TYKHONOVYCHI, Ukraine — The deep trenches and scattered observation posts that marked Ukraine’s northern border with Russia were no match for the columns of tanks that rolled across on Feb. 24. Now, having beaten the Russians back to their side — over weeks of battle and at great cost — the border guards of Ukraine’s Chernihiv region are watching warily as their adversaries again mass troops and equipment.
The war is different from elsewhere in the country, where Russian troops are firmly ensconced in Ukrainian territory. This is a cross-border war. Russian tanks lob shells at Ukrainian villages. Bullets fly across a tense no man’s land in sporadic gunfights.
“The border will never be the same,” said Serhiy Khomenko, 30, commander of a unit patrolling the border near the village where he grew up. “If before there was just a tank moat, now the whole thing will be mined.”