Russia continues to develop linear defenses in southern Ukraine, says UK intelligence

12 April, 12:24 PM
Russians are installing defense structures, including in occupied Crimea (Photo:Crimea.Realii)

Russians are installing defense structures, including in occupied Crimea (Photo:Crimea.Realii)

Russia has continued to develop extensive linear defenses in Zaporizhzhya Oblast in southern Ukraine over recent weeks, the UK’s Ministry of Defense wrote in its regular daily update on Twitter on April 12.

According to UK intelligence, the area is highly likely the responsibility of Russia’s Southern Grouping of Forces.

Russia has now completed three layers of defensive zones across approximately 120 kilometers of this sector.

“These consist of a front line of forward combat positions, and then two zones of nearly continuous, more elaborate defenses,” the ministry said in its daily summary.

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“Each zone is approximately 10-20 kilometers behind the one in front. Russia has probably put significant effort into these defensive works because it is convinced Ukraine is considering an assault towards the city of Melitopol.”

The agency added that the defenses have the potential to be formidable obstacles, but their utility almost entirely depends on them being supported by sufficient artillery and personnel.

However, it remains unclear if Russia’s Southern Grouping of Forces can currently muster these resources, the intelligence said.

On Feb. 28, Ukrainian Military Intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov said the next three months in Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine would be “very active” and will determine the course of events in the war.

On the same day, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in an address that Ukraine was preparing new active actions of the Defense Forces.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin previously said that Ukrainian forces have a good chance of conducting a successful counter-offensive this spring.

Later, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov stated that the counter-offensive should begin in April-May of this year on several fronts.

On March 26, Ukrainian President’s Representative in Crimea, Tamila Tasheva, said in an interview with NV Radio that Russian invaders are panicking and digging trenches along the entire coastline of the peninsula. These fortifications are visible on numerous satellite images published in recent weeks.

U.S. newspaper the New York Times reported on April 3 that Ukrainian officers will have to carefully choreograph artillery, infantry and the armored vehicle assaults that will crash through Russian trenches, tank traps and minefields.

Sophisticated Western tanks, with better survivability and firepower, will be critical in breaking through the Russian defensive positions, the newspaper wrote.

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