Russia’s military began sending large numbers of weapons and troops into Belarus in late January. The official purpose of the movement was a joint military exercise, but Belarus, which has a 650-mile border with Ukraine and a government closely aligned with Moscow, was also a logical staging point for Russian President Vladimir Putin to carry out an invasion.
Several days after the troops arrived weird things started happening to the computer systems that ran the Belarus national railway system, which the Russian military was using as part of its mobilization. Passengers gathered on train platforms near Minsk, the capital, watched as information screens flickered and normal messaging was replaced by garbled text and an error message. Malfunctioning ticket systems led to long lines and delays as damaged software systems caused trains to grind to a halt in several cities, according to railway employees and posts that circulated on Belarusian social media.