Before Ukraine's expected spring offensive against the Russian occupiers, a freight train derailed after a rail blast in the western Russian region of Bryansk near the border. According to media reports, the train had loaded oil and wood products. Thus, within a few days, there was a second explosive attack aimed at the Russian supply lines. The head of the Russian Wagner mercenary unit, Yevgeny Prigozhin, had previously threatened to withdraw his troops from the embattled city of Bakhmut due to a lack of supplies.
"There are no injuries," said the governor of the Bryansk region, Alexander Bogomas, via telegram about the attack on the train near the small town of Unecha. Traffic on the route has been shut down for the time being, about a tenth of the 60 wagons are lying on their side in the ditch. Bogomas had previously spoken of four dead in the area as a result of Ukrainian shelling. A state of emergency was declared in the affected village of Susemka.
A fuel depot in the port city of Sevastopol on the Crimean Peninsula, annexed by Russia since 2014, caught fire last weekend as a result of a drone attack. According to observers, attacks to cut off Russian fuel and ammunition supplies are being used in preparation for the Ukrainian counter-offensive.
Wagner boss Prigozhin expects the offensive to start by May 15 - and openly complains about the poor equipment of the Russian troops. "Every day we have stacks of thousands of bodies that we put in coffins and send home," Prigozhin said in an interview with Russian military blogger Semyon Pegov published on Saturday. Losses are five times higher than necessary due to the lack of artillery ammunition, he criticized and even threatened to withdraw his mercenary unit from Bakhmut. Prigozhin can afford the criticism because he is considered a confidante of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Russia, including Crimea, controls almost a fifth of Ukraine's territory since its invasion more than 14 months ago. For months, Bachmut has been attacked jointly by the Russian army and the Wagner troops. According to their own statements, the attackers now control around 85 percent of the city area.
During the night, Russia launched another massive missile attack on Ukraine. The commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian army, Valeriy Zalushny, said that cruise missiles were also used, which were fired from long distances by strategic bombers. Accordingly, most of the missiles were intercepted.
During the day, the number of injured in the Ukrainian region of Dnipropetrovsk, 250 kilometers west of Bakhmut, increased. "There are already 34 injured in the rocket attack on the Pavlohrad district," said the governor of the region, Serghij Lyssak, on his Telegram channel on Monday. He had previously reported 25 injuries. Most of the victims suffered from fractures and bruises, stab wounds and lacerations from shrapnel, and smoke inhalation from the fires.
Ukrainian army chief Valeriy Zalushnyi met with NATO commander Christopher Cavoli for talks at the weekend. He informed the US general in detail about the situation along the fronts in Ukraine, Zalushnyj said on Telegram.
According to British intelligence services, Russia has built strong defenses at the front, but also in occupied Ukrainian areas and sometimes deep within its own country. "Images show that Russia has made special efforts to fortify the northern border of occupied Crimea," the British Ministry of Defense said on Monday. Hundreds of kilometers of trenches have also been dug on internationally recognized Russian territory, including the Belgorod and Kursk oblasts that border Ukraine.
Two possible reasons for the defensive investments were given in London. "The defenses underscore the deep concern of the Russian leadership that Ukraine could make a major breakthrough," it said. "But some work was probably commissioned by local commanders and politicians to support the official line that Russia is 'threatened' by Ukraine and NATO."
A good week after their expulsion from Russia, a group of German diplomats left the country on Monday. This was announced by the Foreign Office in Berlin – without naming a number. The government in Moscow announced last week that more than 20 Germans would have to pack their bags. This was justified with a previously forced departure of Russian diplomats from Berlin.