Dhe Russian troops are apparently pulling out another line of defense in eastern Ukraine. As CNN reported on Saturday based on satellite images from Maxar Technologies, an almost two-kilometer-long fortification was built in front of the Russian-occupied city of Hirske. Hirske is located about 70 kilometers west of Luhansk, the capital of the region of the same name that was recently annexed by Russia.
The fort consists of four rows of concrete pyramids designed to stop Ukrainian tanks and other vehicles. A deep trench was dug behind the anti-tank obstacles. The line of defense is well behind the current front, which runs about 50 kilometers to the west at Bakhmut. Attempts by Ukraine to liberate occupied territories are also currently concentrated in the south. Zvezda TV, run by the Russian Defense Ministry, called the fort a “second line of defense” in case Ukrainian troops attempted to advance into the area.
Russian media christen fortification “Wagner Line”
After reviewing complementary satellite images from the European Space Agency, CNN concludes that the trench must have been excavated in two phases, first from September 25th and then between September 30th and October 5th. Russian media dubbed the fort “Wagner Line” in reference to the notorious Russian mercenary force believed to be responsible for its construction.
The fortification, which is less than two kilometers long, could easily be bypassed by Ukrainian troops. According to Russian media reports, the “Wagner” mercenary group is to expand the defense significantly. According to a calculation by CNN, the target would correspond to a total length of more than 200 kilometers. However, the sighting of further satellite images did not show any evidence of corresponding construction work.