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Geospatial Analysis Reveals a New Railroad Being Built by Russia to Occupied Mariupol

According to monitoring group Frontelligence Insight, Russians have completed construction and are launching a new railway line between Burne and Malovodne in the occupied Donetsk region.

The 80-kilometer branch will bypass the Crimean Bridge and establish a direct railway connection between Mariupol and Russia, enhancing logistics for the occupying forces in southern Ukraine.

Effective logistics, a critical element in any war, played a decisive role in the early stages of the 2022 Russian invasion. Russian logistical challenges undermined their ability to achieve initial objectives and supply troops near Kyiv, Sumy, and Chernihiv.

The successful Kherson counteroffensive in 2022 and the subsequent summer counteroffensive in 2023, aimed at disrupting the land connection to Crimea by advancing towards Melitopol, both hinged on effective Ukrainian logistics.

Subsequently, in early 2023, Russia prioritized capturing Vuhledar and the Volnovakha area to secure the Donetsk-Mariupol railroad. This push highlights the critical role of rail transport for both sides in moving troops, ammunition, and equipment.

It has been reported that the Russians have already begun “test mode” operations on the railway between Volnovakha and Mariupol. The entire Mariupol-Russia connection could be fully operational by summer 2024.

Additionally, there is an ongoing effort to establish a railroad connection between Taganrog and Crimea, through southern Ukraine, that serves as an alternative route to the Crimean Bridge, aiming to reduce travel time.

Satellite imagery reveals that Russians also restored the gas pump station and are actively installing a gas pipeline connecting Mariupol to mainland Russia. These significant infrastructure investments suggest the Russians intend to transform the region into a fortified frontline stronghold with a long-term military presence.

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