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Russia builds web of trenches and fortifications in Crimea – WP

Tuesday, 4 April 2023, 05:35
Russia builds web of trenches and fortifications in Crimea – WP

Russia has started to prepare the annexed Crimea for a Ukrainian counteroffensive, with the occupiers building a complete web of trenches and fortifications on the peninsula in just a few weeks.

Source: The Washington Post with reference to Maxar satellite images

Details: WP said that the occupiers have built fortifications near the settlements of Medvedivka, Vitino and in other parts of Crimea.


The Russians have installed anti-tank embankments, ditches and artillery along the coast of the Black Sea. In the satellite imagery, a whole web of trenches can be seen from the side of Syvash Lake, the length of which in some cases exceeds 900 metres. There are also three rows of concrete pyramidal anti-tank structures, known as "dragon's teeth".


WP said that "more recently", Russia has heavily fortified its defences on the border of Crimea with mainland Ukraine.

The satellite imagery of the village of Vitino in the Saky Raion of Crimea, taken on 27 February, shows an empty shore. However, by 12 March, a line of trenches had appeared near the sea. One of the satellite imagery taken near Vitino also shows several artillery pieces set up in trenches, which analysts find difficult to explain in terms of military logic.


Many of Russia's defences, WP noted, have been built along bodies of water, adding an extra obstacle against a potential Ukrainian ground offensive.

Crimea can now be considered "one of the most fortified" territories in the war zone, WP emphasised.

WP noted that the Russian army is using a Soviet-era BTM-3 military trenching machine, which is capable of digging trenches at a speed of 80 metres per hour, even when the ground is frozen. In addition, WP wrote, the so-called leadership of Crimea involved local workers in digging trenches on the coast for $90 a day.

Michael Kofman, a military analyst at CNA in Virginia, said that Ukraine is unlikely to seize Crimea in "the classical sense," but that Kyiv could pursue a strategy of exhaustion by establishing fire control over access to Crimea.

"Over time it could make the situation in Crimea untenable, such that Russia might have to negotiate over its status," Kofman said.

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