The Russian forces are assembling a barrier of rail cars stretching 30 kilometers in Donetsk Oblast. The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) wrote this – citing satellite images and Ukrainian Telegram channels – according to which the barrier, nicknamed the ‘Tsar Train’it could be another defensive line against the advance of Ukrainian troops.
Satellite images show the rail car line stretching from Olenivka, south of the city of Donetsk, to Volnovakha, north of Mariupol. The barrier is reportedly built with more than 2,100 freight cars. The railway barrier is about six kilometers from the current front line in Novomykhailivka. Analysts say the line “is located in an area of the front that was relatively inactive when Russian forces began construction,” although Russian troops have recently made “marginal” progress in the area.
The barrier appears to be a new Russian defensive line, but the ISW said the occupation forces may have “other purposes” in mind. Russia’s defense lines in the occupied regions have proven difficult to penetrate, blocking the Ukrainian army’s counteroffensive operations on the eastern and southern fronts. Ukrainian troops are now also on the defensive in Donetsk Oblast, where they face the Russian assault on the city of Avdiivka. Yesterday Kiev reported that Moscow had deployed multiple armored groups in an attempt to overwhelm the city.
Zelensky extends martial law and mobilization
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky meanwhile signed the extension for a further 90 days of martial law and mobilization, which he had first declared on February 24, 2022, when Russia began its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The Ukrainian parliament had previously extended martial law and mobilization from November 2023 to February 14, 2024.
Zelensky presented a proposal to parliament on February 5 to extend the two measures for another 90 days. It was approved by parliament on February 6. Under martial law, Ukrainian men between the ages of 18 and 60, with some exceptions, cannot leave the country as they may be called up for military service.