Tanks and trenches to defend Ukraine from Russia
Governor in Eastern Ukraine announces funds to construct trenches and other defences to show Russia that an incursion would be resisted
By Damien McElroy
17 Mar 2014
Ukraine despatched tanks into the rolling terrain of the Donbas basin on Monday, putting its biggest guns back on the scene of the biggest armoured clash in history.
It was in this bleak but fertile landscape along what is now Ukraine’s border with Russia that the Red Army routed Nazi Panzers to turn the course of the Second World War.
But as Ukraine’s dilapidated tank units moved to muddy berms in the fields south of Donetsk city as part of face-saving mobilisation, the guns of T-64 and T-72 models were this time pointed towards Russia.
In responding to a reported Russian military build-up, however, Ukraine’s military immediately ran into groups of activists who tried to obstruct their movements. In the village of Elenvola on the edge of the great plain, there was anger at the manoeuvres from their own countrymen.
“Russians and Ukrainians don’t want to fight each other,” said Ivan Inozemev, a prison warder. “We would be happy to be part of Russia if that’s what happens.”