UKRAINE, May 22 — Ukrainian parliament, Verkhovna Rada, voted to establish a temporary special commission to research the construction of fortifications and engineering barriers on the frontline, and allocation of funds for fortifications. 

MP Yaroslav Zhelezniak said the Verkhovna Rada voted for corresponding draft law No. 11282 in the first reading. This commission will work for a year and must submit a report to the parliament within six months. 

A conversation about lacking fortifications along the frontline in Ukrainian society started after the Armed Forces withdrew from Avdiivka on February 17, and reports about soldiers having to dig trenches under Russian fire started to come in. With the beginning of the Russian new ground offensive on May 10, the Kharkiv Oblast government was criticized for insufficient fortifications near the state border. 

On May 3, the Ministry of Defense announced that the construction of the fortification is “nearing completion” in five directions, including in Kharkiv Oblast. Kharkiv Oblast Governor Oleh Syniehubov said that fortifications were constructed in Vovchansk, Kupiansk, and Luhansk directions, noting that the construction work continues. 

The head of the Vovchansk military administration, Tamaz Hambarashvili, said that the fortifications had been built before the current offensive, but perhaps “not so tightly” because of Vovchansk’s proximity [~3 miles — ed.] to the state’s border. 

Field report: Threat of reoccupation looms over Vovchansk as Russia launches new offensive on Kharkiv region. Gwara Media joined the evacuation mission on May 11 to talk to people who were leaving Vovchansk in the wake of the Russian assault on the city.  

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