Russia has started to build a new railway line bypassing Ukraine to reach its southern regions, with tracks now being laid in the Voronezh and Rostov regions, Interfax reported on April 25, citing the deputy defence minister General Dmitry Bulgakov. The existing railway crosses the border with Ukraine in the Luhansk region.
According to Bulgakov, the new line will be 122.5km long, with the section skirting Ukraine's territory to be over 26km long. Russian Railways spend RUB100mn on designing the bypass, although the total project price was not disclosed.
Russian Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov announced the project in November 2014, assuring that it would be realised within a tight schedule. Russian Railways said later the construction will be finished in two years.
At the end of 2014, the company cancelled 13 trains going from Russia to Ukraine because of unprofitability, but said it will restore these services if demand is strong enough. The company’s CEO Vladimir Yakunin said earlier that the number of passengers going to Ukraine fell by 60% in 2014.
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