Russia’s railways are critical to securing the invasion of Ukraine, but with more than 20,000 miles of track, the system is vulnerable to attacks by citizens opposed to the war. And that’s exactly what seems to be happening.

The governor of Russia’s Belgorod region said on Monday that an explosive device damaged the railway near the village of Navazybkova.

Russia’s logistics — how it maintains supply and communications with its ground forces — is under increasing strain as the war progresses.

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In recent months Ukraine was able to use HIMARS missile systems supplied by the United States to target ammunition depots and railroad tracks deep within Russian lines with high precision.

Damage to Russian logistics became a key factor in supporting Ukraine’s counteroffensive.

The latest attack on the railways that Moscow uses to send supplies to Ukraine – this time apparently from inside Russia – will only add to the difficulties.

Britain’s Ministry of Defense says Russia’s rail network is vulnerable to attack. Photo: Stop the wagons

“The war will not pass”

Navazybkava is located near Russia’s borders with Belarus and Ukraine and is the main railway connection with southern Belarus.

The Russian anti-war group “Stop Vans” claimed responsibility for the sabotage.

In a Telegram message, the group said the small explosive had caused so much damage that the rails would have to be completely repositioned.

“The war will not pass!” – he added.

Photos shared by the group show a large piece of rail missing in one spot and a gap with bent rails in another.

Sky News was unable to independently verify the footage.

“Broad trend of attacks on dissidents”

However, in a tweet about the incident on Wednesday, the UK Ministry of Defense discussed the significance of the attacks on Russian railways.

The department said: “This is at least the sixth case of sabotage on Russian rail infrastructure reported by Stop the Wagons since June.

“This is part of a wider trend of dissident attacks on railways in both Russia and Belarus.”

Since long sections of Russia’s railways pass through isolated areas, the system is “very difficult to protect against physical threats,” the Ministry of Defense said.

It added: “Russia’s leadership will be increasingly concerned that even a small group of citizens were sufficiently opposed to the conflict to resort to physical sabotage.”