The Russians Destroyed Their Villages. Now They Rebuild.

A double line of concrete pyramids snakes its way across undulating farmland outside the city of Kherson. Anti-tank fortifications known as dragon’s teeth, the pyramids are a sign of the new defenses Ukraine is building in the south against an anticipated Russian offensive.

In a village nearby, residents were focused on a more immediate task: collecting donations of building supplies.

The people of the Kherson region have been slowly rebuilding their homes and livelihoods since a Ukrainian counteroffensive forced Russian troops out of the area west of the Dnipro River 18 months ago and ended a brutal occupation.

Many have fixed their roofs, windows and doors, yet as they start to plant crops and tend their vegetable gardens, they are bracing for another Russian attack.

“Anything is possible,” said Oksana, who paused from weeding the flower bed in front of her home. Like most people interviewed for this article, she gave only her first name for fear of Russian reprisal. “There is talk of a big attack in May to June. We are reading they will take back Kherson.”

Her two sons joined the army after the Russians were forced out, and were complaining they were short of weapons, she said. “It’s very hard,” she said of the situation at the front.

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