Russian troops heavily mined areas along Ukraine’s southern frontline and sent considerable numbers of reservists into the fight there, the commander of the Ukrainian armed forces claimed.
“The adversary is trying to prevent the advance of our units. To this end, they have deployed a system of fortifications with dense minefields and a significant number of reserves,” General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi said in a post on Facebook. “The operation continues as planned,” he added.
Zaluzhnyi posted a video of himself alongside the commander of Ukraine’s southern forces, Brigadier General Oleksandr Tarnavsky, whose units Ukraine said earlier Monday had liberated eight settlements in the south over the past two weeks.
Russia’s actions in the south were further outlined by one Ukrainian deputy unit commander on the ground.
Kostiantyn Denysov, a fighter with Ukraine’s Legion of Liberty, told state television Monday that Russian troops had “dug in really well” and unleashed “massive firepower” to prevent any Ukrainian advance.
“We’re liberating some of the settlements, but it is here on the ground that we see at what cost. Guys with heavy wounds, with contusions. This is the price of fighting for freedom,” Denysov said.
“There are several areas on the frontline where constant fighting is ongoing. We have to admit that the enemy has dug in well. They have brought in here regular Russian army. There are also some mobilized, including those from the Moscow region,” he continued. “The enemy has a lot of artillery. They are shelling our guys from everything. They are using drones to adjust their fire. They have got a lot of drones, which is a big problem. They are attacking not only our guys, but also civilian infrastructure from the air.”
Denysov said that Russian units had built, “concrete trenches and minefields… setting traps for our guys on the temporary fortifications” and making it difficult for Ukraine to recapture its territory.
“Unfortunately, there is nothing left of some settlements except for the name,” he said.