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Russian forces have significantly bolstered their defences around the “linchpin” town of Tokmak in southern Ukraine – which President Zelensky’s army is now gunning for.
The development, positioning Tokmak roughly 16 kilometres behind the current front line, has set off alarm bells about a potential shift in the Ukrainian counteroffensive.
According to the UK’s Ministry of Defence, Russian troops have been observed executing a series of defensive measures, including the deployment of additional checkpoints, the erection of ‘hedgehog’ anti-tank defences, and an extensive trench-digging operation.
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These moves appear to be concentrated in the area held by Russia’s 58th Combined Arms Army, marking a notable escalation in the conflict.
Tokmak, situated in Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, has become a hotly contested battleground, witnessing clashes between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatists.
The reinforced Russian defences hint at a strategic imperative to solidify their grip on Tokmak and its surroundings.
The MoD said: “In recent days, Russian forces have likely reinforced their defences around the occupied town of Tokmak in southern Ukraine, which is approximately 16 km behind the current front line.
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“Russia is likely deploying additional checkpoints, ‘hedgehog’ anti-tank defences and digging new trenches in the area, which is held by its 58th Combined Arms Army.
“Tokmak is preparing to become a linchpin of Russian’s second main line of defences. Improvements to the town’s defences likely indicate Russia’s growing concern about Ukrainian tactical penetrations of the first main defensive line to the north.”
Of particular concern is the installation of “hedgehog” anti-tank defences, designed to impede the progress of armoured vehicles and discourage offensive actions. This formidable barrier could prove a significant obstacle for any Ukrainian efforts to retake Tokmak or mount counteroffensives in the region.
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