Activists against Russia's war with Ukraine have been sabotaging railways, UK intel said.
The protest method has been causing problems for Russia authorities, British intelligence said.
As protesting is criminalized in Russia, sabotage is appealing for young people, UK intel said.
Young activists against the Kremlin's nearly two-year war with Ukraine have turned to sabotaging trains and railways in Russia as a way to protest Moscow's invasion of the Eastern European country, creating real headaches for Russian authorities, according to British intelligence.
"Seventeen months after the first incidents were reported, sabotage of Russian railways by anti-war activists continues to represent a significant challenge for the Russian authorities," the UK's Ministry of Defense said on Wednesday in its latest daily intelligence update.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has criminalized protesting in Russia, and with essentially "all methods of overt dissent banned" in the country, the UK intelligence group said that "sabotage continues to appeal to a minority of young people as a method of protest against" Putin's grinding war with Ukraine.
The UK's Ministry of Defense cited recent statistics compiled by independent Russian news outlet Mediazona that say, as of October, nearly 150 Russians are facing criminal charges for anti-war railway sabotage.
Since the start of the Russia-Ukraine war in February 2022, at least 137 people — with the vast majority under the age of 25 and more than a quarter under 18 — have been prosecuted for railway sabotage, according to Mediazona. The news outlet reported that the total number of court cases in the matter stood at 76, with many of them involving multiple defendants.
According to British intelligence, since early this year, notices have appeared on key pieces of Russian railway infrastructure "pointing out that, under the Russian Criminal Code, sabotage can be punished with up to life imprisonment."
"Russia's military logistics, including supplying the war in Ukraine, remain reliant" on the country's more than 20,000 miles of railway line, the UK intelligence group said.
Some of the railroad sabotage cases involved damage to tracks and arson, according to Mediazona. In 16 of the cases, defendants were facing terrorism-related charges, while three cases involved charges of treason, the independent Russian news outlet reported.
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