Russia starts building railroad link to occupied Ukraine: will this impact war?
Ivan Kyrychevskyi, military expert at Defense Express, believes that the construction of a railway connection between Russia and the temporarily occupied southern Ukraine would not significantly benefit Russian troops, as they will only be able to build isolated railway islands
He shared his opinions on Espreso TV.
"If we talk about the story that the Russians are going to build a railroad in the temporarily occupied south of Ukraine, there are two things to note. The Russian railway troops are a very powerful engineering component, because before the full-scale invasion, they had 40,000 personnel. They have the equipment to build military field railroads relatively quickly. These are quite skilled people who, unfortunately, were able to fix the railways that the Russian army initially damaged in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine," the Defence Express expert noted.
Ivan Kyrychevskyi added that Russian Defense Minister Shoigu involved military specialists in laying the second track of the BAM (Baikal-Amur Mainline - ed.).
"There is no doubt that the occupiers will be able to build a new 50-kilometer-long railroad and a railroad bridge over the Kalmius River. The question is how long will it take them? Roughly speaking, maybe a few months, but who knows, maybe they will speed up. If we evaluate the impact of this construction on the course of events in the southern region, it is too early to panic," the military analyst said.
Ivan Kyrychevskyi pointed out that information from the advisor to the mayor of Mariupol, Petro Andriushchenko, suggests that the railroad from Taganrog is planned to be connected between Mariupol and Volnovakha. This indicates that it might be premature to consider this railway connection as a viable alternative to the Crimean bridge.
"If we look at the context of the Ukrainian Armed Forces offensive, it is aimed at cutting the corridor from the occupied Donbas to Crimea. And the most vulnerable section of this corridor, in particular the railroad, is along the Volnovakha, Komysh-Zorya, Polohy highway and further to Melitopol. And our advance to Tokmak is aimed at taking this section of the railroad under tighter fire control. In other words, the Russians want to simplify the logistics to Mariupol, but they are not solving the issue of how to make a double logistics run from Mariupol, Volnovakha and Melitopol. Thus, it turns out that the occupiers can make two isolated logistics islands: the first one is Crimea and Melitopol, and the second one is Taganrog, Mariupol and Volnovakha. But this still won't solve their logistics problem, because the Ukrainian Armed Forces will be able to cut this corridor from Donbas to Crimea. That is, the occupiers will be able to create mischief and unpleasant things for us, but somewhere it will not save them anyway," Kyrychevskyi summarized.
On September 27, Petro Andriushchenko, an advisor to the mayor of Mariupol, said that Russian troops were trying to build a direct railway connection between Russia and the temporarily occupied cities of Donetsk region – Mariupol, Volnovakha and Donetsk.