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What Weapon Does Ukraine Need to Destroy russian Almost Completed Railroad from Rostov to Crimea?

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russian occupiers are building a railroad from Rostov to Crimea / Open source photo
russian occupiers are building a railroad from Rostov to Crimea / Open source photo

Why this highway is so importamt for russians and what countermeasures can be taken

russia has almost completed a railroad from Rostov to the temporarily occupied Crimea via Pryazovia. Occupiers began work on this project last year. The launch of this railroad can create significant problems for Ukraine, but it is still possible to find a countermeasure. This was stated by the Chief of the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine Kyrylo Budanov on the air of the national telethon.

The information about the "almost completed" strategically important for russians railroad sounds especially alarming, as only two weeks ago there were first reports that invaders were still building this highway. Even then, there were estimates that it could become a "replacement for the Crimean Bridge" in terms of improving logistics for russian occupation forces.

Read more: russia Targets Kyiv with 37% of Its Cruise Missiles; More Zircons Launched Than Previously Thought
What Weapon Does Ukraine Need to Destroy russian Almost Completed Railroad from Rostov to Crimea?, Defense Express
Scheme of the new russian railroad / Photo credit: Center of journalistic investigations

The pace of implementing this project by russians is impressive. As it is assumed that this highway should follow the route Rostov - Taganrog - Volnovakha - Mariupol - Berdiansk - Melitopol and to the temporarily occupied Crimea. The total length of the tracks can reach 500 kilometers.

To compare, it took russians at least two years to build the 110-kilometer Millerovo-Zhuravka railroad bypassing Ukraine. It began working in 2017 and cost almost $1 billion. But to be fair, these two cases involve infrastructure projects of fundamentally different complexity.

What Weapon Does Ukraine Need to Destroy russian Almost Completed Railroad from Rostov to Crimea?, Defense Express
russian occupiers are building a railroad from Rostov to Crimea / Open source photo

In the case of the Millerovo-Zhuravka railroad, it was a two-track fully electrified mainline, where eight new stations were built, and the design capacity was as high as 140 trains per day. And in the case of the occupiers' railroad from Rostov to Crimea, it is rather a "military field" single-track railroad under diesel traction power, i.e. a simplier infrastructure project.

Speaking about a possible operation to eliminate the russian railroad from Rostov to the temporarily occupied Crimea, the idea of destroying the railroad line may be the first to come to mind.

But such an idea is not productive. Even during World War II, an attempt to bomb the enemy railroad with kilometers of tracks, as the Allies did during the bombing of Nazi Germany, did not generally lead to a traffic stop, but could only have the effect of breaking the main line into separate "logistics islands."

What Weapon Does Ukraine Need to Destroy russian Almost Completed Railroad from Rostov to Crimea?, Defense Express
russian locomotive based on Ural truck / Open source illustrative photo

In this case, it would be more productive to attack the stopping places for the rolling stock of this railroad. Since this is a single-track railroad, there should be passing loops where one train can stop to allow another one to move.

But there can be some surprises. russians can use not only diesel locomotives as pulling power for their trains, but also locomotives powered with steam, petrol, or electric engines based on tractors or even Ural trucks.

Another surprise is that locomotives can be refueled with diesel fuel not only from stationary equipment in the depot, but also in the field from conventional gasoline tankers. The fact is that all diesel locomotives have fuel tanks located under the bottom of the body. So, it is convenient to use a refueling hose.

What Weapon Does Ukraine Need to Destroy russian Almost Completed Railroad from Rostov to Crimea?, Defense Express
Refueling a diesel locomotive in the field conditions / Open source illustrative photo

This raises two questions: where to strike and what weapons to use? Obviously, we are talking about a strategically important for russians object. So it would be rational to use any means of destruction available to the Defense Forces of Ukraine. These could be already delivered SCALP-EG and Storm Shadow cruise missiles, or Taurus or ATACMS missiles in case of transfer.

But the question still remains how many long-range missiles the Armed Forces of Ukraine have to systematically hit russian railroad from Taganrog to Crimea.

What Weapon Does Ukraine Need to Destroy russian Almost Completed Railroad from Rostov to Crimea?, Defense Express
Volga russian armored train / Open source illustrative photo

Earlier Defense Express reported that Ukrainian warriors had destroyed one of the most expensive russian Forpost UAVs over the Black Sea.

Read more: ​The UK Defense Intelligence Analyzes russia’s Major Rail Link Project in Temporarily Occupied Ukraine