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Canada helped Russia build railway to bypass war-torn Ukraine, reveals report

Russian diesel locomotive with freight train from Russia to Manzhouli, China. (Jack No1/Wikimedia Commons)
August 03, 2018

A recent report revealed that Canada joined Russia in a major construction project to build a railroad that bypasses Ukraine.

Canadian transportation company Bombardier was among those contracted by Russia to construct a railroad to bypass Ukraine, Russia Today reported this week.

The railroad construction began in 2014 when Russia-Ukraine relations had declined, and it finished construction in 2017. The railroad stretches between Voronezh and Rostov near the Ukrainian border.

The new railroad runs a distance of 137 kilometers and bypasses the Lugansk region in Ukraine. The older railroad included a 26-kilometer stretch through the Lugansk region, which has been ravaged by war.

Bombardier, a company heavily funded by Canadian taxpayers, confirmed that it had won an $8 million contract to join the project and install rail control systems on the new railroad.

Bombardier spokesman Olivier Marcil said: “This project is located 100 per cent inside the… borders of Russia, away from the Ukrainian border, meant to avoid passing through a conflict zone and to ensure a safe transportation of goods and passengers between the Voronezh and Rostov regions of Russia.”

Marcil also said Bombardier’s participation on the project maintained the parameters of sanctions against Russia to remain in compliance.

Lobbying group Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) criticized the project, raising concerns that the railways will be used for military movement to aid the war efforts in Ukraine.

Head of the UCC, Paul Grod, said: “The railway line has evident military implications – in moving Russian supplies and personnel – as Russia continues to wage a war of aggression against Ukraine.”

“The apparent involvement of a Canadian company in the construction of this project contradicts the government of Canada’s stated foreign-policy objectives of supporting Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty in the face of Russian aggression,” Grod said.

Russian fighters used the previous railroad and traveled by train and crossed into Ukraine to assist opposition fighters in the Donbass region.

Many Ukrainian immigrants found their home in Canada, where they have the third largest Ukrainian population behind Ukraine and Russia. Canada was also one of Ukraine’s top supporters after its falling out with Russia, and has provided more than $140 million in loans to Ukraine since 2014.

Canada even joined other Western nations in levying sanctions against Russia over the Ukrainian conflict.

Russia’s railways are another example of their efforts to eliminate dependency on Ukrainian transportation routes. Russia is also seeking to build gas pipelines to end their use of Ukrainian pipelines, Bloomberg reported.