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Parliament votes to create temporary commission for fortifications

by Martin Fornusek and The Kyiv Independent news desk May 22, 2024 1:04 PM 2 min read
The second line of fortifications is under construction along the border with Russia in Kharkiv region, Ukraine on March 12, 2024. (Vyacheslav Madiyevskyy / Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
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Ukraine's parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, voted on May 22 to create a special temporary commission on fortifications, lawmaker Oleksii Honcharenko said.

The authorities have long been criticized for slow progress in building up fortifications along the front lines as a renewed Russian offensive loomed. The criticism only grew stronger after Russian forces broke into the northern part of Kharkiv Oblast earlier in May.

The proposal to create the special commission was backed by 277 lawmakers.

"We will not allow anybody to forget about the fortifications. This initiative is very important," Honcharenko said on Telegram.

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."

Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said in April that the government has already allocated almost Hr 38 billion (around $950 million) to fortifications in 2024.

After Russian forces managed to quickly cross the border in Kharkiv Oblast on May 10, the regional authorities were lambasted over the lack of effective defenses in what was lauded as the most fortified oblast.

Tamaz Gambarashvili, the military administration head of the Vochansk border town that became a focal point of this new offensive, said the construction there was difficult due to the vicinity of the Russian border and constant shelling.

Construction of fortifications around Vovchansk was ‘difficult,’ official says
The construction of fortifications around the border town of Vovchansk in Kharkiv Oblast was “difficult” due to constant Russian shelling, Tamaz Gambarashvili, the head of Vovchansk City Military Administration, told Radio Svoboda on May 13.
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