Russia’s infamous ‘dragon’s teeth’ defenses are a joke and were easily overcome, says

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  • A Ukrainian military official said Russia’s defensive lines have weak points. 
  • Russia constructed defensive lines known as “dragon’s teeth” to protect its positions. 
  • In recent days, Ukraine has made some progress in its bid to breach them. 

Russia’s infamous “dragon’s teeth” defenses were mocked by a Ukrainian former commander, who claimed they were easily breached by Ukraine’s tanks. 

The concrete pyramids, which stand about four feet tall, are meant to block and damage Ukrainian tanks and other armored vehicles.

Yevhen Dykyi, a former company commander of the Aidar Battalion, told Voice of Ukraine how Ukrainian forces had managed to breach Russia’s first line of defense as part of a recent advance near Tomak, in Zaporizhzhya oblast, south Ukraine. 

He said the “dragon’s teeth” defenses, in particular, had been easy to overcome. “We have now reached the second line. And it includes the following,” he said, according to a translation by Voice of Ukraine. 

“To begin with the amusing, it includes the so-called dragon’s teeth. I think everyone has already seen photos or videos [of those]. These are white concrete pyramids that, in the Russian imagination, were supposed to stop our tanks, somehow.”

Ukraine’s Security Service shared photos of the Russian fortifications exclusively with CNN this month, offering an insight into the network of defenses that had curtailed Ukraine’s ambitions.

“Why these pyramids were built, to be honest, is a mystery to me,” said Dykyi. “The only rational explanation is that someone simply gobbled up the budget. Because there is absolutely no use from them as they don’t stop tanks,” he said. 

“If you remember, maybe several years ago it was fashionable to put so-called energy pyramids on the tables, which were supposed to protect against negative energies. The use of these concrete pyramids is exactly the same.”

Maxar satellite imagery showing a Russian fortifications, including dragon's teeth and trenches, along a coastline.

Maxar satellite imagery shows Russian “dragon’s teeth” defenses and trenches along the beach just west of Yevpatoria, Crimea in March.

Maxar Technologies



In the interview, Dyki also described the challenge faced by Ukrainian forces in breaking through Russia’s three defensive lines. 

“It was very powerful,” he said of Russia’s first line of defense. “First of all, it included the largest minefield in general, perhaps in European history,” he said, describing the densely packed minefields in front of Russia’s defensive lines. 

He described how Ukrainian forces then encountered “a dotted line of so-called strongholds was further behind this minefield.”

He said that Russia’s second defensive lines of trenches and concrete bunkers were protected by “dozens of separate minefields with passages between them” to enable Russian troops to move, which could be exploited by Ukrainian forces. 

However, the third line did not present a formidable obstacle as it was mainly designed for resupplying the first two lines. “They (Russians) won’t be able to hold it,” he said.

This week Russian forces broke through the first line of Russia’s defences, liberating the village of Robotyne, near Zaporizhzhya. They are seeking to break through Russia’s second defensive line and retake Tomak as part of their drive toward the occupied city of Melitopol. 

Dyki said that Russia realized that holding Tomak was vital if it was to stop Ukrainian forces from pushing on to the Sea of Azov and isolating the occupied Crimean peninsula. 

“There are some grounds for cautious optimism,” he said. 

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