Japan to donate rails to Ukraine to help rebuild transport networks

Japan will provide a grant of rails to Ukraine to help rebuild its railway networks badly damaged by Russia's invasion.

A handover ceremony was held in Kyiv on Tuesday. Attendees included Japanese Ambassador Matsuda Kuninori and officials of the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

JICA will provide 25,000 tons of rails that will make up about 190 kilometers of tracks. They will be transported from Japan to Poland by ship, then delivered by rail. The first batch has arrived.

Forklifts and other equipment will also be supplied.

Ukraine is facing difficulty procuring rails domestically after the Azovstal steel mill in the eastern city of Mariupol was destroyed by Russian forces.

The head of the state-run railway operator, Yevhen Liashchenko, called Japan's support critical, adding that "rails are blood" of Ukrainian infrastructure.

He also said railways need to be repaired quickly to transport passengers and freight, as well as to be used for VIP visits and evacuations from high-risk areas.

He added that the railway operator wants to use the rails immediately.

The head of the JICA office in Ukraine, Matsunaga Hideki, said Japan has extensive know-how on railways and Ukraine has high hopes for Japan's support.

He said the agency will continue supporting the country.