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Ukrainian guerrilla fighters target Russian armored train in Melitopol

According to Ukrinform, Ukrainian guerilla fighters stopped a Russian armored train in Melitopol by exploding a bomb on the railway track: "An explosive device planted on the railway track detonated under a railcar with personnel. As a result, the railroad track and equipment were damaged". But several hours later, presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych gave a conflicting account, saying Ukrainian forces had blown up the tracks ahead of the train.
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Russian armored train used in Ukraine (Picture source: Ukrinform)

Later it was reported that the train consisted of ten cars, and a bomb exploded under a car with personnel. According to reports, two railway tracks were damaged, and the armored train was stopped. The locomotive with ten fuel tanks, which was following the armored train, was also stopped.

As Russian troops and combat vehicles slowly move towards the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, there is speculation that Moscow is sending an armored train to the conflict zone, EusrAsian Times reported on March 9. A video circulating on social media showed the train reaching Melitopol from Crimea. The train was painted with “Z” markings and the video was filmed at Novobohdanivka, roughly 25 kilometers north of Melitopol. Two diesel locomotives and eight railcars could be seen in the video. The locomotive in front was shown between two armored railcars, while the one in the rear is equipped with two ZU-23 twin-barrel 23mm automatic cannons, apparently for air defense. The train carriages may be transporting vehicles that can offer firepower.

Is there a kind of ‘’resurrection’’ of the old Russian tradition of making and using armored trains, inherited from World War 1, the civil war period and World War 2? For the most part, armored trains were used during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when they offered an innovative way to quickly move large amounts of firepower. Most countries discontinued their use – road vehicles became much more powerful and offered more flexibility, and train tracks proved too vulnerable to sabotage as well as to attacks from the air. The Red Army had a large number of armored trains at the start of World War II but many were lost in 1941. Trains built later in the war tended to be fitted with T-34 or KV-1 tank turrets. Others were fitted as specialist anti-aircraft batteries. A few were fitted as heavy artillery batteries often using guns taken from ships. Long after World War 2, the Russian Federation used improvised armored trains in the Second Chechen War of 1999–2009 as well as now for the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022.


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