LONDON, May 2 (CNN) - Russian President Vladimir Putin could formally declare war on Ukraine as soon as May 9, which would allow for the full mobilisation of Russia’s reserve forces, some Western officials believe, according to CNN.

“I think he will try to move from his ‘special operation,’” British defence secretary Ben Wallace told LBC Radio last week. “He’s been rolling the pitch, 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.’”

CNN also reports that the the US ambassador to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Michael Carpenter, has said the US has “highly credible” intelligence reports that Russia will try to annex Luhansk and Donetsk “some time in mid-May”. There are also indications that Russia could be planning to declare and annex a “people’s republic” in the southeastern city of Kherson.