The GuardianThe Guardian

‘The big battle is coming’: Ukrainian forces prepare for the war’s most intense phase

By Julian Borger

27 Jan 2023 · 10 min read

Editor's Note

The Guardian has a vivid, on-the-ground report from the frontline in eastern Ukraine as both sides dig in for what could well be the heaviest phase of fighting of the war so far.

In the clear sky over the winter-yellowed marsh grasses on the outskirts of the town of Huliaipole, the bang and crump of artillery picked up pace like the thunderclaps of a distant but approaching storm.

The Russian armed forces declared on Sunday that they had launched a new offensive in Zaporizhzhia region, but the Ukrainian soldiers seemed unperturbed. The frontline here has not moved for 10 months, and the Russians are hunkered in their trenches, which run across the rolling hills of black-soil farmland. They are not going anywhere soon, the soldiers said.

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