Ukrainian PM: Cutting Off Train Connections to Russia Impossible

Transit commitments by Ukraine to the European Union are preventing the country from severing rail connections with Russia, Prime Minister Vladimir Groysman said on Saturday, according to RIA Novosti.

“We merely cannot instantaneously sever traffic between Ukraine and Russia, including rail one, when transit goods are moved into the European Union, as we have assumed international commitments to the EU, including the Association Agreement,” the prime minister said in an airing by the Ukrainian television channel Nash.

Since 2015, air traffic between Russia and Ukraine has completely stopped on Kiev’s initiative. While the number of train between the two countries decreased, in 2017, the most profitable Ukrainian train was the Kiev-Moscow line, which brought nearly $6 million to the country’s state railway company.

The issue of traffic to and from Russia is “sensitive,” Groysman said. He added that Ukraine shouldn’t resume flights to Russia, since that country is an adversary.

In early August last year, Ukraine’s Infrastructure minister Vladimir Omelyan said that the country had plans to cut off all train connections to and from Russia. Later, Omelyan explained that the Infrastructure Ministry was planning to stop passenger rail traffic from Russia, while freight rail traffic would not be affected.

In 2018, Ukrainian Railways canceled direct trains running between Ivano-Frankovsk, Chernovtsy, Kremenchug and Chernigov and Russian cities.