Putin’s new railway in Ukraine, almost ready. Serious problem for Kiev

Putin’s new railway in Ukraine, built as a land-based alternative to the bridge over the Kerch Strait, is almost ready.

Putin's new railway in UkrainePutting this rail link into operation could pose a “serious problem” for Kiev, warned Kirilo Budanov, head of Ukraine’s Defence Intelligence Service (DIU).

“Russia has actually been building a railway for more than a year to connect with our temporarily occupied southern territories. This process is almost completed and could pose a serious problem for us. But I hope we will somehow manage the land section of the railway. Everyone has experience in this, and this is much easier than the Crimean bridge issue,” Budanov saying.

The Russian-built railway links the Russian port city of Rostov-on-Don to the Crimean peninsula – its main logistical hub in southern Ukraine – as an alternative to the Crimean Bridge, which passes through key occupied territories such as Donetsk, Mariupol and Berdiansk. Vladimir Putin announced at a rally after his emphatic election victory last month that construction of the railway section between Rostov-on-Don and Berdiansk had been completed.

Andrii Yusov, a spokesman for Ukrainian military intelligence, said last month that Moscow was “trying to strengthen the railway link” because of Ukraine’s frequent attacks on the Crimean bridge, adding that it was Kiev’s “mission” to prevent Russia from completing construction of the railway.

Railway bridge over the Kerch Strait to be inaugurated by Putin in 2019

In December 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin travelled on the first passenger train to cross the Crimea-Russia railway bridge, as Railway Pro wrote at the time. The Kremlin leader was even in the driver’s seat of the train as a locomotive engineer.

It is a controversial bridge dedicated to rail traffic between the Russian Federation and the Crimean peninsula, a former part of Ukraine, which Moscow unilaterally annexed in 2014, prompting international sanctions. The 19-kilometre-long Crimean bridge links the Crimean Kerch peninsula to the Taman peninsula in southern Russia.

Now Putin’s new railway in Ukraine is intended to be a land-based alternative to the bridge across the Kerch Strait, which has been the target of Ukrainian sabotage since the Russian invasion.

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