Ukraine Says Russia Brought Parade Gear to Kyiv, Expecting Quick Win

  • Russian soldiers took parade uniforms with them to Kyiv, a Ukrainian army official said.
  • Oleksandr Hruzevych said it was a sign that Russia expected to take the city almost immediately.
  • “We can say now that we have completely destroyed their plans,” he said.

Russian soldiers advancing on Kyiv brought parade uniforms with them, seeming to expect a victory in less than two days, a Ukrainian army official said on Thursday.

The official said the soldiers left them behind when withdrawing from the Kyiv area, after weeks of trying without success to take the Ukrainian capital.

The claim was made in a briefing for media by Oleksandr Hruzevych, the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Command of the Ground Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Hruzevych said that the uniforms were found in abandoned Russian military vehicles in the areas around Kyiv that were recently retaken.

Oleksandr Hruzevych speaks at a podium

Oleksandr Hruzevych, the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Command of the Ground Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, speaks on April 7.

YouTube/ UkraineMediaCenter Kyiv Eng

“We also find some parade uniforms there, so they expected to get Kyiv in two days and then have a parade here. So we can say now that we have completely destroyed their plans.”

Parade uniforms are usually bright and highly decorated. They are impractical for fighting and only worn for ceremonial events: soldiers expecting resistance wear combat gear, usually rugged and featuring camouflage.

This photo shows Russian soldiers in parade gear in Red Square, Moscow:

Vladimir Putin with Russian military officers

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with military officers in Red Square after the Victory Day parade, in downtown Moscow, May 9, 2019.


The US, the UK, and other Western countries have shared intelligence assessments that say Russia expected to make quick progress in capturing Ukraine.

Military analysts said that Russia’s initial strategy matched these assessments, and did not appear to anticipate the fierce resistance from Ukraine.

Insider’s Sam Fellman wrote in early March that Russia’s push for a “lightning” victory was centered on taking Kyiv, an objective that it was soon obvious it could not easily achieve.

After weeks of stasis, Russia over the weekend began to withdraw from around Kyiv, and Ukrainian officials said this week that it was once more in control of the whole of the Kyiv administrative region. 

Hruzevych warned that Kyiv could still be hit by shelling in the city and that Ukraine was finding “sabotage groups” that Russia had left behind.

He also warned that Russia is likely to try again to take Kyiv, but said he did not know when that could happen.

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