Russia: Railway traffic restored to link eastern Ukraine and Crimea

Russia says it has restored railway traffic between parts of Ukraine that are under its control and Crimea, which it annexed in 2014.

Russian media reported on Wednesday that a freight train had arrived in Crimea from Melitopol in Ukraine's southeastern Zaporizhzhia region.

A senior official of the pro-Russian forces in Crimea says the train was carrying grain and trade between the regions is sure to increase.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Tuesday that Russian forces had restored railway traffic across eastern and southern Ukraine over a distance of about 1,200 kilometers.

He said freight transportation on the reopened tracks had started to Mariupol in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region, Berdyansk in Zaporizhzhia and the Kherson region in the south.

Observers say Russia is apparently trying to reinforce its occupation and control of Ukrainian territory by transporting goods by land, in addition to sea routes.