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Railway partisans: Crimea’s rail connection with mainland occupied Ukraine targeted in string of attacks

yakymivka partisans Russian trains
Smoke billows over the site of an explosion of a major railway line connecting Russian occupying troops in mainland Ukraine with occupied Crimea. Screenshots from video
Railway partisans: Crimea’s rail connection with mainland occupied Ukraine targeted in string of attacks

Over 10-12 June, four presumably partisan rail attacks took place in Russian or Russian-occupied territories. One of them destroyed one of two railways that Russia uses to connect Crimea with its troops in occupied mainland Ukraine.

10 June, around 22:00: Russian propaganda outlets claimed that a train derailed in Belgorod Oblast due to an attack by two unmanned drones. The cargo train was headed for an enterprise between Khlevishche and Biryuch in Belgorod Oblast, where Russian anti-Putin fighters are still engaged in warfare.

Belgorod Oblast governor Viacheslav Gladkov said that 15 cargo cars were derailed. Monday, the Russian TG channel Mash reported that the cars were derailed due to the detonation of explosions with a yield of two to five kilograms of TNT equivalent. The train driver initially told the Russian TG channel Baza that his train was targeted by kamikaze drones, but this version was not confirmed.  The kamikaze drone version was also voiced by the TG channel Shot, which shared claimed photos of the incident that it said took place near Alekseyevka.

Rospartizan, a Russian TG channel documenting partisan activities, stated that although the cars were full, they were heading to pick up a cargo at one of the industrial sites of the cities and now will be unable to do so.

Derailed train cars near Alekseyevka, Belgorod Oblast. Photos: TG channel Shot

11 June, 16:00, Kirovskyi raion, occupied Crimea: unknowns blow up the railroad track in front of a freight train.

According to the Baza TG channel, the locomotive driver saw the blast and managed to press on the emergency brakes. The blast wave shattered the windows in the cab. The Russian-appointed chief of occupied Crimea Sergey Aksyonov mentioned the accident, but did not specify the causes. Train traffic was suspended and later resumed. The Russian-controlled Crimea news reported that the freight locomotive was damaged, and two workers were damaged by shrapnel.

11 June, around 13:00, Yakymivka, occupied Zaporizhzhia Oblast. The explosion rendered unusable one of Russia’s two railway lines from Crimea to mainland occupied Ukraine. The other one, which goes to occupied Kherson, is hardly usable either at the moment, due to the aftermath of the flood caused by Russia blowing up the Kakhovka dam.

The derailment was reportedly conducted by partisans of occupied Melitopol, according to a Ukrainian officer who goes by Anatoliy Shtirlits in Telegram. A railway bridge which acted as a logistics artery, transporting Russian weapons and military equipment from occupied Crimea to occupied Zaporizhzhia Oblast, was blown up, he said.

This strategically important bridge was previously blown up in April 2022, but Russians managed to repair it later on.

12 June, around 00:00, Melitopol, occupied Zaporizhzhia Oblast. An explosion targeted a diesel locomotive that the Russians used to transport fuel to the frontline inside a depot, Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov wrote on Telegram. According to him, this is the second diesel locomotive in the last two months destroyed by the partisans.

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