• Fri. May 26th, 2023

Last update: 03 May 2023, 03:07 IST

FILE - Workers prepare to remove a wagon after a train derailed near the village of Uglovka in Russia's Novgorod region.  (AFP)

FILE – Workers prepare to remove a wagon after a train derailed near the village of Uglovka in Russia’s Novgorod region. (AFP)

The last four days have seen two trains derailed by explosions

An explosive device derailed a Russian freight train in a region bordering Ukraine for the second day in a row on Tuesday ahead of an expected counteroffensive from kyiv.

Russian territory and Crimea, annexed by Moscow in 2014, have been hit in recent days by a series of attacks.

In the past four days, two trains have been derailed by explosions, a suspected drone hit an oil depot in Crimea causing a huge fire and power lines have exploded near St. Petersburg.

The strikes come as Russia prepares to celebrate May 9, a holiday marking the Soviet victory over the Nazis that has become a pivotal event under President Vladimir Putin.

Ukraine toed its usual line of not claiming responsibility for the attacks, which came as kyiv said it was finalizing preparations for a spring offensive announced weeks ago.

Alexander Bogomaz, the governor of Russia’s western region of Bryansk, said on Tuesday that the train was derailed by an “unidentified explosive device”.

He said it exploded at Snezhetskaya station, outside the regional center of Bryansk, a city of about 370,000 near the borders of Ukraine and Belarus.

“A locomotive and several train carriages derailed,” he said, adding that there were no casualties.

On Monday, a similar explosion derailed a train and caught fire near Unecha, in the same area but closer to the Ukrainian border.

Throughout its more than year-long offensive, the Kremlin has sought to portray Russia as safe while its troops fought in Ukraine.

Earlier Tuesday, he acknowledged a security threat.

“Of course, we are aware that the Kiev regime, which is behind a number of such attacks – terrorist attacks – is planning to continue along this path,” the spokesman said. Kremlin, Dmitry Peskov.

“All of our intelligence services are doing whatever is necessary to ensure security.”

– Railway sabotage –

Russian Railways also issued a statement saying that the train had derailed due to “the intervention of unauthorized persons in railway transport works”.

He did not mention an explosive device.

The public operator said the incident happened at 7:47 p.m. local time (4:47 p.m. GMT) between Snezhetskaya and the nearby village of Belye Berega.

He said the train’s front locomotive and “about 20 carriages” had derailed and rail traffic in that section had been suspended.

There have been numerous reports of sabotage on Russia’s railways since Moscow launched its offensive in Ukraine, but this week marked the first time officials confirmed attacks.

More than 65 people, including a third of minors, have been arrested since the fall in around twenty regions of the country solely for railway sabotage, according to a count by the independent media Mediazona published in mid-April.

Ukraine says it has been preparing for months a counter-offensive aimed at repelling Russian forces from the territory they currently hold to the east and south.

Denmark meanwhile said it was sending 1.7 billion crowns ($250 million) in military aid to Ukraine “to support the upcoming Ukrainian offensive”.

The package included demining vehicles, ammunition and financial support for air defense procurement, the Danish Defense Ministry said in a statement.

“Equipment…is essential to clear the way for Ukrainian tanks and mechanized infantry on the frontline,” acting defense minister Troels Lund Poulsen said.

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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)


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