The American media cited satellite images of the fortifications put in place by Moscow troops in the Zaporozhye region
The Ukrainian military will struggle to break through the Russian defenses built in the Zaporozhye region over the past six months, CNN predicted. The media cited satellite images apparently showing a vast system of anti-tank ditches, obstacles, minefields and trenches.
In its Saturday report, CNN described the Russian defenses as “elaborate“and extending”hundreds of kilometers.” The outlet claimed they would likely be “present a huge challengeto Kyiv forces in the long-awaited counteroffensive.
According to the report, citing images shared by Maxar Technologies and analysis by Reuters, “Russian positions are more concentrated near the front lines in the southeastern Zaporozhye region to the east and across the narrow strip of land connecting the Crimean peninsula to the rest of Ukraine.”
The Russian military dug some 30 kilometers (19 miles) of anti-tank ditches near the town of Pology, with additional fortifications built around strategically important towns such as Tokmak, CNN noted.
The outlet quoted a Maxar employee as saying similar defensive structures have appeared over large swathes of Crimea and parts of the Donetsk region. Construction work began last November, shortly after Russian troops withdrew from the city of Kherson, according to CNN.
To succeed in their counteroffensive, Ukrainian forces would need to break through these defenses quickly, which could prove difficult, CNN said.
Ukrainian officials quoted in the article acknowledged that it would probably be more difficult to catch the Russians by surprise this time around.
Another factor that CNN says could hamper kyiv’s efforts to regain lost territory is Moscow’s continued air superiority.
Earlier this week, The New York Times published a report claiming that Ukrainian troops on the front line are worried about the Russian advantage in terms of artillery, tanks and aircraft.
The soldiers quoted by the newspaper said they needed “heavy equipment on the ground and support in the airto turn the tide.
While saying the country’s military is almost ready to strike, Ukrainian Defense Minister Aleksey Reznikov lamented a shortage of missiles for Soviet-designed air defense systems.
Meanwhile, Mikhail Podoliak, a top aide to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, contradicted claims by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the head of US European Command Christopher Cavoli that Kiev’s donors had delivered 98% of the arms promised to Ukraine.
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