SATELLITE pictures have revealed Vladimir Putin’s desperate dragon’s teeth defences as he prepares for a Ukrainian counteroffensive onslaught.
The archaic fortifications akin to Hitler’s Atlantic Wall were captured by intelligence agency Maxar as Kyiv readies its troops to reclaim its land.
A beach in Crimea is seen dotted with dragon’s teeth[/caption]
Anti-tank ditches have been dug out near Tokmak[/caption]
Defensive lines are seen north of the city, which block off a strategic route to Crimea[/caption]
Circular trenches near Mariupol[/caption]
Pictures showed a beach littered with concrete blocks, regions with defensive lines dug out and major roads lined with anti-tank ditches.
Close up, dragon’s teeth were seen – which are pyramidal anti-tank obstacles used to impede the movement of war machines.
They were first used in World War Two, most notably by the Nazis as they attempted to barricade Europe’s north shore with Hitler’s Atlantic Wall.
However, after years of work and a price tag equivalent to $200billion in today’s money, the fortifications were breached in one morning in 1944.
Nevertheless, a BBC investigation identified key images that indicated Russia was using similar tools ahead of a significant push from Ukraine.
The report claimed that most of the fortifications began construction in October 2022.
A satellite image from March 12 showed Crimea’s 15-mile west coastline dotted with dragon’s teeth.
Behind them a line of trenches dug out by Russian troops were visible as well as several bunkers.
Another bird’s-eye view of the southern city Tokmak, showed the strategic area had been under mass excavation.
The city lies on a key route that Ukrainian forces could use to cut off Crimea from other Russian-held territories.
Another close-up photo appeared to show an anti-tank ditch in the same area.
It is possible to conceal mines in those defensive lines, it was reported.
One image showed a line of anti-tank ditches and trenches that ran alongside a 22-mile highway, west of Tokmak.
The main road is strategically important and connects Russian-held Melitopol to Kharkiv, it was reported.
If Ukrainian troops use this road they could be targeted by Russia’s heavy artillery behind the defences, an expert said.
Lastly, circular trenches near Mariupol were also visible.
The group of images come as Ukrainian troops ready to use their shiny new Western weapons, according to top military experts.
Brave soldiers have been holding the line against Putin’s twisted invasion – enduring for months some of the bloodiest fighting of the war in brutal, close quarters trench warfare-style battles.
But the Ukrainian leadership has been clear, they view this high-attrition fighting as a price worth paying while they ready for their counter offensive.
Behind the frontline, a new wave of troops determined to protect their homeland have been training with Western weapons.
General Hodges told The Sun Online he believes Ukraine will go big – and concentrate their efforts on finally retaking Crimea, which has been in Russian hands since 2014.
He told The Sun Online: “Ukraine could kill every Russian soldier within 200 miles of Bakhmut and it wouldn’t change the strategic situation.”
“The key is winning Crimea – that will be the decisive terrain. Once Crimea is liberated, it’s all over, it changes everything.
“Ukraine knows that it will never be safe without taking back Crimea.”
With Hodges’ extensive military experience, he believes that the offensive will focus on isolating the annexed Crimean peninsula by severing the land bridge from partly-Russian controlled areas in Ukraine’s south.
“It will be aimed at breaking this land bridge and more precision weapons to hit targets and make the peninsula untenable for Russian forces,” he explained.
This onslaught he believes will involve hitting Russia’s air bases, ambitious attacks on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet and targeting logistics and command centres deep into enemy-held territory in Crimea.
“When it makes sense to,” Hodges said that they may “again” blow up the Crimean bridge – Putin’s favourite bridge that was attacked last October.
Ukrainian commanders are presumed to have blown in the £3.2billion Kerch Bridge – a highly symbolic link between Vlad’s mainland and annexed Crimea.
General Hodges claims that the offensive will be concentrated in a narrow area to break through the well-dug in Russian lines.
“I think Ukraine will pick one or two places to focus their attack on a narrow front a few miles wide and penetrate through the fortified frontlines using tanks, mechanised infantry, engineers and artillery.
He continued: “They will use their air force to help cover them and there will be activity in Russian rear area by special forces and partisans to stop them reacting [to the attack].”
When could it happen? “It was never going to be a spring offensive,” he stated.
“They’ve been busy training, practising and carefully protecting information – they’re waiting on the right conditions for traffic ability – waiting on the ground to be able to sustain the attack,” he speculated.
A line of anti-tank ditches run alongside the E105 highway near Tokmak[/caption]
Dragon’s teeth used in World War Two in Germany[/caption]
Defensive lines at a bunker on the Atlantic Wall in 1944[/caption]