British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said Thursday that Russia may declare war on the “world’s Nazis” on Victory Day—an annual Russian commemoration of the end of World War II on May 9.
UK defense officials said earlier this month that Russia “likely desires to demonstrate significant” military success ahead of the holiday.
Wallace’s comments came during an appearance on LBC radio Thursday. During the program, host Nick Ferrari asked about the upcoming holiday.
“We’re what, nine, ten days away from what normally is their big parade day? What do you think they’ve got planned, how do you imagine they’re going to reference the Ukraine war in ten days’ time?”
“Well I think we’ve seen a number of statements from Putin recently about ‘This is becoming a war, this is a proxy war which it isn’t…Nazis are everywhere basically. They’re not just in Ukraine, NATO is full of Nazis.
“And I think what he’s going to do is he’s going to move from his ‘special operation’…and he’s been laying the ground for being able to say ‘Look this is now a war against Nazis’ and what I need is more people, I need more Russian cannon fodder basically.”
Wallace added that he doesn’t “have any information about this,” but he said Putin is “probably going to declare on this May Day that we’re now at war with the world’s Nazis and we need to mass mobilize the Russian people. “
“Which is actually a pathetic attempt to cover for the fact that actually his generals have sent thousands of men to their death because of their incompetence and arrogance and his ego.”
In the days leading up to this, Russia has made threatening statements to NATO. In a speech on Wednesday, Putin said that those who intervene in Russia’s actions in Ukraine and create “unacceptable threats for us that are strategic in nature” would be met with a “lightning-fast” response.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Monday that “NATO is essentially going to war with Russia through a proxy and arming that proxy.”
On Friday, a NATO official warned that it could be years before the war in Ukraine comes to an end.
“It’s clear that the next few days and weeks could prove decisive, but the war would probably take longer,” said NATO Deputy Secretary-General Mircea Geoană said. “Could be weeks, could be months, could be even years—it depends on a lot of factors.”
Newsweek has reached out to Russia’s foreign ministry for comment.