Railway dead-end by Kiev

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Railway dead-end by Kiev 13.08.2018 14:48


The Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine Vladymyr Omelyan stated: "We are now considering the option of closing the railway communication with Moscow". Earlier, he said that the losses of the country from the closure of the movement of Russian trains through the territory of Ukraine will amount to one hryvnia. Moreover, in his opinion, "any communication with Russia should have been blocked long ago". According to Ukrainian experts, this is more political action on the eve of the presidential and parliamentary elections in 2019 than reality. Omelyan strives to ensure his political future, and therefore plays a "patriotic card".

Apparently, this caused misunderstanding in the EU, whose interests for the Ukrainian leadership are more important than its own ones. As a result, the very next day Omelyan was forced to clarify that Ukraine is stopping only passenger rail service with Russia. He finally recalled the international obligations that Kiev assumed in the framework of the World Trade Organization (WTO), as well as the significant benefits of the Ukrainian railway operator “Ukrzaliznytsia” from cargo communication with Russia. It is strange that, having shown such a touching concern for the country's budget, the minister completely ignored the interests of his own producers, who use the railroad for the delivery of ferrous metallurgy products and mechanical engineering (it is not always economically feasible to use road transport for these purposes). And in the period from January to November 2017, trade between Russia and Ukraine increased by 28.6% to $9.4 billion.

One should also pay attention to the structure of Russian exports to Ukraine. First of all, it is represented by oil, oil products and various types of mineral fuel, as well as fertilizers and machinery products, including nuclear power. A significant increase in the cost of delivering these goods to Ukraine by road will negatively affect the level of local producers' income and the generation of electricity at still operating nuclear power plants. The profitability of production in Ukraine will also be questioned.

And what will happen to the passenger traffic between Russia and Ukraine and who in reality will suffer from its significant reduction? So, from December 11, 2017, Russia announced the launch of 120 passenger and 30 freight trains by rail, which is laid bypassing the territory of Ukraine. The railway service was launched along the Zhuravka-Millerovo section. Before this train, following towards Rostov-on-Don, were forced to cross the border of Ukraine twice on the territory of the Lugansk region.

The only Russian train running from Ukraine to Russia or on Ukrainian territory is the only Russian train № 066 Chisinau-Moscow, two Moldovan ones - No. 047 Chisinau-Moscow and No. 341b Chisinau-Moscow, as well as several Ukrainian trains: No. 006 Kiev-Moscow, No. 074 Lviv- Moscow, № 024 Odessa-Moscow, № 056 Khmelnitsky-Kiev-Moscow, № 054K Kiev - St. Petersburg, № 020О Kharkov-Moscow, № 074О Kharkov-Moscow, № 106П Kharkov-Moscow, № 143О Kharkov - St. Petersburg, No. 074O Krivoy Rog - Moscow. As a rule, they are used by labor migrants of Moldova and Ukraine and, to a lesser extent, by Russian citizens - mainly for visiting relatives.

At the same time, it should be borne in mind that, according to the estimates of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Pavel Klimkin, about 3 million Ukrainian labor migrants live in Russia. In 2017, the volume of remittances of Ukrainian labor migrants as a whole amounted to about $9.3 billion, a significant part of which came from Russia. Since October 2015, there is no air communication between our countries, which was stopped at the initiative of Kiev. Therefore, now Ukrainian labor migrants will have to go, for example, by train to Kharkov or Sumy, and then somehow to get to Russia, which will create serious inconveniences for them and will lead to additional expenses.

With regard to the budget of Ukraine, it can be recalled that, according to the railway operator “Ukrzaliznytsya”, the most profitable Ukrainian train in 2017 was the composition of Kiev-Moscow. On average, it was filled by 77% and brought to the country more than $5.7 million annually. Trains Odessa-Moscow and Kiev-St. Petersburg were also profitable. But in general, passenger transportation of long-distance traffic in Ukraine was unprofitable (for the year losses were $118 million).

Thus, Kiev itself creates a railway impasse, from which it will be difficult to get out due to the expected reduction in the staff of the railway, the fleet of locomotives and passenger cars. And, as usual, the local population will have to solve this problem on its own, which is unlikely to provide support to the current Ukrainian government in the forthcoming presidential and parliamentary elections.