After the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, including from the territory of Belarus, a "railway war" has begun in Belarus. Russian troops are using the infrastructure of the Belarusian Railway, and some Belarusians are trying to prevent this, writes the news outlet Viasna.
To slow down and prevent the movement of Russian military equipment into Ukraine, the Belarusians are disabling the railway equipment. In the first days of the war, Belarusian security forces said that such actions would be equated to acts of terrorism, but this did not stop the sabotage on the railway. More than a dozen such cases have been recorded in a month.
According to Viasna, in search of "railway partisans", the Belarusian security forces carried out raids in the cities where sabotage took place. Belarusian human rights activists say that at least 11 people who are believed to be involved in the "railway war" have been detained.
According to the news outlet Zerkalo.io, dozens of railway workers have been detained in Belarus in recent days. Information about mass detentions appeared on Wednesday evening in one of the telegram channels associated with the Belarusian security forces. The channel published "videos of confessions" of 38 people - employees of the railway industry of different ages, roles and from different cities.
Allegedly, all of them were subscribed to the telegram channel "Live. Community of Railway Workers of Belarus", which the Belarusian authorities deemed extremist after the channel began to report cases of sabotage on the Belarusian railway.
In addition, according to Zerkalo.io, three assistants and one train driver of the Gomel locomotive depot were detained in Gomel.
There are no official comments about the detention of railway workers in Gomel yet.
Zerkalo.io writes that it is still unknown whether the recent detention of railway workers is connected to the "railway war".
The telegram channel "Community of Railway Workers of Belarus" collect information about cases of sabotage.
On February 27, the Belarusian opposition hacker group Cyberpartizany announced they had breached into the computer network of the Belarusian Railway, a state-owned company that manages all the country's railways. After that, the online ticket sales service stopped working, and cashiers had to issue tickets manually. About two weeks later, the Belarusian Railway stated that the service had resumed operation.
On February 28 and March 1, the "Community of Railway Workers of Belarus" reported about the arson of two alert, centralization and switching units in the Minsk and Gomel regions. Such equipment is used to control traffic lights on a certain section of the road. If it is damaged, only one train can pass through the a railway section, and its speed cannot exceed 15-20 kilometers per hour.
On March 14, a traffic light was disabled at one of the railway crossings in the Brest region, and on March 16, an arson of another traffic control unit was reported in the Vitebsk region.