Ukraine hints at responsibility for Samara, Russia bridge attack

Kyiv publishes pictures of the damaged bridge deep inside Russia that was used to transport weapons.

Russian recruits walk to take a train at a railway station in Prudboi, Volgograd, Russia.
Russian recruits walk to take a train at a railway station in Volgograd region. (AP Photo, File) (AP Photo)

Ukraine has hinted that it was behind an attack on a railway bridge in the Russian region of Samara.

Kyiv’s military intelligence agency boasted on Monday that the explosion on the bridge had “paralysed’ traffic in the area. While attacks on infrastructure in Russia have become regular, it is rare for Kyiv to comment.

“A railway bridge over the Chapaevka River in Russia’s Samara region was blown up. On 4 March 2024, at around 6:00 am (0200 GMT), the bridge was damaged by blowing up its support structures,” the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine said on messaging site Telegram. It included a photograph of the damaged bridge in its post.

Russia was using the railway line to transport ammunition from a plant in the town of Chapayevsk, about 1,000km (621 miles) from the Ukrainian border, military intelligence added.

The post stopped short of directly claiming responsibility for the attack, but Ukrainian intelligence rarely comments on attacks in Russia.

“Given the nature of the damage to the railway bridge, its use will be impossible for a long time,” the statement read.

Ukraine's army chief in discussions with other senior officers near the front line in Avdiivka, They are gathered around a table looking at plans
Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Oleksandr Syrskii (2nd L) and Defence Minister Rustem Umerov (L) visiting the front-line positions at an undisclosed location in eastern Ukraine [Handout/Armed Forces of Ukraine via AFP]

The incident was the latest in a string of explosions targeting Russia’s rail network, which Kyiv says Moscow uses to move troops and equipment being used for its invasion of Ukraine.

Chapayevsk is home to JSC Polimer, a weapons manufacturer sanctioned by the United States in December.

Russia’s railway operator announced earlier that “an intervention by non-authorised persons” had caused the incident but said no one had been injured.

“Rail traffic is suspended for the moment at this section,” it added.

“There are no deaths or injuries,” the Russian Federal Security Service in the Samara region told the state news agency Tass on Monday, with the area around the bridge cordoned off by security forces.

Moscow was yet to comment on the Ukrainian statements. Claims on both sides are hard to verify in the war, which has now entered a third year, with the front line in eastern Ukraine largely bogged down in trench warfare.

Illustrating Kyiv’s increased confidence regarding attacks on Russian territory, its military agency said in January that “unseen opponents of the Putin regime” had burned down a railroad, as well as facilities Russian troops allegedly use for logistics in the Russian cities of Saratov, Yaroslavl and Dzerzhinsk.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies