Ukraine plans to stop rail passenger traffic with Russia on July 1 – newspaper

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

MOSCOW. May 25 (Interfax) – Ukraine may halt rail passenger traffic to and from Russia on July 1; the decision is being lobbied by a number of officials whose opinion Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has lately deferred to increasingly more often, the newspaper Kommersant said on Thursday, referencing Kyiv sources with knowledge of the situation.

“Kyiv intends to halt rail passenger traffic with Russia on July 1 […] Although the plans to suspend passenger traffic have not been formally confirmed by either Kyiv or Moscow, the Ukrainian sources told the newspaper that the decision had been lobbied by National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) Secretary Oleksandr Turchynov and Verkhovna Rada Chairman Andriy Parubiy, whose tough stand had gained increasing support of President Petro Poroshenko,” the newspaper said.

A source close to the Ukrainian government said a pretext for the decision might be the unwillingness of Russian Railways (RZD) “to stop rail passenger traffic to Russia from the zone” of the Ukrainian military operation in southeastern Ukraine, including “Donetsk, in violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

There is commuter train service between Donetsk and Russia’s Taganrog, and a ticket costs 17 rubles, the newspaper said.

It also said that cargo traffic between Russia and Ukraine stopped last week in line with the Ukrainian NSDC’s decision, simultaneously with the imposition of sanctions on Russian legal entities and individuals and the blocking of Russian social media and mailing services.