Ukraine threatens to sever profitable railway links with Russia

Ukraine threatens to sever profitable railway links with Russia
Officials in Kiev say they are considering cutting train connections with Russia, the most profitable destination for Ukrainian Railways.

“We are considering the option of closing the railway communication with Moscow,” Ukrainian Minister of Infrastructure Vladimir Omelyan told 1+1 TV channel. This is not the first time the official has suggested a similar measure. In December 2017, he also threatened to stop sending buses to Russia.

Ukrainian Railways has not yet reacted to the official's statement. Trains to Russia are a valuable business for the company with three routes being the company's most profitable destinations.

The most popular train is Kiev-Moscow which brought in $5.8 million for the company, followed by Odessa-Moscow ($3.7 million). St. Petersburg is the third most profitable destination from Ukraine.

The possible ban could seriously hurt Ukrainian citizens living and working in Russia. Every twelfth Ukrainian, or around 3 million people, lives in Russia. Transportation between Russia and Ukraine has worsened after both countries banned direct flights in 2015.

Since December, Russia has been sending long-haul trains bypassing Ukraine. Russia has built a railway stretch that links the Voronezh and Rostov regions near the Ukrainian border.

The railroad previously had a 26-kilometer stretch which passed through the war-torn Lugansk region of Ukraine. The new section which bypasses Ukraine is 137 kilometers long.

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