Russia may inadvertently expose the real extent of its losses in Ukraine by honouring those who fell in World War 2 next month, according to the UK.
The Ministry of Defence explained in its daily update on Thursday how Russia’s annual high-profile military parade to mark World War 2′s Victory Day on May 6 has been partially cancelled.
Reportedly, some regions bordering Ukraine, and the occupied peninsula of Crimea, had called the celebration off due to security concerns while the parade is still going to take place further inland.
But this split poses a “sensitive communications challenge for the Kremlin”, according to the UK officials.
Vladimir Putin has positioned the ongoing war in Ukraine “in the spirit of the Soviet experience in World War 2″.
The Russian president first justified the “special military operation” (otherwise known as the invasion of Ukraine) by making the baseless claim he was just trying to “de-nazify” the country.
The Soviet Union did unite with the US and Britain to fight Nazi Germany in World War 2, leading to the death of almost 20 million Soviet soldiers on the Eastern Front.
But, trying to revive the World War 2 spirit this May poses a particular risk to the Kremlin, according to the MoD.
The UK officials explained: “The message risks sitting increasingly uneasily with the many Russians who have immediate insights into the mismanaged and failing campaign in Ukraine.
“Honouring the fallen of previous generations could easily blue into exposing the scope of the recent losses, which the Kremlin attempts to cover up.”
Since last year, there have been widespread reports that Russia has tried to cover up the extent of its casualties.
Some claim the Kremlin has been placing injured troops in Belarusian hospitals to avoid further demoralising troops who are already struggling amid their string of losses on the frontline.
After all, Russia initially claimed that the war in Ukraine would last a matter of days.
More than a year later, it has faced tremendous losses and altered its goals – rather than hoping to conquer the whole country, it is now looking just to maintain the Donbas region and hold onto Crimea.
The UK also suggested in February that Putin’s invasion has led to between 175,000 and 200,000 Russian casualties in the last year, including between 40,000 and 60,000 deaths.
The MoD claimed that the casualty rate had “significantly increased” since Putin introduced partial mobilisation back in September, bringing in an extra 300,000 reservists.
The move triggered widespread protests in Russia with more than 1,000 people detained, with many others trying to flee the country.