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Smart Bombs: Military, Defense and National Security

Ukraine’s Military Is Going ‘Underground’ to Fight Russia

Ukraine Russia
Ukrainian tank firing. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

See How Ukraine Is Preparing Soldiers for the Winter: As Ukrainian civilians brace for a brutal winter without full access to electricity, the Ukrainian military is creating a network of underground fortified positions designed to keep soldiers safe – and warm – as they continue fighting through the colder months.

Ukraine Going Underground

In a report from the Ukrainian Military Center, photographs of underground metal modules reveal how engineering units of the Armed Forces are working around the clock to ensure soldiers can remain safe.

“Engineering crews are actively working on a reliable, competent arrangement of fortified positions,” the report reveals, citing ArmyInform.

The modules are made of corrugated metal and are installed into trenches dug more than 10’ into the ground. Trenches are prepared before the modules arrive, in an effort to evade Russian strikes designed to stop the units from being installed. Soldiers dig the trenches by hand, and the pre-prepared modules are disguised as they are brought onto the battlefield and installed into the trenches.

Each module can accommodate up to 6 servicemen, and they are designed to provide as much comfort as possible. With that in mind, the modules feature a bed for each soldier, as well as a stove for heating and cooking.

Once the modules are lowered into the ground they are covered in “several layers of earth, between which there is a wooden beam.” The earth and the wooden beam mean that soldiers are afforded some level of protection in the event of a Russian drone or missile strike.

Russian Soldiers Endure Rough Living Conditions

The simple design of these structures not only allows soldiers to quickly install them but also underlies the difference between Ukrainian and Russian strategy on the battlefield. While Ukraine is working to ensure that soldiers can sleep, eat, and stay warm, videos shared on social media in recent weeks show how Russian soldiers are struggling to keep warm in improperly-constructed tents on the battlefield and even in Russian territory close to the Ukrainian border.

Following the first snowfall of the year, videos shared on Twitter showed Russian soldiers setting up hammock tents between trees, attempting to light fires with damp wood on a bed of snow, and huddling to keep warm. Some soldiers even created makeshift tents using cellophane. Inside the makeshift tents were bottles of water and no ground sheets.

In another clip, Russian tents appear frozen on the inside and out, and one soldier can be heard complaining about the conditions.

“Everything is broken, it stinks of urine, there are no stoves at all, it’s minus 25 outside,” the soldier appears to say. The videos have not been independently verified by 19FortyFive.

Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor. 

Written By

Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive's Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.