February 1, 2023

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Ukraine’s army receives help from an unexpected source: beavers build dams that make the ground wet and impassable | Ukraine and Russia war

Kyiv is preparing for a possible Russian attack from Belarus. But the border area is difficult to reach due to swampy conditions and surprising allies play an important role in this. Ukraine credits local beavers for inadvertently strengthening its defenses.

Ukrainian officials have warned that Russia may launch an offensive into Ukraine’s Volyn border region via Belarus. But local Ukrainian forces are currently reasonably confident that conditions on the ground would make a successful Russian offensive nearly impossible in the short term.

The landscape features flooded fields, thick mud, and treacherous swamps. Soldiers and officers from the local unit told Reuters how the unusually mild winter gave them a significant tactical advantage.

The frontier lands consist of dense forests, flooded fields, thick mud, and treacherous swamps. © Reuters

“In your area, everything helps you defend it – landscapes and many rivers that have overflowed this year,” says Victor Rocon, one of the brigade’s deputy commanders. The fields and trees around him immersed in cold water.

But Serhiy Khominsky, the brigade’s spokesman, praised the locals for the beaver, who he said had not bothered more than in previous years. Beavers are known as master builders, and they use tree limbs and mud to build dams that protect them from predators.

A Ukrainian soldier defends his positions in the Volyn border region.

A Ukrainian soldier defends his positions in the Volyn border region. © Reuters

Rodents aided their constructions to make the site impassable. “When beavers build their dams, people usually destroy them, but this year they didn’t because of the war, so now there is water everywhere,” Khominsky explains.

Military analyst Konrad Muzyka told Reuters that Volyn would be a “terrible place to launch an offensive operation”. “There are too many streams and too few roads,” he says. “This makes it easier for Ukrainian forces to direct Russian troop movements to specific areas where artillery fire will be fired at them.”

Currently between 10,000 and 15,000 Russian soldiers are stationed in Belarus and train regularly alongside the Belarusian Armed Forces. New joint exercises also started on Monday, which, according to observers, could lead to a new offensive.

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