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Ukrainian drones targeted Russian railway infrastructure in Kursk and Oryol Regions

The coordinated high-precision strike destroyed at least four substations simultaneously on 2 May. The attacks delay Russian logistics and, if systematic, will force Russians to use only diesel locomotives.
The location of the railway traction substations attacked in Russia on 2 May 2024, according to the Oko Hora group.
Ukrainian drones targeted Russian railway infrastructure in Kursk and Oryol Regions

In a significant development, Ukrainian long-range drones have expanded their targets within the Russian Federation, focusing on railway infrastructure, which serves as the primary means of Russian military logistics. In addition to oil refineries and military facilities, traction substations near railway stations in the Kursk and Oryol regions have become priority targets for Ukrainian drones.

According to a Russian Telegram channel Baza, on the night of 1 to 2 May 2024, around 11 pm local time, drones attacked traction substations located near the Ponyri and Svoboda stations in the Kursk region. Just 15 minutes later, drones targeted traction substations and transformer substations on the Zmeyevka-Glazunovka section in the Oryol region.

The attacks resulted in emergency power outages at the Zmeyevka and Glazunovka stations, delaying two trains traveling from Moscow to Belgorod and Lgov. No casualties were reported.

The targeted substations are situated along the main Moscow-Oryol-Belgorod railway line, which is used for transporting military ammunition. Strikes on railway electrical substations would significantly complicate Russian military logistics and create a map of the occupiers’ railway logistics.

Railway transformer substations on Russian territory are relatively easy targets, the destruction of which will bring a tangible effect. Russia uses electric traction on the railway to supply the front. Therefore, disabling transformers will cause delays and force the enemy to switch to diesel locomotives, seriously complicating logistics,” the Defense Express analysts noted.

Meet “Liutyi,” Ukraine’s homegrown drone behind strikes on Russian oil refineries

OSINT researchers from the “Oko Gora” community emphasize that the Ukrainian drones targeted a lateral railway line crucial for enemy troops in the mentioned regions. The use of strike UAVs to hit enemy railways is considered even more interesting and unexpected than the attacks on Russian oil refineries. Traction or transformer substations on railways are even more compact targets than, for example, a primary oil refining unit at any Russian refinery. Consequently, striking these elements of railway infrastructure requires even higher precision.

Тягова підстанція на російській залізниці, фото ілюстративне
A Russian railway traction substation. Illustrative photo.

It is essential to understand the importance of traction and transformer stations for railway traffic and why they were chosen as targets instead of simply bombing track sections. The logic behind the operation of Soviet railways is that if a particular section of the track is damaged, it can be replaced within a few hours, and traffic can be restoredHowever, if the power supply and signaling systems, which require traction and transformer stations, are knocked out, it leads to a more prolonged paralysis of traffic, achieved with much less effort from the Ukrainian Defense Forces. On Russian railways, substations must be located at intervals of no more than 15-50 kilometers apart, meaning that Russian will not be able to physically cover such a quantity of sensitive infrastructure with their air defense systems.

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