The situation at the front is becoming increasingly difficult for the Russian occupying forces in Ukraine. According to British intelligence, the Russian military is preparing new defenses for Ukrainian breakthroughs. Two weeks ago, satellite images showed that a fortification almost two kilometers long was being built around the occupied town of Hirske, 70 kilometers west of Luhansk. “Russia is strengthening its lines in all occupied territories,” the statement from London said.

According to the British Ministry of Defence, anti-tank obstacles were set up around the occupied port city of Mariupol in southern Ukraine. Russia is mixing so-called dragon’s teeth, mines, wire and natural obstacles such as rivers and forests to prevent Ukrainian advances, explains Australian military expert Mick Ryan on Twitter.

In Hirske, the obstacles consist of four rows of concrete pyramids, behind which a deep ditch was dug, satellite images show. Russian media are said to have dubbed the barrier “Wagner line” in reference to the Russian mercenary force. Due to its length of only two kilometers, however, the barrier can still be circumvented without any problems, according to “CNN”. But according to Russian media reports, the Wagner Group is to expand its defense even further.

Blockades are part of tactical operations that both Western and Russian militaries resort to again and again. Because “defending behind obstacles is a much easier tactical task than more mobile forms of defense and much, much easier than offensive operations,” said Ryan. This benefits the Russians in three ways.

But such defenses would also take up some resources: they need to be monitored from the air and on the ground, and equipped with fire protection. As Ryan points out, building these barriers required resources that were lacking elsewhere. As the war progressed, the Russians could possibly feel this. How the dragon’s teeth ultimately play out will be revealed in the upcoming battles in winter, Ryan said.