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Russia on Friday continued to bombard Ukraine from the skies as its forces remain stalled on the ground in what U.K. defense officials have said is down to antiquated World War II tactics. 

According to satellite imagery Russian forces are constructing “extensive defensive positions” along the front lines, particularly in the northern Luhansk region near the city of Svatove which Russian forces are reportedly “prioritizing.”

“Russian constructions follow traditional military plans for entrenchment,” the U.K. defense ministry assessed in its daily update, noting that Russian tactics are “largely unchanged since the Second World War.”

FILE - A Ukrainian soldier fires a mortar at Russian positions in Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022.  

FILE – A Ukrainian soldier fires a mortar at Russian positions in Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022.  
(AP Photo/Libkos, File)

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Defense officials pointed out that these dated practices will likely mean Russia’s ground defenses – which have gained little traction in months and lost two significant cities to Ukrainian forces – are “vulnerable to modern, precision indirect strikes.”

“The construction of major defensive lines is further illustration of Russia’s reversion to positional warfare that has been largely abandoned by most modern Western militaries in recent decades,” the assessment added. 

Russia in the early hours of Friday morning launched one of the largest missile strikes across Ukraine since the war began after it levied 76 missiles across the country, 60 of which were successfully downed by Ukrainian air defenses.

Ukrainian soldiers fire an artillery at Russian positions near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022. 

Ukrainian soldiers fire an artillery at Russian positions near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022. 
(AP Photo/LIBKOS)

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Cruise missiles were launched from the Black Sea, Caspian Sea and the Engels Air Base, located over 370 miles inside Russian territory and the site of a drone strike earlier this month, which Moscow has blamed on Kyiv. 

 Ukraine’s Air Force said it also saw shelling from Belarus as well as “long-range radar detection aircraft and the MiG-31K fighter jet carrying the ‘Kinzhal’ missiles” deployed from the Russian ally.

Ukrainian soldiers fire artillery at Russian positions near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, on Nov. 20, 2022. 

Ukrainian soldiers fire artillery at Russian positions near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, on Nov. 20, 2022. 
(AP Photo/LIBKOS)

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Despite the UK assessment that Russia is relying on antiquated practices on the front lines, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters Friday that Russian President Vladimir Putin is still employing “maximalist goals” through his constant air campaigns. 

“On every single front you see a guy that is determined to continue to prosecute this war against Ukraine and more specifically, these days, the Ukrainian civilian population,” he said.

Ukraine has repeatedly called on its Western allies to help it close the skies and stop Russia’s aerial campaign. 


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