- Kyiv has been stockpiling weapons from its Western allies for months in readiness for a counteroffensive that would drive the invaders out of Ukraine after 13 months of fighting.
- The documents had information about Ukraine's weaknesses in terms of weapons and air defenses, as well as information about battlefield deaths and Kyiv's allies.
New satellite pictures show that Russian forces have dug a huge, 45-mile-long trench in Ukraine’s occupied Zaporizhzhia region. They may have done this to stop Kiev’s upcoming counteroffensive.
The new pictures taken by the Sentinel-2 satellite show the huge trench being dug in the southeast as Vladimir Putin’s troops stepped up their attacks on eastern towns on the front lines on Monday.
The Ukrainian Center for Journalistic Investigations found pictures of the man-made ditch, which goes from the edge of the village of Semenivka to a field near the village of Marynivka, a distance of more than 45 miles.
CJI thinks that Russia will start digging the mega-tunnel in September 2022, working in both ways at the same time. By the middle of October, the building was done.
Putin illegally took over Zaporizhzhya last fall, and the defensive line is almost a third of the length of the area.
The Center for Journalistic Investigations says that Putin’s soldiers and Central Asian workers spent the winter digging trenches, building dugouts, and putting up concrete anti-tank bollards in preparation for Kyiv’s spring counteroffensive.
Natalya Gumenyuk, a spokeswoman for Ukraine’s southern defense forces, made fun of the enemy by saying that the huge ditch would be their only victory in the war.
“Well, at least they’ll win something,” I said. They won’t be able to win again. During a recent TV interview, she said jokingly, “Let them set records from the front lines.”
In the meantime, Russian forces were bombarding Ukrainian positions around the besieged city of Bakhmut and the area around it with airstrikes and artillery fire. This is where the bloodiest fights of the war have taken place.
“From Syria, the enemy turned to a strategy called “scorched earth.” The leader of Ukraine’s ground troops, Col. Gen. Oleksandr Syrskyi, said that Bakhmut was using airstrikes and artillery fire to destroy buildings and positions.
Denis Pushilin, who is in charge of the part of Donetsk that is controlled by Moscow, said that Russian troops now controlled 75% of the destroyed city. They have been fighting for months to get it, and both sides have lost a lot of lives in the process.
Syrskyi said that Moscow was sending in special forces and airborne units to surround Bakhmut, where battle has been called a “meat grinder.”
The Ukraine’s general staff said that the Russians had tried to move into areas west of Bakhmut but had failed, and at least 10 towns and villages had been shelled.
Before its counteroffensive, Ukraine has said it wants to kill as many Russian soldiers as possible. However, President Volodymyr Zelensky said last week that troops could be pulled back if they were in danger of being trapped.
Oleh Zhdanov, a military expert from Ukraine, said that enemy forces controlled the center of Bakhmut and that most of their attacks were now aimed at the train station.
Zhdanov said, “There are fierce battles in the middle of the city, and the enemy is slowly moving toward the western edge.”
The military of Moscow was also going after the city of Avdiivka, where a bombing on Monday destroyed an apartment building.
Pavlo Kyrylenko, the regional governor of Donetsk, said that the Russians had turned Avdiivka into a total mess. “About 1,800 people still live in Avdiivka. Every day, they all risk their lives.”
Russia’s Ministry of Defense said Monday that its troops had destroyed a fuel depot with 70,000 tons of fuel near Zaporizhzhia as well as Ukrainian army warehouses full of missiles and ammo.
Kyiv has been stockpiling weapons from its Western allies for months in readiness for a counteroffensive that would drive the invaders out of Ukraine after 13 months of fighting.
Because of a leak of dozens of highly secret Pentagon documents, Ukraine had to change some of its military plans. The documents had information about Ukraine’s weaknesses in terms of weapons and air defenses, as well as information about battlefield deaths and Kyiv’s allies.
Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the Ukrainian president, played down the story by saying that Kyiv’s strategic plans had not changed, but that specific tactics could always be changed.
Some of the files were labeled “Secret” or “Top Secret,” and in March they started showing up on social media sites. The Department of Justice has started a criminal probe into the leaks, which the Pentagon didn’t know about until last week, according to reports.
Some experts on national security and US officials say they think the leaker might be an American, but they don’t rule out the possibility that pro-Russian actors are trying to drive a wedge between Ukraine and its Western partners at this important time.
Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Kremlin, didn’t want to say anything about the leak, but he did say, “There is a tendency to always blame everything on Russia.” In general, it is a sickness.”