Letting the Train take the Russian Invasion Strain.
This post looks at how Russia sends military supplies into Ukraine by rail.
Since Sept 2014, Russia’s had total control over 409km of Ukraine’s eastern border. The area stretches from the south coast and the Sea of Azov, up to the border area roughly parallel with the Ukrainian city of Luhansk.
August 27th 2018 situation map.
The Red line shows the Ukrainian border controlled by Russia. Light beige colour is the area of eastern Ukraine occupied by Russia-led forces. Control of the border gives Russia full access to 12 official Ukrainian road border crossings and 2 rail lines. I say official, as the Russian army also uses several previously closed Ukrainian crossings which they’ve reopened. Marked by a red square, for this article we focus on the Ukrainian town of llovaisk.
On the main rail line from Russia into Ukraine, llovaisk makes for an ideal military transit depot. Close to Donetsk city, convoys can easily transfer rail goods by road up to the front line.
My video on this subject. Gives a short overview.
With the town being a rail junction, several lines (red arrows) branch off to other parts of occupied Ukraine.
By early 2015 Russia started converting IIovaisk into a rail military supply depot.
A – Rail goods yard – Used for the unloading of military supplies.
B – Large fuel depot.
Google Earth shows Russian army vehicles within both locations on Feb 17th 2015
A – The rail goods yard.
June 2017: Importantly to avoid prying eyes (but not eyes from space), trains can enter the yard and its gates can be shut behind them. This is important as should an OSCE patrol arrive, they can simply be denied entry.
Marked in yellow two full cargo rail carriages can be seen. In the top box, a train engine has stopped outside the building. Clustered around them are Russian transport trucks, with a number of them having removed their canvas covers to make for easier loading.
Closer look at the train engine. The gates and rail line show trains can drive into the large industrial building. This would be a bonus should you want to hide the unloading of military supplies and especially the unloading of military vehicles.
It’s likely this goods yard is just used as and when trains are scheduled to arrive. It’s also extremely likely that dead and wounded Russian soldiers and mercenaries travel back to Russia on these trains.
Same June 2017 image, but seen from the opposite direction.
Feb 17th 2015: As in the fuel depot, the Russian army are also here in the goods yard.
We can see 3 rail carriages and a number of military vehicles clustered around them. In the top, a train has entered the building, with two of its carriages seen sticking out of the gates.
July 2017: 5 open topped cargo carriages can be seen, along with a large number of military transport trucks.
July 2017: Here we see the military fuel depot.
The large white containers are fuel tanks. Russian transport trucks can be seen parked and exiting the depot.
Nov 2014: The disused compound before the Russian army took control of it.
Feb 17th 2015: Russian fuel trucks and smaller fuel containers have arrived.
Work has started on removing the roof of the building on the right.
Feb 17th 2015: Close-up of fuel trucks and smaller fuel containers.
Sept 2015: On the far right, the smaller fuel tanks have been positioned in place. Like the larger fuel containers, they’ve been painted white. Lots of fuel trucks are seen in the compound.
Sept 2015: Close up of Russian army fuel trucks. On the right, the smaller white fuel containers have been fenced off. Building on the right is still be converted to accommodate the large fuel containers.
Oct 2016: Larger fuel tanks have now been positioned in the buildings.