Russia’s 45-mile-long ‘mega trench’
Russian forces have built a 45-mile-long “mega trench” deep in the occupied southern territories of mainland Ukraine, satellite imagery has shown. Running from the village of Semenivka, six miles northeast of the centre of Melitopol, parallel to the Sea of Azov coastline eastwards to the village of Marynivka, the continuous trench appears to be the longest in Ukraine and can be seen from space. Located at least 50 miles behind the frontline, it speaks to Putin’s paranoia over a repeat of the Ukrainian counter offensives that swept Russian forces back last summer and through to the winter.
Images of the trench were taken by the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-2 and have been posted by the Ukrainian Centre for Journalistics Investigations.
They show what looks like a scar running through the Ukrainian countryside above the coastline.
The “mega-trench” is believed to have been built by central Asian workers brought in by Russian businessmen.
They were reportedly instructed to build the trench, as well as dugouts and anti-tank gouges intermittently along the line.
Digging of the trench began from two directions in September last year and was allegedly completed on October 18.
It does not appear to have been in use since its completion, given that fighting is taking place roughly 50 miles to the north.
The giant trench has been ridiculed by Ukraine, who said the super long lesion would be Russia’s only success.
Natalya Gumenyuk, spokesman for Ukraine’s southern defence forces, said: “Well, at least they [the Russians] will win at something. There will be no second victories. Let them be record holders from the trenches.”
Russian forces have been fortifying the occupied land corridor above the Crimean peninsula for months after Ukrainian soldiers reached the banks of the Dnipro River to the southwest in November.
Military experts and western officials have told Express.co.uk that a Ukrainian counter offensive is likely to aim to split the corridor in an advance on Melitopol, to the east of the southern port city of Kherson.
Such a move would permit the Ukrainian forces to cut off some of the supply lines from Crimea to Donbas in the east.
At present, Russian soldiers are firing on positions to the south of Kherson, meaning a possible advance across the Dnipro River in that Oblast appears too dangerous.
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The “mega-trench” in Zaporizhzhia Oblast shows that Russian forces are fortifying their positions almost to Berdyansk, which is a little over an hour’s drive west of the besieged city of Mariupol, deep into occupied territory.
Ukrainian officials claimed over the weekend that Russian forces had transitioned from offensive plans to defensive actions against potential counter offensives expected in the next few weeks.
The construction of the “mega trench” in late September, however, as the northeastern region of Kharkiv was being liberated, suggests Russian forces have been preparing for an eventual advance towards the Sea of Azov for far longer.
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