Rail traffic was suspended between two major Crimean cities after a train derailment on Thursday that railway authorities blamed on “interference by outsiders.”

On Friday, an intelligence update from the UK Ministry of Defense said that one of the main consequences of the rail suspension was that it disrupted “deliveries of supplies and potentially also weapons such as Kalibr cruise missiles” to the Fleet. of the Black Sea of ​​Russia.

Russia invaded and annexed Crimea in 2014, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that retaking the peninsula is one of his country’s goals in the war launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin in February 2022. Crimea has also been the scene of numerous attacks in recent weeks. including multiple drone strikes on the region’s largest city, Sevastopol.

Britain’s Defense Ministry intelligence update on the derailment said the incident highlights security concerns for Putin as he tries to maintain his grip on the peninsula.

Russia's control over Crimea in jeopardy
The aftermath of a train derailment is seen on the outskirts of Simferopol, the Crimean capital, on Thursday. The UK Defense Ministry said the incident was likely to cause the Kremlin to worry about its ability to “protect other key infrastructure in Crimea”.

“Any sabotage in this sensitive area will further raise the Kremlin’s concerns about its ability to protect other key infrastructure in Crimea,” the British ministry wrote.

The ministry update, which was posted on Twitter, added: “The peninsula retains a vital psychological and logistical role in enabling Russia’s war in Ukraine.”

news week reached out to the Russian Foreign Ministry by email for comment.

Nikolai Lukashenko, the Kremlin-backed transport minister of Crimea, wrote on Telegram that eight cars derailed and some media outlets reported that an explosion caused the derailment.

No one was injured in the incident, but the derailment caused the temporary suspension of rail traffic between Simferopol, the Crimean capital, and Sevastopol.

The train derailment follows another recent high-profile incident involving Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. On April 29, a large fire broke out at an oil depot near Sevastopol after sounds of explosions were reported.

Andriy Yusov, a spokesman for Ukrainian military intelligence, said the oil depot fire destroyed more than 10 petroleum product tanks that were capable of storing a total of 40,000 tons of fuel for Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

Ukraine has never claimed responsibility for any of the attacks in Crimea, nor did it say it was behind Thursday’s train derailment. Nevertheless, Yusov appeared to welcome the train incident during comments he made on Ukrainian television on Thursday.

“On these roads, in particular, weapons, ammunition, armored vehicles and other means used for the aggressive war against Ukraine are transported,” Yusov was quoted as saying by the Interfax-Ukraine news agency. “It’s quite natural that these pathways didn’t hold up, got tired and now don’t work for a while.”

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