"Great Wall of Ukraine': Russian border fortification less than 10% built

Officials say mammoth task underway despite lack of control of frontier in Donetsk region

It's a project dubbed the uatoday.tv/politics/great-wall-of-ukraine-fortification-alon- a defensive structure along the Russian border. Its purpose is not only to thwart any military advance from neighboring forces– but also a symbol of the new divide between Moscow and the European mainland.

Some 180 kilometers of anti-tank ditches have been dug, officials say. On top of this, 40km of barbed wire and 500 fortification obstacles have also been erected. Over the next three years, the project is earmarked to cost more than four billion Ukrainian hryvnia, currently equivalent to about USD 180 million.

Watch also uatoday.tv/politics/building-work-continues-on-great-wall-of

Some activists have criticized the project. They argue that with uatoday.tv/news/ukraine-has-lost-control-of-more-than-400km- in eastern Ukraine, the fortification serves little purpose. Despite this officials say the plan remains on track.

Viktor Nazarenko, Ukrainian border guard service head: "This year, we are mainly concentrating our work on creating engineering structures. Next year, we will strengthen protections, through the creation of smaller elements and the introduction of technical security and in the third year, security measures using combat elements will also be completed."

Ukrainian officials say the wall will also improve the business climate and bring Ukraine closer to NATO membership and EU integration.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian uatoday.tv/politics/ukraine-pm-pledges-to-build-wall-on-russ has previously claimed the fortifications would further reassure Ukraine's European partners that it is in full control of its borders.