Wagner group: Russian mercenaries build anti-tank fortress, satellite images show




CNN

A fortress almost two kilometers long has been built outside the Russian-occupied town of Hirske in eastern Ukraine, new satellite images from Maxar Technologies show.

The fortress consists of four rows of cement pyramids, which the Russians hope will stop Ukrainian vehicles and tanks from moving east. A large trench is behind the anti-tank fortifications.

Additional satellite images from the European Space Agency show that the digging of the trench was carried out in two parts: the first part of the trench began to be dug on September 25; the second part of the trench was dug between September 30 and October 5.

Two Russian media outlets have reported from the fortress, referring to the Russian mercenary Wagner Group, which they have dubbed the “Wagner Line.” Zvedza TV, the Russian military media outlet, said it was a “second line of defense” if the Ukrainians tried to enter the area.

While the fortifications may help defend against a frontal attack, there is nothing to prevent Ukrainian forces from moving around the fortifications, which stretch more than 1.6 kilometers or a mile.

RIA/FAN A Russian tabloid published a map on Wednesday saying the Wagner group would continue to build its “line” from the Russian-Ukrainian border east to Kreminna and south to Svitlodarsk.

A CNN map analysis showed that a fort that long would stretch about 217 km, or 135 miles.

An image taken by Russian newspaper RIA/FAN shows two rows of anti-tank pyramids sitting in a field outside Russian-occupied Hirsk, Ukraine.

Wagner Group established four rows of anti-tank pyramids, hoping to stop any potential Ukrainian military advance.

Additional satellite images reviewed by CNN showed no other construction along the supposed “Wagner Line.”

It is not the first time that the Wagner Group has used trenches to strengthen its positions. In 2021, the mercenary group built about 40 miles, more than 70 km, of trenches across the Libyan desert to stop ground attacks on local positions.