Ukrainian SBU allegedly launches multiple attacks on Russian rail
During an operation deep in Russian territory, the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) detonated explosives, which impacted freight trains and parts of railway infrastructure at three different points. All three attacks occurred on the eastern part of the network. Specifically, three trains were hit: one in the Severomuysky Tunnel along the East Siberian Railway, one on a railway bridge known as the ‘Devil’s Bridge’, and one on the Baikal-Amur Mainline (BAM).
Ukrainian officials have confirmed the information about the Severomuysky Tunnel attack to international media outlets like Reuters. The other two attacks have only been confirmed by Ukrainian media, citing also official sources.
Russian Railways (RZD) has so far commented only on the Severomuysky Tunnel attack. The company said on Telegram that the locomotive crew of the explosion-hit train noticed smoke from one of the diesel tanks around 17:20 on 30 November. The convoy was stopped and two firefighter trains arrived on the accident scene.
“The extent of the damage is being determined”, RZD said on Telegram, claiming that traffic was not interrupted but redirected via a bypass section, which caused “a slight increase in travel time”. No injuries nor casualties have been reported so far.
Why is this important?
The Severomuysky railway tunnel is the longest in Russia. RZD is investing heavily in the tunnel’s facilities to expand them and facilitate rail transportation between its Far East ports and the western part of the country.
In general, the Trans-Siberian and East Siberian Railways and BAM have become increasingly important for the Russian transport sector and economy after Western sanctions were imposed on the country. Russia has devised a whole supply chain redirection plan based on its Far East and Eastern railway infrastructure to bring Moscow closer to its main trade gateways, which happen to be located on the other side of the country.
Targeting this part of Russian infrastructure could result in significant disruptions and financial losses for the Russian shipping sector. According to the cited sources, however, the SBU attacks targeted mainly military logistics within Russia.