In the positional war in Ukraine’s eastern region of the Donbas, where enemy trenches are often only 100 meters away from each other, snipers have a target-rich environment and play a critical tactical role. As elsewhere, snipers in the Donbas war proved to be an effective force multiplier on the battlefield, able to precisely strike long-range enemy targets, conduct indispensable reconnaissance of enemy movements and positions, as well as demoralize enemy troops.
Ukrainian military casualties from sniper attacks have been on the rise for months. According to estimates, about a third of Ukrainian soldiers fall to enemy sniper fire. Ukrainian military intelligence and volunteers have been tracing the presence of both Russian professional snipers and their proxies (Tyzhden.ua, July 25, 2019). The latter are trained in Russian military camps to defend the militants’ forward line and play a propaganda role to deflect attention from the presence of Russian professional snipers in the rear (Milnavigator, July 21, 2019).