May 9th is Victory Day in Russia, the national holiday that commemorates the Soviet victory over the Nazis.
It is an important date on the calendar, because Russia lost more of its people to the Nazis than any other nation. An estimated 27 million Soviets died, most of them Russian.
More than 1.1 million Russians died in the Battle of Stalingrad alone.
By contrast, America lost fewer than 420,000 in the entire war.
Nazism has a visceral, profound, and ugly meaning to most Russians, which is why President Vladimir Putin lies about Ukraine being run by Nazis — to inflame Russian public opinion and gather support for his unprovoked aggression.
What he is doing is exactly what Adolf Hitler did to start World War II. The parallels are inescapable, but that is lost on Russians, most of whom do not have access to objective reporting. They don’t understand that in this context, they are the hated Nazis.
Because of the emotional impact of May 9, military analysts are saying that Putin wants a big victory to announce on that day. That’s why he has ratcheted up attacks on Mariupol, which is ready to fall any minute.
By the same token, a Ukrainian victory on that date would be a gut punch to Russians, such as an attack on July 4th would be to Americans.
So far, the war has been fought entirely on Ukrainian soil. Ukraine is fighting a defensive war, but one must ask how long will it be before it brings the fight to Russia, with offensive attacks.
A few days ago,“mysterious” explosions in Russia, not far from the Ukrainian border, were reported.
An ammo depot was hit, an oil depot was hit earlier, each reported by the Russians, but without explanation. That’s why it is a “mystery”?
Like the “mysterious” acts of sabotage to Russian equipment and arms passing through Belarus on the way to the front in Ukraine? That has been verified.
So now let’s think about the possible results of the brave Ukrainians bringing the war to Russia, perhaps with deniability, as has seemed to have already happened with “mysterious” explosions.
Can Ukraine blow up stuff in Russia and get away with pretending it didn’t do it?
Yes, if Putin wants to retain the air of Russian invincibility. He would lose major face if the motherland were attacked on his watch.
Or, conversely, no — if Putin wanted an excuse to escalate the war to tactical nukes or chemical or biological weapons, an attack would provoke it.
This is Ukraine’s dilemma: Making Russians suffer as are Ukrainians might provoke Russia to greatly escalate.
But that might bring consequences to Russia.
As long as Russia sticks to conventional weapons, it won’t draw in the West.
But if Putin uses a tactical nuke, or chemical or biological weapons, NATO could not ignore it.
But first, it must tell Putin that.
So far, NATO has drawn no red lines, other than on itself — such as declining to send troops or to declare a no-fly zone.
Now, it must tell Putin if he resorts to weapons of mass destruction the West will respond with an overwhelming and unified force.
Putin keeps saber-rattling the West with his weapons, but does he actually believe he can fight and beat 30 NATO nations?
He is evil, but not crazy, and he can’t believe that. He has been running a bluff, and it’s time to call it.
Ukraine should be free to attack military targets in Russia. Not civilian targets because Ukraine would lose the moral high ground, although losing the moral high ground didn’t bother the Allies in WWII who bombed the crap out of German citizens after the Nazis bombed London. (Not to overlook the Nazi’s prior history of bombing civilians.)
It’s time to bring the war to Russia.
A May 9th attack will give Putin a black eye, and send a message to Russia that it has picked the wrong opponents.