Russia installed trench ceilings in Ukraine to hide troop movements

New photos emerging from Ukrainian sources reveal significant structural modifications to Russian trenches in Ukraine. These changes, characterized by the inclusion of frames and actual ceilings in the trenches, aim to guard against the prying eyes of Ukraine’s FPV drones. 

Trenches of the Russian army are covered with frames and ceilings
Photo credit: Telegram

However, don’t be fooled. The intentions behind these trench innovations differ substantially from the common aircraft enhancements, such as tires on fuselages or armor’s cope cages. In fact, this basic design is not meant to dissipate the accumulated energy of an FPV drone upon impact. 

The primary goal of these additional bars and roofs in the trenches is more strategic in nature. They serve as a visual shield against Ukrainian drone operators, effectively concealing the movement of Russian troops within the trenches. By doing so, they aim to disrupt targeted drone strikes, offering a layer of tactical protection.

Materials

Various sources suggest that the Russian military has a range of materials at its disposal for trench coverage. It appears the roof constructions typically involve quick-assembly metal profiles for a sturdy framework. 

On a parallel note, Russia seems to have a substantial supply of this material and employs it in substantial quantities. In fact, just a month ago, it was reported that the Russian military initiated the setup of quick-assembly metal structures. Specifically, these structures were envisioned as hangars, crafted to provide anti-drone safeguarding for Russian military aircraft against potential Ukrainian assaults. Therefore, there’s little doubt concerning material availability. 

Trenches of the Russian army are covered with frames and ceilings
Photo credit: Telegram

That said, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the trench roof frames were sometimes crafted using materials readily available on-site. However, given the consistent appearance of the structures across various trenches, it seems more likely that pre-fabricated designs were commonly used. The roofs themselves seem to be crafted from a mix of different materials. These range from ready-to-use panels, leftover armored vehicle skins, canvas or tarpaulin coverings, to wooden skins and more, as seen in various photographs.

Russian trenches in Ukraine

Recent photographs from Ukrainian sources appear to reveal freshly dug trenches, signifying changes on the front line. However, it’s worth noting that Russia’s commitment to trench digging has been ongoing since the previous year. 

In the early days of 2023, the Sentinel-2 satellite captured snapshots of a mammoth, 70-kilometer trench, evidently the handiwork of the Russian army. This trench, located in the Zaporizhia region, became the talk of the town on the popular Telegram social channel as well as various Ukrainian media outlets. According to the Focus.ua website, this news was disseminated by the Ukrainian Center for Journalistic Research. 

Workers dug a 70 km mega trench for the Russian army in Zaporozhye
Photo credit: Telegram

Reports suggest that the workforce behind the ambitious Russian trench comprised individuals from Central Asia. In the opinion of analysts, the project commenced as early as September of the preceding year. The trench was dug from both ends, meeting in the middle around October. By the 18th of October, all reports connected to Focus.ua confirmed that all the required excavation work was duly completed. 

The Zaporizhzhia region in Ukraine stretches out 205 kilometers from east to west. Hence, the 70-kilometer trench is approximately one-third the length of this region. BulgarianMilitary.com conducted an inquiry and uncovered that in 2022, a group of Asian workers were digging in this very area for a gas pipeline project. However, there currently exists no evidence or data hinting at the possibility of the same workers being involved in both tasks.

Older Russian trenches

Kremlin seeks $90/day workers to build construct trenches in Crimea
Photo credit: Twitter

Last year, trenches were spotted being dug around Crimea, as initially revealed by BulgarianMilitary.com in a March publication. Surprisingly, the individuals performing this daunting task were not locals but hired hands from Central Asia, whose daily wages sparked quite a discussion. 

Reports circulating in Russian media documented their pay scale, which fluctuated widely, ranging from a modest $26 to a hefty $90 per day. This caught the public’s attention, putting a spotlight on the ongoing trench work. 

Meanwhile, photographic evidence released during that period confirmed that construction was indeed underway. These pictures depicted not just trenches but also overhanging scaffolding. Consequently, the recent images shared by Ukrainian sources suggesting new developments in the Russian trenches may indeed indicate that these structures have been freshly excavated.

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