Ukrainian town transformed into ‘military fortress’ as residents forced out
Russian forces appear to have forced out the residents of the Ukrainian city of Tokmak, which is situated on a vital highway, as massive earthworks and trenches are constructed ahead of an expected offensive against Russia by Ukraine. The city, located in the southeastern Zaporizhzhya region, is important for the Ukrainian Army because capturing the settlement would sever the link between Crimea and other Russian-controlled areas.
According to some sources, the area’s residents have been bussed out by Russian military authorities in order to fortify Tokmak as a military stronghold.
This would make it possible for the Kremlin’s troops to get the supplies they need and set up a safe base in case of a retreat.
The BBC reports that a network of trenches can be seen to the north of Tokmak on the given satellite image, indicating the direction from which Ukraine would launch an attack.
The close-up satellite view shows three separate layers of fortifications surrounding the city in addition to these trenches as an additional tier of defences.
An anti-tank ditch can be seen in the upper portion of the satellite view.
These ditches are normally built to be at least 2.5metres deep in order to trap any enemy tanks attempting to cross them.
A network of tunnels and numerous rows of obstacles called dragon’s teeth are situated behind the ditch.
However, it’s likely that Ukrainian soldiers would run across more defences.
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Minefields have probably been placed strategically between the three defence lines in Tokmak, according to Mark Cancian, a specialist from the Centre for Strategic and International Studies.
Mr Cancian told the BBC: “Minefields are a standard part of every defence, and the Russians have used them extensively throughout the war.
“Here they will be large and better concealed, slowing down Ukrainian attacks so that other combat elements, like artillery and infantry, can strike the attacking forces.”
It comes amid Russia’s boast that it now controls the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut in the east after a bloody nine-month campaign that claimed the lives of tens of thousands of combatants, however senior military figures in Ukraine insist that the conflict is far from over.
Officials from Ukraine acknowledge that they presently only control a small area of Bakhmut.
However, they stress that the fighters’ presence has been essential to their plan to deplete the Russian military.
Additionally, they assert that their current positions in Bakhmut’s environs give them the capacity to conduct counterattacks within the city.
Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi, the commander of ground forces for the Ukrainian Armed Forces said: “Even though we currently have control over a limited part of Bakhmut, the significance of defending it remains relevant.”
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