops as it attempts to conquer eastern and southern Ukraine, as well as give Putin the green light to draft conscripts, which officials say his military desperately needs amid a growing shortage of manpower.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told LBC Radio last week: “I think he will try to move from his ‘special operation’.

“He’s been rolling the pitch, laying the ground for being able to say ‘look, this is now a war against Nazis, and what I need is more people. I need more Russian cannon fodder’.”

But according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, reports that Moscow could officially declare war against Ukraine and start a national mobilization on May 9 are “nonsense”.

He told reporters on Wednesday: “There is no chance of that.”

An estimated 27 million Soviet citizens were killed in the 1941-45 war that left the world power devastated and almost every one of its families mourning.

Victory Day is one of Russia’s most important national events.

In previous May 9 speeches, Putin has tried to needle the West and showcase the strength of Moscow’s post-Soviet armed forces.

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Mariupol steelworks commander Serhiy Volynskyy's desperate pleas

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, launched on February 24, has killed thousands of civilians and servicemen and displaced millions of people.

Mariupol, which has been under constant bombardment since the start of the full-scale war, is among the most battered cities in Ukraine.

On Tuesday, May 3, after at least 20 failed attempts to evacuate civilians from the city’s Azovstal steelworks, some 156 people managed to leave Mariupol and reach the relative safety of Zaporizhzhia, 140 miles (230km) away.

But on Wednesday, contact was lost with Ukrainian troops staging a last stand inside the industrial site, which was the country’s last stronghold after Moscow focused a large part of its efforts there following failure to encircle Kyiv.

City mayor Vadym Boichenko told Ukrainian television “we have no way of knowing what’s going on, whether they are safe or not”.

Mr Boichenko added: “Today there are heavy battles on the territory of our fortress, on the territory of Azovstal.

“Our brave guys are defending this fortress, but it is very difficult, because heavy artillery and tanks are firing all over the fortress; aviation is working, ships have approached and are also firing on the fortress.”

He said more than 30 children are still trapped and awaiting evacuation at the plant.

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