Russia builds military bypass railway amid Crimea bridge risks

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Reports are coming in that the Russian Federation is developing a military freight railway around the Crimean bridge. Clips shared on social media platforms are purported to show progress on the building of this new railway line. These snippets were reportedly captured by individuals driving past the construction area. 

Video screenshot

The video clips provide a visualization that the Russian Federation is employing a rolling stock railway system for laying down the tracks of the line, essentially setting up the tracks automatically according to programmed coordinates. Prior to this, the surrounding fields were evened out to enable seamless railway construction. 

As per Russian sources, it is projected that this new military supply railway will cater to the Russian army in Crimea and also the twin conflict zones in Ukraine – Melitopol and Donetsk. The line originates from Rostov-on-Don, positioning the city as a primary provider of military resources to the Russian army. The railway line culminates in the town of Dzhankoy – the hub of the Dzhankoy district in North Crimea, with a populace hovering over 35,000. 

It started last year

Indeed, the construction activity is not a recent undertaking. Initial reports of work on the new railway line surfaced towards the end of the previous year. The plan appears to be a move to reduce dependency on the Kerch Straight Bridge as a transit route for military supplies, especially considering its ongoing battle with the Ukrainian military for the past 24 months. 

The Bridge is viewed as a high-risk factor by the Russian military. Just days ago, Lieutenant General Kyrylo Budanov, the head of Ukrainian Military Intelligence [GUR], in a post on his Telegram channel, urged the masses to avoid the Kerch Straight Bridge in the ensuing weeks and months. This triggered conjecture that Ukraine’s military personnel may resume their aggressive strikes on the bridge. 

Photo credit: Pravda.com.ua

Budanov’s post read, “Our adversaries should brace for more surprises, and I counsel the common people against utilizing the so-called Crimean Bridge”. His message cited the decade-long war between Russia and Ukraine starting with the “occupation of the Ukrainian Crimea”. 

The Lieutenant General emphasized that Russia has seen a loss of a quarter of its warships, forcing it to retract its fleet to the Caucasian coastline and reroute aviation, as airfields and military establishments in Crimea persistently faced enemy fire. 

Strange, but…

Some experts observe that the ongoing construction of the new bypass railway is proceeding relatively unhindered. It’s interesting to note that over these past few months, there have been no attempted assaults on the construction by the Ukrainian armed forces and the plan continues undeterred. This point is crucial considering this railway might be more advantageous to the Russian army over the Crimean Bridge. However, speculations are rife that the Ukrainian forces might target the railway after its commissioning. 

Photo credit: Twitter

In 2022, the Kerch Straight Bridge was initially struck when the British Ministry of Defense reported the attack as originating 12 miles from the bridge. Since then, it has been termed a “considerable security concern for Moscow” by British authorities. 

Despite repeated attacks, the Bridge still stands today. However, Western intelligence reports advise that its operation capacity has been compromised due to assaults by the Ukrainian armed forces, instigating the introduction of fresh rules and procedures for crossing the bridge. British intelligence adds that “trucks and fuel supply continues to cross via ferries” rather than the bridge.

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