Russia has recently started extending defensive positions along its international border with Ukraine, and deep inside its Belgorod Region.
Such measures may be aimed at inciting patriotic feelings amid the threat of an "offensive" and a real belief that Ukrainians will decide to attack.
On 6 December 2022, the governor of Belgorod announced he was establishing local ‘self-defence units’, the UK Ministry of Defence said in a report published on Twitter. Trench digging has been reported in the region since at least April 2022, but the new constructions are probably more elaborate systems, designed to rebuff mechanised assault.
“There is a realistic possibility that the Russian authorities are promoting defensive preparations within internationally recognised Russian territory to burnish patriotic feeling,” the ministry believes.
According to the Russian report, the so-called self-defence of Belgorod Region will recruit those who for health or other reasons cannot be mobilised.
In October, the region began to build anti-tank fortifications.