A wall of railway carriages, almost thirty kilometers long, which extends behind the Russian railways in Donbass. Almost two thousand one hundred passenger carriages and freight cars with containers on top, lined up on the plain south of Donetsk, the capital of the separatist republic. They renamed it “The Tsar’s Train” and the unusual construction desired by Moscow appears as an enigma for military analysts, who are wondering about its function.
Its existence was revealed by the Kiev Deep State channel, relaunched by the Institute for the Study of War: there are satellite images – radar scans therefore not easy to interpret – which highlight the metal masses on all the tracks going from Olenivka station to Volnovakha station. Deep State – a source with good reliability – claims that the preparation of the “Great Russian Wall” began in July 2023 using mainly tractors and wagons stolen from the invaders in the occupied Ukrainian territories. In practice it is an iron barrier, which offers shelter against attacks artillery fire and in particular the deadly cluster grenades supplied in quantity by the Americans in June. Furthermore, it can also serve as a real castle, transforming carriages and containers into infantry positions.
A particularly useful shield, because the territory there has no hills, rivers or other natural obstacles. Last summer the area of these tracks was considered a critical point of Moscow’s defensive line. In fact, it has been hypothesized several times that Kiev’s forces could attempt a second attack maneuver, in addition to the one launched further south, to break through the fortifications and aim for Mariupol, which is only 65 kilometers from Volnovakha. An eventuality that greatly worried the Russian generals, because it would have divided Donbass from the Sea of Azov region, putting the entire organization of supplies into crisis. Instead, the Ukrainian counteroffensive was focused much further west and after a few weeks it ran aground in front of the minefields and bunkers of the “Surovikin Line”: the advance continued for a few kilometers.
Since the autumn the situation has been reversed and now it is the Kremlin that has the initiative on the entire front. And the blockade of US war supplies, caused by the parliamentary opposition of the Republicans, left Kiev’s guns without ammunition, allowing the Russians to launch assaults in several places. Now the “Tsar’s Train” is behind the lines of one of the hottest areas, that of Vuhledar: for days the pressure of the Moscow brigades has increased and raids have been reported in several places. Even in this case, however, the “Railway Wall” could have its usefulness, acting as a barracks for the rest of the soldiers engaged in battle – the temperature never exceeds two degrees – or as a warehouse for goods and bullets: it is parked out of range of Ukrainian howitzers.
3/ Russian forces appear to have constructed a 30-kilometer-long barrier dubbed the “tsar train” in occupied Donetsk Oblast, possibly to serve as a defensive line against future Ukrainian assaults.
— Institute for the Study of War (@TheStudyofWar) February 12, 2024
Trains as a weapon
Since the beginning of the conflict, the Russians have demonstrated an imaginative use of railway convoys: they even recovered two historic armored trains, full of machine guns and cannons, to patrol the tracks between Melitopol and Mariupol against sabotage by Ukrainian partisans. And the war certainly demonstrated the fundamental role of rail transport, without which it would be impossible to supply armies that devour hundreds of tons of ammunition every day: another lesson from the past, which many armies had forgotten.