Ukraine Erecting 2,000km of Fortifications on Front Lines

by State Brief



Ukraine’s President Zelensky has more or less indicated he’s ready to build the wall—to borrow the old Trump phrase…

He announced on Telegram Monday that he has ordered the construction of some 2,000 kilometers of fortifications in order to solidify the front lines with Russian forces. He touted the good “pace of construction of new defense lines.” 

He reviewed the status of the fortification in a meeting with military commanders and ministers following approval of a “record amount” of funds allocated for the fortification efforts, at between $500 and $800 million.

According to Ukrainian media reports, “In the fall of 2023, the authorities received criticism for slow progress on fortifying defensive lines. A working group was established in November to coordinate fortification efforts.”

Zelensky is busying trying to paint an optimistic picture of how his forces are fairing on the battlefield, after months of Western media reports that the Ukrainians have steadily lost ground, especially after abandoning Avdiivka in the east to the better-armed and more numerous Russian army.

The Wall Street Journal has detailed that “West of Avdiivka, excavators more common to a construction site than a battlefield are carving up the earth to create antitank ditches and trenches. The Ukrainians are attempting to replicate the physical obstacles that Russia created on its side of the front more than a year ago, with deadly effectiveness in stymying Ukraine’s offensive last summer.”

Zelensky has been urging private donors to fund the ambitious undertaking: “On all the main fronts, we need to dig in, speed up the pace of construction,” he has underscored. “The priority is obvious.”

It became evident starting last summer that the Ukrainian counteroffensive had failed, but now it’s becoming more clear by the day that Kiev forces are being steadily pushed back. The WSJ acknowledged this in an investigative report days ago…

“But Western officials and Ukrainian soldiers say that the campaign hasn’t yielded significant results, and the absence of progress is proving a liability for Ukraine as Russia steps up its assaults,” WSJ wrote. “In recent days it has pushed Ukrainian forces out of a string of villages west of Avdiivka, although hills and bodies of water a little further west can serve as natural obstacles for Kyiv that are easier to defend.”

With not enough troops to hold and advance positions, front line areas resemble large construction sites…

So this means the half-billion dollar plus “wall” or military fortifications could prove too little, too late in terms of preparing the battlefield space. Ukraine is bracing for another major Russian ground assault at some point this spring.

On the Russian side, the Kremlin’s aim has been to solidify gains, particularly over the four annexed territories in the east, while sending sporadic major air assaults in retaliation for Ukrainian cross-border attacks on Russian cities and energy infrastructure. These operations have stepped up particularly in Crimea and the Black Sea, where Russia has reportedly lost a couple of small warships.





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