Would it make sense for Ukraine to cut all road and rail links to Russia and Belorus?

I raised this some months ago in relation to the Baltic countries, but the recent statements by Belarusan officials, that Ukraine is mining or destroying roads and bridges leading to Belarus, made me wonder again.

Would it make sense, either short-term or long-term, for Ukraine to destroy all road and rail links leading to Russia and Belarus? Not in the territory of those countries, but within Ukraine, maybe two or three miles in from the borders, and creating a large gap, over a mile, in the roads and railways?

Why keep open the invasion routes for Russia?

But I know little of military matters, so I thought I would ask here.

I thought Ukraine was already doing that…?

Definitely some bridges were cut early in the invasion. I would be surprised if this sort of disruption hasn’t happened.

In the long term, sure. Reducing the number of lines of possible attack rarely have a downside.

Bridges are usually the better option because that make it more difficult to bypass a destroyed bridge, forcing Russia to install temporary bridges, and also allows for a single target for artillery, HIMARS or drones.

Destroying roads would be more effective during rasputitsa, the mud season, because it would be more difficult to travel off road. Presumable, Ukraine would want to a more thorough job of making the road way even less passable than simple tearing up the paving. Mining roads slows things down a little, but doesn’t make them impassible forever.

Ukraine perhaps also could make plans on how to flood areas with the purpose of making it more difficult for amour to travel through an area.

Destroying rail lines is never a bad idea, especially against Russia, which depends on rail so much. However, rebuilding rail lines also isn’t as difficult as rebuilding bridges, but anything done to slow down an invasion is helpful. This seems to be the map of rail lines and there

Short term; a lot of the border between Ukraine and Russia is in the Kharkiv area and to the west, and the Russians doesn’t look like they are capable of mounting a realistic threat right now. However, the more they can make it more difficult, the better it is. Blowing up your own bridges is easy, and there isn’t a need to keep them, as (presumably) Ukraine isn’t planning on invading Russia.

If the Ukrainians had a time machine, I’m sure that they wish they had done more of this before February, and they could have made the invasion much more difficult and slow. Blowing up the Antonovskiy Bridge and other bridges over the Dnieper River may have made a difference.

Note that, blowing up bridges, flooding areas and destroying road and rail links may not be able to protect your country from a competent force. See Singapore in WWII or the Dutch against the Nazis, who had plans in place to counter these measures. However, Russia doesn’t seem to be in that league.

Aggressive countries have often insisted that weaker countries don’t blow up their rail lines, roads, bridges or tunnels as “an act of war” even though those should be defensive measures.

I would be surprised in any of the rail lines are intact now.

Also, because Russia’s intent in crystal clear now, it is more difficult for them to pull off a surprise again, even if they had the troops.

Military experts don’t seem to believe that Russia is capable of mounting effective offenses now or anytime in the near future.

Perhaps next spring, but there isn’t any indication that they have solutions to any of their systemic problems.

The cardinal rule of military obstacles is to never build one unless you are going to cover it with fire. A good other rule of thumb is to tie them into natural obstacles so they are harder to bypass. Destroying all of them likely ignores those rules in a number of places. At that level we are probably talking about a waste of resources that could contribute more to the war effort elsewhere.

if memory serves me right, there were plans in place to blow up the Antonovskiy brigde, but the russian-friendly Ukr. governor did not do that … I think he was considered a traitor and later killed by the Ukr (but I might confuse names/persons/places) …

point in case: it was clearly identified as a bottleneck - but not implemented.

I tried to find any news sources concerning that, but I couldn’t locate any after a few searches.

It certainly is possible. Certainly the Ukr forces knew that they should have blown the bridge and it’s considered one of their mistakes. I wasn’t paying that much attention to that area at the time, but reading accounts of it, it looks like control of the bridge went back and forth several times in a couple of days.

Of course, judging leaders in hindsight is an easy task compared to actually being the one having to make decisions with imperfect information, so I’m not faulting them. In WWII, all of the Allies were caught unprepared.

here is a fairly compact (but outdated) synthesis on Cherson:

my apologies to the mayor - it was not him who helped the russians - but there was foul-play involved :grimacing: