After peace talks fell through several weeks ago, Russia’s war in Ukraine has been ramping up in the eastern part of the country. As the Kremlin says it seeks full control of the Donbas region and southern Ukraine, Ukrainian officials have discovered a mass grave outside the now Russian-occupied city of Mariupol that is believed to contain the bodies of up to 9,000 civilians, according to the Washington Post.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has recalibrated forces to focus on the eastern part of Ukraine after Ukrainian forces repelled his army outside of Kyiv. Experts and observers have suggested that the shift in strategy puts Russia on a timeline to declare victory in anticipation of May 9—an important Russian national holiday marking the surrender of Nazi Germany at the end of World War II.
As a result, Russia this week declared it has entered a new phase of the war. How does this new timeline influence what’s happening on the ground—and is Russia now more likely to resort to tactical nuclear weapons to achieve its aims? News@Northeastern spoke with Mai’a Cross, Edward W. Brooke Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at Northeastern, to understand more. Her comments have been edited for brevity and clarity.