Bombed Russian officer in Mariupol
Members of the Mariupol Resistance movement claimed responsibility for a car bomb attack targeting a Russian military officer from Caucasus units, according to photos published on Telegram on 16 December.
The Russian officer is currently hospitalized, according to the partisans.
The partisans said they detonated the car bomb simultaneously with explosions across Mariupol, a city heavily destroyed during a three-month-long Russian siege in 2022. This allowed them to conceal the attack from Russian occupiers and Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) agents until the officer’s hospitalization.
The perpetrators did not specify when the episode occurred. However, explosions were last heard in Mariupol during the previous night.
Later, former Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar wrote that a rear army-level command center, fuel warehouses, and parking for military vehicles and transport were destroyed at one of Mariupol’s facilities.
Bombed train in Melitopol
One day earlier, on 15 December, the resistance movement delivered a successful sabotage operation in nearby Melitopol, a crucial rail hub. It blew up a freight train that had been daily transporting ammunition and fuel from Crimea to Melitopol and Dniprorudne, Ukraine’s National Resistance Center reported.
This deals a blow to Russia’s occupation forces in south Ukraine, which are dependent on railway transport.
On its return route to Crimea, this train was exporting ore, grain, and damaged equipment from temporarily occupied territories, in what is likely part of Russia’s grain theft scheme that legal experts say may be a war crime.
“However, thanks to the underground heroes, the train has permanently ended its journey,” the Resistance Center noted.
The explosion, which took place at 8AM, damaged the railway and a diesel locomotive with wagons “right under the noses of Russian FSB agents,” as per the Resistance Center, which note that this is the 11th Ukrainian railway sabotage operation in 2023. The last explosion took place in October 2023.
“Blitz” of partisan attacks
Two such operations in the span of only two days is a lot for Ukrainian partisan operations. According to guerilla insider and former partisan Volodymyr Zhemchuhov, at the height of Ukraine’s operations in the summer of 2022, traitors were killed each week in occupied territories. After that, Russian repressions and crackdowns Chechnya-style dealt a blow to the Ukrainian underground, with sabotage and assassination operations dwindling down.
Currently, a huge number of the Ukrainian resistance movement is jailed: over 1,000 partisans only in the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia oblasts, and 4,000 underground members who stuck up leaflets and conducted other acts of resistance.
Read more about the Ukrainian underground in our feature: Missile strikes and spraypaint: how Ukraine’s resistance movement fights Russian occupation