Russia has stumbled again. Russia’s second-stage invasion of southern Ukraine has failed to become the largest tank war since World War II. Like the occupation of Kiev, the Russian military is showing inefficiency on the battlefield, and has not been able to make any major progress so far.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Friday that southern towns and villages were the place where the course of the war and the future of our state were being determined.

Experts suggest that May 9, Victory Day – the day Nazi Germany surrendered to Russia in 1945 – could be the next milestone for Russian President Vladimir Putin. They say Russia will seek a way to declare a victory and a ceasefire on that date, or use May 9 as a trigger to transform Russia’s “special military operation” into a “war.” Russia could then take the initiative to mobilize troops at the national level to defeat Ukraine, and the threat from Moscow will increase.

On the battlefield, however, Putin’s troops now show no real signs of being overstretched, exhausted, or overwhelmed. The U.S. military and intelligence analysts say major offensives in the north have already reached a stalemate: neither side has been able to win outright.

In the second week of Russia’s second-stage invasion of Ukraine, Russian troops are encircling their Donbass to the north, south and east. Fighting is still raging in Mariupol, as well as on the 250-mile-wide southern front. Putin may be able to make some progress in Donbass in the next two weeks to declare victory on May 9. But overall the situation on the battlefield is miserable for them. This will pave the way for the Russian president to declare war and mobilize troops at the national level. The second option fits the significance of Russia’s National Day on 9 May.

The death toll in the war, which is almost stagnant, is grim. The number of Russian troops killed in just two months is more than the lengthy war in Afghanistan in the 1980s. No matter how much Moscow suppresses internal controversy and news, it will have an impact on the country.

“We have ample evidence that the Russian people are dissatisfied with the deaths of so many soldiers,” said a senior official at the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). At this stage it is not possible to cover these deaths.

DIA officials are hinting at the impact of sanctions on the general public. “Apparently the days of the Soviet era are coming back, with misery and extreme food shortages,” he said. It is difficult to deploy millions of newly recruited troops. This will be accompanied by the reluctance of the Russian people towards a large-scale war. All in all, Putin may be in a difficult position.

As fighting continues and Russia continues its long-range offensive, the number of military casualties in Ukraine is rising. U.S. military and intelligence analysts estimate that the number of Ukrainian soldiers killed could be as high as Russia’s (20,000). There are almost the same number of troops facing the battlefield. The tragedy is the death of civilians in Ukraine. The United Nations says about 5,000 people have been confirmed dead since the fighting began.

US President Joe Biden announced last week that Putin would never be able to occupy the whole of Ukraine. But DIA officials say U.S. politicians may be talking about months or years. Although on the battlefield this review is insane.

Last week, Jack Watling and Nick Raymonds, experts at the Royal United Services Institute in London, said it was becoming increasingly clear that the Russian government could declare May 9 a “war” rather than a “special military operation” instead of declaring victory.