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This photograph taken on Jan. 28, 2024, shows the "dragon's teeth" fortifications that were installed in recent months by the Ukrainian army on the Kupiansk front. (Roman Pilipey /AFP via Getty Images)
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Ukraine will allocate an additional Hr 5.6 billion ($144 million) to fortify Donetsk, Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Mykolaiv, and Sumy oblasts, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal announced on April 2.

The Ukrainian authorities have faced criticism for slow progress on fortifying defensive lines. A working group was established in November to coordinate fortification efforts.

In March, President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that Ukraine was building 2,000 kilometers of fortifications across three lines of defense, adding that the "task is massive, but the pace is good."

The Ukrainian government has already allocated Hr 20 billion ($512 million) for building fortifications in 2024, according to Shmyhal.

The biggest chunk of the recently allocated sum, Hr 1.5 billion (38 million) will be spent in northeastern Sumy Oblast, Hr 1.1 billion ($28 million) in eastern Donetsk Oblast, Hr 1 billion ($25 million) in southeastern Zaporizhzhia Oblast, Hr 400 million ($10 million) in southern Kherson Oblast, and Hr 300 million ($7.7 million) in southern Mykolaiv Oblast.

"The work continues 24/7. All of these are needed to strengthen our defense and protect our soldiers," Shmyhal wrote on his Telegram channel.

Earlier, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported that Ukrainian troops are building fortifications in expectation of a Russian offensive in the spring, though there are concerns that the progress is not fast enough.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview with CBS News that a new major Russian offensive may come at the end of May or in June.

Ukraine finally moves to fortify front line, but could it be too little too late?
“If you want to live, dig.” The words, often spoken by Ukrainian troops, are universal advice for trench warfare in general, but especially for both sides in Russia’s war against Ukraine. Normally expressed as advice to the individual soldier, the maxim now applies to the country as a whole.

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