An almost two-kilometer fortification has been constructed outside the Russian-occupied town of Hirske, in eastern Ukraine, new satellite images from Maxar Technologies show.
The fortification comprises of four rows of cement pyramids that the Russians hope will stop any Ukrainian vehicles and tanks from moving eastward. A large trench is located behind the anti-tank fortifications.
Additional satellite imagery from the European Space Agency shows that the trench digging was conducted in two parts: the first section of trench was dug starting on September 25; the second section of trench was dug sometime between September 30 and October 5.
Two Russian media outlets have reported from the fortification site, which they named the “Wagner Line” referring to the Russian mercenary Wagner Group. Zvedza TV, the media outlet for the Russian military, said it was a “second line of defense” if the Ukrainians tried to break through in the area.
Although the fortification could help defend against a frontal attack, there’s nothing stopping Ukrainian forces from just travelling around the fortifications, which only stretch 1.6 kilometers or just over a mile.
RIA/FAN, a Russian tabloid, published a map on Wednesday claiming that the Wagner group would continue building their “line” until it stretches east from the Russian-Ukrainian border to Kreminna, and then south to Svitlodarsk.
A CNN analysis of the map showed that a fortification that long would stretch roughly 217km, or 135 miles.
Additional satellite imagery reviewed by CNN did not show any other construction along the purported path of the “Wagner Line.”
It’s not the first time the Wagner Group has utilized trenches to fortify their positions. In 2021, the mercenary group constructed roughly 40 miles, over 70 km, of trenches across the Libyan desert to stop ground attacks on their positions there.
CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh, Seb Shukla and Uliana Pavlova contributed to this report.