Ukraine changes its defense strategy, fortifies the east

2024-02-20 17:10:00, Kosova & Bota CNA

Ukraine changes its defense strategy, fortifies the east

Ukraine is accelerating the construction of fortifications as it changes its military strategy toward Russia to focus more on defense. Russian forces have stepped up attacks on eastern cities such as Kupiansk, and Ukraine is responding by fortifying surrounding areas as it buys time to replenish military units that will face Russia's new offensive.

Anti-tank obstacles, the so-called "dragon's teeth" and barbed wire cover the fields northeast of Kupiansk. When there is fog and during the night hours, Ukrainian soldiers work to open the trenches where they themselves live. Artillery can be heard in the background all the time.

For security reasons, the exact locations of the trenches are not made public.

“Here behind me you can see the fortifications with 'dragon's teeth' and barbed wire. All this alternates with minefields. It is a very simple but efficient structure to stop enemy infantry and heavy vehicles," says Maksimi, an officer in the 123rd battalion of the Kharkiv defense brigade.

He says the fortifications also help Ukrainian artillery hit Russian forces with precision.

"It is a very efficient and very understandable system. Our artillery units know exactly where the fortifications are. As soon as enemy personnel and vehicles approach, they will be able to react very quickly and effectively", says Maksimi. The soldiers say they are regularly supplied with the timber and beams they need for the trenches.

"We continue to open the trenches as much as we can. We dig while we still have time. If not, the enemy will come and have an easy time. As the saying goes, the deeper you dig, the longer you can stay alive", says the soldier with the nickname "Kandahar".

As they talk to each other in the trenches, Ukrainian soldiers talk about shortages in artillery shells and new recruits. They are appealing to the West for more supplies and for young Ukrainians to continue joining the army to help in these efforts against Russian forces, while vowing to hold their city to the end.

"Kupiansku is being held and will be held. We have things under control. We are here and no one will leave", says soldier Andrii.

As the soldiers of the 123rd battalion continue the work to fortify their city, unexploded parts of Russian rockets can be seen on many streets around Kupiansk./ Voa

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