Russia’s Railways Keep Exploding
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A reported explosion closed a vital railway supply route in Russian-occupied Crimea on Wednesday, as Moscow and its regional collaborator authorities struggle with a wave of sabotage attacks. Sergey Aksyonov, the Kremlin-installed head of occupied Crimea, announced via Telegram on Wednesday that a railway line in the peninsula’s Feodosia region “was damaged” in an unspecified incident overnight on Tuesday.

“Train traffic will be restored within two hours,” Aksyonov wrote. “There were no casualties. Services are on site. I ask everyone to remain calm and trust only trusted sources of information.”

The Russian Baza Telegram channel which has more than 900,000 subscribers-reported that “unknown people blew up the railway in the Crimea” near Feodosia. Newsweek has contacted the Russian Foreign Ministry to request comment.

The railway line that runs through Feodosia connects the Kerch Strait Bridge to the rest of Crimea, making the area a vital conduit for supplies coming from the Russian mainland.

If Ukraine’s nascent counteroffensive is able to threaten or sever the “land bridge” connecting Crimea to Russia via occupied southern Ukraine, the Kerch Strait Bridge supply route would be the only non-maritime supply line to Russian forces on the peninsula.

If the incident in Feodosia does prove to be sabotage, it would be the latest in a long list of similar incidents on Russian railway networks since Moscow launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

The attacks associated with the so-called “rail war” in Russian-controlled territory include an explosion targeting a freight train carrying grain in Crimea and the derailment of an empty freight train in Russia’s southern Belgorod region earlier this month. In early May, two sabotage attacks in two days derailed train cars traveling on railways in Belgorod close to the Ukrainian border.

Recent suspected railway sabotage attacks have occurred as Kyiv prepared for-and earlier this month launched-its long-awaited counteroffensive, which was preceded by deep strikes against Russian command positions and logistical hubs.

But such actions have been going on since just after the Russian invasion of Ukraine began in February 2022. A similar campaign took place in Belarus, with anti-government partisans seeking to choke the national rail network that Minsk was using to support Russia’s invasion of its southern neighbor.

Independent Russian outlet The Insider counted 63 train derailments in Russia between February and July 2022, most of which occurred in the western part of the country. Though Russian authorities said these were routine accidents, officials have heightened security around the railways.

Some of the attacks have been claimed by Russian anti-government guerrilla groups, including the Combat Organization of Anarcho-Communists-known as BOAK-and the Stop the Wagons movement.

Observers have also speculated that Ukrainian special forces and intelligence agencies are involved in the ongoing campaign, though Kyiv routinely neither confirms nor denies any hand in strikes inside Russia. Associated arrests have been frequent.

In May, Mediazona reported at least 65 arrests of suspected saboteurs, around a third of whom were younger than 18 at the time of their detention. The crackdown has been equally, if not more, fierce in occupied Ukraine. Two Ukrainian teenagers, for example, face 20-year jail terms for allegedly planning sabotage attacks in the southern Zaporizhzhia region.

Source: With Agencies

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