Soviet World War II victory flags are appearing Ukrainian areas Russia has seized, CNN reported.
Russia is preparing for its May 9 "Victory Day" — the anniversary of Nazis' World War II surrender.
UK and European intelligence suggests Russia is seeking a symbolic win in Ukraine ahead of that date.
Soviet World War II victory flags are appearing in Russian-occupied Ukrainian towns, CNN reported, as Western intelligence says Russia likely wants to secure major progress in its invasion ahead of its May 9 "Victory Day."
CNN reported on Thursday that the flag was "beginning to appear" in some areas of Ukraine that Russia has taken since it launched an invasion of the country on February 24.
The flag shows the Soviet hammer and sickle alongside writing that says: "150th Rifle, Order of Kutuzov Second Class, Idritz Division, 79th Rifle Corps, 3rd Shock Army, 1st Belorussian Front," CNN reported.
Newsweek also reported on Thursday that Russian troops raised the flag above the Ukrainian city of Kherson.
In Russia, May 9, 1945 is when the surrender of Nazi Germany's forces was accepted by allied countries, including the Soviet Union. In Western Europe, victory over Nazi Germany is celebrated on May 8.
Russia typically marks the date every year with a huge military display and parade in Moscow.
Russia's invasion of Ukraine has largely stalled in recent weeks, with forces retreating from many areas of the country, including the capital Kyiv, after facing logistical issues and unexpectedly fierce resistance from Ukrainian forces.
Russia has since regrouped its troops in Ukraine's east, focusing its efforts there.
Russia wants a big win
European intelligence, however, suggests that Russia will want to achieve a major successes in its invasion ahead of May 9.
The UK Ministry of Defence said on Thursday that intelligence indicates: "Russia likely desires to demonstrate significant successes ahead of their annual 9th May Victory Day celebrations."
"This could affect how quickly and forcefully they attempt to conduct operations in the run-up to this date."
Two unnamed European officials told CNN that Russian troops are dealing with "self-imposed pressure" to achieve something that can be seen as a victory before the holiday.
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