NewsUkraine's massive new "active defense" plan: Fortifying borders and bracing for worst-case scenarios

Ukraine's massive new "active defense" plan: Fortifying borders and bracing for worst-case scenarios

Ukrainian flag, landscape - yellow & blue.
Ukrainian flag, landscape - yellow & blue.
Images source: © Adobe Stock | Marta
12:01 PM EST, January 22, 2024

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As reported by Britain's "The Telegraph", the almost 621 mile-long frontline in Ukraine now features rows of newly dug trenches, concrete "dragon's teeth", bunkers, and underground command centers.

New fortifications are being built in the rear of areas experiencing the fiercest battles around Lyman and Avdiivka (Donetsk region), and also Kupyansk (Kharkiv region). Moreover, the construction of fortifications has been ordered along Ukraine's borders with Russia and Belarus, extending to the border with Poland.

In Avdiivka, currently the focus of Putin's military offensive, Ukraine has established its main defensive line roughly 10 miles behind the existing frontline. This line takes advantage of topographical features like lakes and rivers.

Preparation for "worst-case scenarios"

At present, Ukrainians are controlling Avdiivka. However, they are also ready for "worst-case scenarios". The town of Pokrovsk, situated about 31 miles to the west, which Russia must capture to gain control over the entire Donetsk region, is shielded by a two-tiered trench system surrounding the city.

"The Telegraph" reveals that the Ukrainians likely built the most robust fortifications in the Chernihiv region in the northern area of the country, near the borders with Belarus and Russia. This is the site from where Putin's army initiated an unsuccessful attack on Kyiv early in the conflict.

As per "The Telegraph", large engineering vehicles have been used to dig trenches and wide anti-tank ditches. They have fortified them with rows of "dragon's teeth" and covered them with rolls of barbed wire.

Goal: Survival and regeneration

Experts liken Kyiv's new defense line to the so-called "Surowikin Line" - a triple-layered trench system with tank traps and strong points used effectively by Russia to counter Ukraine's counteroffensive. The line is named after Gen. Sergey Surovikin, the Russian forces' commanding officer in Ukraine during the transition from 2022 to 2023.

By the end of the previous year, President Volodymyr Zelensky declared that Ukraine was "significantly reinforcing" its fortifications. This is in line with Ukraine's goal for 2024: replenishing its forces and bolstering its offensive power before 2025.

However, this doesn't mean Ukrainian soldiers will remain idle in the new trenches. They'll serve either as protection or launching points for raids on Russian positions.

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