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WSJ reports insufficient preparation of fortifications in Ukraine as Russian offensive looms

Thursday, 7 March 2024, 10:20
WSJ reports insufficient preparation of fortifications in Ukraine as Russian offensive looms
Photo: ArmiiaInfo

Ukraine's campaign to build fortifications has not yielded significant results, and Ukrainian troops assigned to combat missions are forced to dig trenches, often under bombardment.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Quote: "Ukraine in November announced a campaign to build an extensive network of fortifications along the front lines, especially in the areas near Avdiivka. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for accelerated construction and urged private companies and donors to get involved.

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... 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. 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.

Moscow knows Ukrainian units are short on fresh soldiers and ammunition. The U.S. and Europe are failing to rearm Kyiv quickly. 

Ukrainian officials and military commanders say Russia’s current tactic of probing attacks is meant to take advantage of Moscow’s battlefield initiative before what they see as a likely major Russian offensive as early as this spring."

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Details: The WSJ notes that the capture of Avdiivka is Moscow's most significant battlefield victory in almost a year.

The newspaper writes that the Ukrainian military is trying to fight back by stockpiling ammunition and looking for opportunities to strike at Russian troops on the move, an approach known as active defence.

Quote: "Soldiers in the area (in the Avdiivka sector – ed.) say troops assigned to combat missions are being forced to dig trenches, often under fire. The complexity of the task means manpower alone won’t suffice.

... Building physical defences is now vital for Ukraine, not least because it is also struggling to mobilise troops.

The country has so far pursued an unusual policy of only conscripting men 27 and over and exempting anyone below that age.

Fathers of three or more children, carers for disabled people, and workers in critical sectors are exempt. In most countries, military service is more common for men or women starting around age 18."

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