April 18. 2024. 12:51

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Finland unable to donate high-speed trains to Ukraine

Finland will not be able to donate four of its Allegro high-speed trains Ukraine requested for transporting people between liberated areas during Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s Kyiv one-day visit on Friday because of contractual reasons.

In a brief encounter, the Prime Minister’s Office described as “spontaneous”, the former CEO of Ukrainian railways, Oleksandr Kamyshin requested the trains which the rail company’s Deputy Director, Oleksandr Shevchenko told the Finnish News Agency (STT) would be deployed to transport people to and from liberated areas.

Commenting on the issue on Wednesday, Topi Simola, the Senior Vice President of the Finnish state-owned railway company VR-Group, said the company is unable to donate the trains and make its own decisions concerning the four Allegros.

The high-speed trains, originally acquired to serve the commercial line between Helsinki and St. Petersburg, are owned by Karelian Trains Ltd – a joint venture was established in 2006 and is owned in equal shares by the Finnish VR-Group and the Russian Railways (RZhD).

The now-stranded trains were running from 2010 until March 2022 when Karelian Trains was included on the US sanctions list.

Negotiations over the future of Karelian trains are currently ongoing, Simola told Helsingin Sanomat. For now, “from VR‘s point of view, the situation is simple. The fate of the trains requires a unanimous decision from the owners of Karelian Trains,” Simola added.

(Pekka Vänttinen | EURACTIV.com)