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President Volodymyr Zelensky inspects fortifications in Chernihiv Oblast during his visit on April 5, 2024. (Presidential Office)
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President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Chernihiv Oblast bordering Russia and Belarus to meet with local officials and inspect the construction of fortifications, the Presidential Office reported on April 5.

The Ukrainian authorities have faced criticism for slow progress on fortifying defensive lines amid concerns about Russia's potential new major offensive. A working group was established in November to coordinate fortification efforts.

Zelensky announced in March 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."

In Chernihiv Oblast, Zelensky was briefed on the progress of the construction of three defense lines, according to the Presidential Office.

Regional authorities told Zelensky that a strip of non-explosive barriers, mine barriers, and an extensive network of strongholds had been created along the entire border between Russia and Belarus.

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.

The president also held a meeting on the security and socio-economic situation in Chernihiv Oblast, part of which was occupied by Russian troops from February to April 2022.

Even after the liberation, Russia has continued to strike border settlements in Chernihiv Oblast daily, causing civilian casualties and large-scale destruction of homes and infrastructure.

In 2023, Russian forces fired 15,000 projectiles at border villages and towns in the region, which are inhabited by around 15,000 people, according to Chernihiv Oblast Governor Viacheslav Chaus.

Zelensky said after meeting local officials that the demining of agricultural lands in Chernihiv Oblast will be sped up, and the Ukrainian government will allocate Hr 1,2 billion (around $31 million) to the region's economic development.

The president also awarded soldiers and civilians who participated in the defense and liberation of Chernihiv Oblast exactly two years ago.

Ukrainian soldiers near Kupiansk prepare for potential Russian offensive
Editor’s note: The Kyiv Independent is not disclosing the full names of soldiers due to what they cited as security concerns and their unit’s protocol amid the war in Ukraine. KHARKIV OBLAST — As Russia rolls past now-occupied Avdiivka further west, other parts of the front have seen quieter days.…
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