In the north of Ukraine, near the border with Russia and Belarus, preparations are underway for a possible Russian attack from this direction. Ukrainian soldiers strengthen defense lines and mine routes. – The Russians will not pass this way – ensure the military who are on guard in this section.
– No one can squeeze through these fortifications. To attack from this direction, you have to be a fool – says Captain Andriy, commander of the engineering company that builds firing positions in the northern Ukraine.
In February 2022 when Russia made a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, its troops moved, inter alia, from the Gomel region to Belarus. They unsuccessfully tried to take the largest city in the area where three borders meet, Chernihiv. The soldiers who are now stationed here participated in its defense.
Fortifications at the northern borders of Ukraine
Captain Andriy shows the trenches and places where you can hide a gun or a tank. – We were preparing to defend ourselves against Russia back in 2014, when it occupied Crimea and started a row in Donbass. That’s when we did the trenches. Now we’re just refreshing them,” he says.
“Refreshing” consists in widening the trenches and securing their walls with steel shields. First, an excavator works here, followed by a group of soldiers with pickaxes and shovels. – We’ve rebuilt everything here. We leave only trees and bushes, because it’s natural masking. We put shields so that no one gets hit by shrapnel – explains one of them.
Enemy troops can reach this place in two ways: through the open fields from the forest side and through the bridge on the route that leads towards the Russian border. – They will not pass through the fields, because even now, when there is frost, the ground is frozen only from the top. We can always blow up the bridge. This is the best point of defense – explains the captain.
– I already saw in February last year how their tanks sank into the ground. There is sand and mud here. It is also no secret that everything is mined here – emphasizes the officer. – The Russians will not pass this way – assure the Ukrainian military.
“If they attacked here – they wouldn’t stand a chance”
The Ukrainian general staff in their daily war reports reports that although the enemy keeps his units above the northern border of Ukraine, so far there is no danger of an attack from this direction. Despite this, Ukrainian soldiers on the northern lines of defense remain in constant readiness.
“With the Russians, you never know what’s going to happen to them, but if they were pushing here, they wouldn’t stand a chance. Yes, it is difficult in eastern Ukraine, but here everything is prepared to welcome them – says one of the military men after work on strengthening defensive positions.
After the events of the first months of last year, the soldiers have difficult memories, but also the conviction that they must defend the homeland at all costs. – People who saw what the Russian troops did here in February and March last year know that there is no other way than to fight. Even our children hate Russia, says another soldier.
“That’s why we must do everything we can to drive them away.” We paid too high a price to give up. We must win this war, declares Captain Andriy.
Main photo source: GLEB GARANCH / Reuters / Forum