MOSCOW: Russia’s state railway company said on Monday it had been forced to cancel and re-route some trains in the Samara region after an explosion at a rail bridge, which Ukrainian military intelligence claimed was used by trains carrying ammunition.

An explosion rocked the bridge, which spans the River Chapayevka near the Russian city of Samara, early on Monday morning, Russian news agencies reported citing emergency services.

Ukrainian military intelligence “confirmed” the blast, stating the rail line was used by Russia to transport military cargo, including ammunition made at a factory nearby. It also forecast the bridge would be out of use for some time.

Frozen Russian assets

On the other hand, Ukraine has urged the West to transfer control of confiscated Russian assets to Kyiv so they could be used to rebuild the country and fund its recovery.

“The confiscation of Russian assets should become a reliable source of support for our state and funding for our recovery,” Prime Minister Denys Shmygal told a presser.

Ukraine has warned it desperately needs more military and financial assistance, while a fresh $60bn package of US aid remains stalled in Congress.

PM Shmygal urged Western countries to act quickly ahead of elections and political changes which could disrupt the efforts. “We need predictability and stability, regardless of time, regardless of political fluctuations (and) electoral cycles that will take place in the world,” he said.

West role in conflict

Meanwhile, the Krem­lin said the content of leaked conversations between German officials discussing potential stri­kes on Crimea proved Western countries were participating in the conflict in Ukraine.

The leaks came as an embarrassment for Berlin, which is under pressure to supply Taurus missiles to Kyiv struggling with ammunition shortages.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the conversations “once again highlight the direct involvement of the collective West in the conflict in Ukraine”.

Germany said it believed the recording featured an “intercepted” conversation but could not tell whether or not it had been edited.

The Kremlin spokesman said the recording “in itself suggests that the Bundeswehr is discussing substantively and specifically plans to strike Russian territory.”

Published in Dawn, March 5th, 2024

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