The Russians have placed a blockade of more than 2,000 freight wagons on the front line in Ukraine, dubbed the Tsar Train by experts at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).
They say the 30-kilometre-long railway line, located between the towns of Olenivka and Volnovakha in the occupied Donetsk region, is likely to serve as a line of defence against future attacks by Kiev, but the Russians may have other plans with it.
According to the latest satellite images from 6 and 10 February 2024, Russian troops have been building a long line of wagons stretching from occupied Olenivka to Volnovakha for the past nine months. DeepState reports that Russian forces have assembled more than 2,100 freight cars to make a 30km-long train. Russian troops reportedly began assembling the train in July 2023.
Tsar train, located 6 km from the front line
The railway line between Olenivka and Volnovakha is about six kilometres from the front line, which ISW estimates is southeast of the village of Novomykhailivka at its closest point, and is located on a stretch of the battlefield that was relatively quiet when Russian forces began construction.
Analysts have noted that Russian forces have made recent insignificant territorial gains in the area. At the same time, the ISW suggests that “the Russians could have assembled the train for other purposes”.
According to Ukrainian military observers, the Russian defence industry is not as productive as the authorities in Moscow portray it to be, but it is still capable of sustaining Russia’s war effort. The low production capacity of Russia’s military industry does not guarantee that the country will have difficulty making enough military equipment to sustain its war effort at the current or long-term pace. Russian forces have made progress that has been confirmed near Avdiivka and in western Zaporozhye, amid continued fighting along the entire front line.