‘Rhetoric intensifying’ Putin ‘preparing his people’ to extension of Ukraine timeline

Ukraine: 'Rhetoric intensifying' as Putin prepares Russians

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As Victory Day approaches in Russia, BBC correspondent Jenny Hill said: “Putin is preparing his people for the possibility that the military operation in Ukraine might go on a bit longer”. “Putin is concerned for that” but the west is “the only place and set of people” that he will be blamed, said Ms Hill. 

Speaking from Moscow, Ms Hill said: “We heard from the Kremlin spokesmen that western arms supplied [to Ukraine] were a threat to European security and was provoking instability.

“He was responding to comments by the British Foreign Secretary Liz Tress, in which she urged the west to double down his supply of weapons.

“Not only to Ukraine but also to countries like Georgia and Moldova.

“And yes, you do get the sense here that the rhetoric is intensifying

“But also a preparation for what they call here Victory Day, May 9th.

Ms Hill explained: “It is a big day on the Russian calendar.

“It is when they commemorate the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany during WW2.

“I have just had a look at some of the preparations, decorations on the shops.

“And streets have been prepared for a huge military parade with tanks and soldiers.

“It was the day that many analysts thought Vladimir Putin was keen to present Russians with a victory of his own.

“Perhaps he still will, but at this time I think he is preparing his people for the idea, the possibility that the military operation in Ukraine might go on a bit longer than expected.

Ms Hill concluded: “For that Vladimir Putin is concerned.

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“There is only one place, one set of people to blame, and that is the west.”

Besides warnings from Kremlin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov, Putin himself has said that there will be a “lightning-fast” response from Russia if any country attempts to interfere in Ukraine.

Putin warned: “[Russia] has all the tools for this, ones that no one can brag around.

“And we will use them if needed, and I want everyone to know this.”

In light of the warnings, UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss suggested that the west should be “digging deep into our inventories and ramping up production” of military equipment”.

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