Rail war in Belarus (2022–present)

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2022–present rail war in Belarus
Part of the 2022–2023 Belarusian and Russian partisan movement
Date28 February 2022 (2022-02-28) – present[dubious ]
Caused byUsage of Belarusian railways by Russia during Russian invasion of Ukraine
GoalsTermination of the use of Belarusian railways by Russia
MethodsRail sabotage[1]

Belarusian government


Rail sabotage is one of the Belarusian forms of grassroots action opposing the Russian invasion of Ukraine.[8][9]

At the end of February 2022, the first reports appeared in the media about sabotage on Belarusian railways in order to disable manpower, signalling control equipment, and the transport of military materiel by rail for military operations on the territory of Ukraine.[8]


Signalling equipment was destroyed in three regions of Belarus, and railway lines were blocked. As a result of these operations, the work of several branches of the Belarusian railway was disrupted, particularly in the south of Belarus.[8][9] There have been some 80 acts of sabotage on Belarusian railways as of 12 April 2022, based on data from the Belarusian Interior Ministry.

The most common form of damage is setting fire to the signalling equipment. This disrupts the lights on the railway system, forcing trains to slow to 15–20 km/h (9–12 mph). A married couple set fire to the logs of military equipment kept by the railways. Other acts of sabotage have involved the railway's workers themselves as well as hackers attacking the railway's computer system. The Deputy Interior Minister threatened to kill the partisans in a statement in early March. Shots were fired at people attempting to set fire to a signal box in late March.[10]

Setting fire to relay cabinets has proved a favourite form of sabotage, this stops the railway system knowing if part of a track is occupied, or not, by a train. In March 2022, the Belarusian section of the Gomel-Chernihiv-Kyiv railway was put out of service this way.[11]

The opposition's actions assisted Ukrainian forces in defeating the 2022 Russian offensive which aimed to conquer Kyiv.[4]


In late April 2022, the Belarusian House of Representatives passed a law to apply the death penalty for sabotage.[12]

See also


  1. ^ a b "В Беларуси началась "рельсовая война" против России (видео)". Archived from the original on 2022-05-03. Retrieved 2022-04-06.
  2. ^ a b "Белорусы ведут против российских войск "рельсовую войну"? | DW | 28.03.2022". Deutsche Welle.
  3. ^ "Internal troops of Belarus to be allowed to use special equipment to suppress unrest".
  4. ^ a b c d e Shy, Liz (23 April 2022). "The Belarusian railway workers who helped thwart Russia's attack on Kyiv". Washington Post. Retrieved 25 April 2022.
  5. ^ Гребеняк, Владимир (2022-05-06). "В россии началась рельсовая война – Волнорез" (in Russian). Retrieved 2022-08-27.
  6. ^ "Этот поезд в огне: как российские партизаны поджигают военкоматы и пускают поезда под откос". The Insider (in Russian). Archived from the original on 2022-08-10. Retrieved 2022-08-11.
  7. ^ "Партизан приравняли к террористам. Как власти Беларуси пытаются остановить "рельсовую войну" против военных эшелонов РФ". 8 April 2022.
  8. ^ a b c "В Беларуси началась "рельсовая война" против России (видео)". ukrainenews.fakty.ua (in Russian). Archived from the original on 2022-05-03. Retrieved 2022-03-18.
  9. ^ a b "Belarusian special forces guarding railways following sabotage". 24 March 2022.
  10. ^ "Why Belarus is yet to join Russia's invasion of Ukraine". openDemocracy. Retrieved 2022-04-18.
  11. ^ "Railway sabotage after 50 days of war in Ukraine: here is what we know". 15 April 2022.
  12. ^ "Belarus eyes wider death penalty use after anti-war railway sabotage". Reuters. 2022-04-27. Retrieved 2022-05-07.

External links