Ukrainian forces, having breached the first line of Russian defenses in the south of Ukraine, now face “mazes” of defensive fortifications and perhaps underground tunnels connecting firing positions, a Ukrainian military spokesperson has said.
Oleksandr Shtupun, spokesperson for the Ukrainian Tavriisk Group of Forces, which is fighting on the front in Zaporizhzhya Oblast, was speaking on Ukrainian national television on Sept. 4.
Asked whether the second line Russia’s defense has a network of tunnels, "underground cities where Russians can go in one place and come out ten kilometers away", Shtupun replied: "I don't know, I don't have that information. But they've had over a year to dig in, so I think there are mazes (of trenches and defensive fortifications) there."
Shtupun said the second line of Russian defenses in the south of Ukraine was “quite strong,” but that the density of the minefields there was lower.
He also said the trench systems, firing positions and ditches the Ukrainian forces now faced were not as strong as in the first Russian line of defense.
Commander of the Tavria operational group General Oleksandr Tarnavskyi confirmed on Sept. 2 that Ukrainian forces had breached the first Russian defense line in the southern section of the front line.
Tarnavskyi said he estimated that Russia had devoted 60% of its time and resources to building the first line of defenses, and only 20% each to the second and third lines, as Moscow had not expected Ukrainian troops would reach them.
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