Russia has started to build a railway over annexed Ukrainian territory between the Russian border city of Rostov-on-Don and Crimea, Newsweek reports.
Newsweek cited Russian state media quoting Yevgeny Balitsky, the Moscow-appointed governor of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia oblast.
Balitsky said work on the line was underway in the Donetsk area. It will pass through the coastal cities of Mariupol and Berdyansk and terminate in Yakymivka, where it will meet the Melitopol to Sevastopol line.
In peacetime conditions, it took 14 hours to travel from Rostov to Crimea’s Sevastopol through the city of Zaporizhzhia.
Balitsky said the line would help Russia transport grain, iron, and coal.
He said the route would offer a better service than the Kerch Bridge, which connects Crimea with the Russian Caucasus. Its rail link is presently open but remains a prime target for Ukrainian missile and drone strikes.
Balitsky discussed this project with Russian president Vladimir Putin in April. According to the Kremlin transcript of the conversation, Balitsky said the line was Putin’s idea, and that the oblast had formed a working group with the federal transportation minister.
He said project evaluation had been completed, that the project would be submitted for final estimates, and the work would probably be carried out by the Russian military.
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