A teenager has been sentenced to eight years in prison for railway sabotage in Russia near St Petersburg.
Viaceslav Zaiyev, 19, pleaded guilty and was also fined, the city’s court press service said.
Russian officials have linked pro-Ukrainian sabotage groups to numerous attacks on railways, actions aimed at disrupting supplies to Ukraine’s war front since Moscow began its full-scale invasion nearly two years ago. Ukraine’s national spy agency has even been accused of detonating explosives on railway lines inside Russia. The young Zayev was found to have set fire last March to a railway box containing signalling and communications equipment on a stretch south of St Petersburg, Russia’s second-largest city, with the intention of “undermining the economic security and defence capability of the Russian Federation”, the court said.
He acted on the orders of a “coordinator” he met on the Telegram messaging platform who paid him 10,000 rubles (equivalent to about 100 euros) in cryptocurrencies for committing the crime, the court said. Last summer, a military court sentenced a dual Russian and Ukrainian national to 22 years in prison for blowing up a railway in southern Russia on Ukrainian instructions.
Other railway sabotage in Russia
Late last year there were other acts of sabotage on railway infrastructure in Russia. The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) set fire to a train in a 15km tunnel.
The first attack took place in the Bessolov tunnel in the Republic of Buryatia, where four explosive devices were detonated as a train carrying fuel passed through. A second sabotage was then carried out on a railway track where traffic had been diverted after the first sabotage.
The detonation in the second sabotage was triggered as a fuel train was crossing a 35-metre-high bridge, the Certov Bridge, in Kiev’s attempt to disable the railway line linking China and Mongolia.
Meanwhile, Russian investigators have established that the burning of a train on Wednesday in the 15.3 km-long Baikal-Amur tunnel in Buryatia province was the result of a terrorist act carried out by unidentified perpetrators. The explosive appears to have been inserted under the train and detonated after entering the tunnel.