Satellite images from Capella Space reveal a vast network of Russian fortifications stretching from western Russia through eastern Ukraine to Crimea, preparing for a significant Ukrainian counteroffensive. Ukrainian troops have been training in the West to carry out complex, combined operations on the battlefield.
However, military experts warn that Ukraine’s success depends on their ability to execute these combined arms operations effectively.
The most heavily defended areas are in the southern Zaporizhzhia region and near the Crimean Peninsula. These defenses, primarily constructed after Ukraine’s rapid advances in the fall, may pose challenges for further Ukrainian progress.
Military experts believe that the length of the front could stretch Russia’s defenses if Kyiv can regain control of the south and unimpeded access to Black Sea export routes.
Ukraine might not receive additional armored hardware from the West soon, increasing pressure on Kyiv to reclaim as much territory as possible before military support wanes.
The West has supplied modern battle tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, bridging equipment, and mine clearance vehicles for the assault. In response, Russia has constructed extensive, layered fortifications to protect its troops, as shown in satellite images. Most of the construction took place after November when Russian forces withdrew from Kherson city and both sides consolidated positions during the winter months.
The defenses mark areas where Russia anticipates attacks or where it sees strategic importance in holding territory. The most concentrated Russian positions are near southeastern front lines in the Zaporizhzhia region, in the east, and across the land connecting Crimea to the rest of Ukraine.
Military experts expect the primary focus of a counteroffensive to be in the south, despite recent heavy fighting in the east, particularly around Bakhmut.
Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the Kherson region last week, signaling its strategic importance.