Ghost (24), pseudonym of the 58th Independent Motorized Infantry Brigade of the Ukrainian Army, captures a drone while testing it for use near Bakhmut, Ukraine, November 25, 2022. Photo/REUTERS/Leah Millis
KIEV – Reconnaissance drones fly several times a day from Ukrainian positions deep in the dense jungle marching across the border to Belarus, Russia’s key ally.
The drone then scoured the sky and land for signs of trouble on the other side of the border.
Ukrainian units are monitoring the 1,000 kilometer border of swamps and forests for a possible surprise attack from the north.
Ukraine appears wary of a repeat of Russia’s failed attack on Kiev at the start of the war nearly a year ago.
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This time Ukraine took no chances. Since the summer they have strengthened their defences, building and widening trenches and laying mines in the forest ahead of a spring offensive expected by military officials.
Villagers in the area temporarily occupied last year are horrified by the prospect of renewed fighting.
“We listen to every little sound and noise. This is not a way of life,” said Valentina Matveva, 64, from the village of Ripke. “When you are constantly in fear, that is not life,” he said.
Fears of a new military push were stirred in January after Russia and Belarus held joint air force exercises, one month after a rare visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to Minsk.
Western military and intelligence experts are playing down the possibility of a new attack from the north.
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