Analysts predict Russian escalation in Ukraine in coming weeks ahead of major military holiday

By most Western accounts and analysis, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has faltered and not gone exactly according to plan, which ironically has led some to believe that Ukraine’s seemingly successful defense thus far has placed that nation in greater danger.

A former defense intelligence official has suggested that Russia could soon greatly escalate its aggression against Ukraine over the next few weeks, Fox News reported.

That official, former Defense Intelligence Agency officer Rebekah Koffler, pointed to the fast-approaching Russian national holiday of May 9, which marks the end of World War II, as well as recent remarks from top Russian officials as evidence of a likely impending escalation of the conflict.

Military holiday sets the stage for claimed victory

“It’s the 77th anniversary of what the Russians call the Great Patriotic War, which is what the West calls World War II,” Koffler told Fox of the May 9 holiday. “It’s a massive holiday, and they typically have got a huge military parade where they display all their latest weapons technology.”

“I just anticipate that [Russian President Vladimir Putin] is going to do everything possible to claim a victory, whether he in fact can achieve that or not. There’s a tremendous pressure to continue this tradition,” she continued.

Koffler went on to suggest that the “massive” and “catastrophic” escalation she foresees could involve an all-out assault on the major Ukrainian city of Odesa, which is historically significant to the former Russian empire and strategically located on the Black Sea which, if seized by Russia, would effectively cut Ukraine off from that important body of water.

“This timeline to them is significant,” she predicted. “We are about to experience an escalation, a last-ditch push.”

Russia is “desperate” to obtain some sort of victory

Koffler is not alone in making this prediction, as she is joined by Professor Michael Clarke, a security and defense analyst, who said in a recent interview that “All intelligence indicates that Putin is desperate to get something out of this war in time for the 9th of May which is the Victory Parade.”

“If that’s true, it sounds crazy, but if it’s true then it means the Russians have got to come up with something in the next three weeks that looks like some sort of victory,” he added. “And that’s where we might be for the coming month.”

Fox News noted that Koffler also pointed to recent remarks from two top Russian government officials — Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov along with former President Dmitry Medvedev, who now is deputy chair of Russia’s Security Council — as supportive of her prediction of a major escalation over the next several weeks.

Ominous words from high-ranking Russian officials

Russian news agency TASS reported Friday that Peskov told reporters that “the operation will reach its goals or end in talks between Russian and Ukrainian delegation in the next few days, in the foreseeable future.”

Similarly, Russian media outlet Pravda reported that Medvedev suggested Friday that Western sanctions “may be considered an act of aggression against the Russian Federation” and referenced his prior remarks in which he had laid out four specific hypothetical cases in which Russia would feel justified in using nuclear weapons as a defensive measure.

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