Construction is underway on a railroad between the Russian port city Rostov-on-Don and occupied Crimea via Zaporizhzhia Oblast, the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported on Nov. 6.
Yevhen Balytsky, the head of Russia's proxies in occupied Zaporizhzhia Oblast, told reporters that the railway will run from Yakymivka, near Melitopol, to Rostov-on-Don via Berdiansk and Mariupol.
"This project has already started," he said.
Petro Andriushchenko, an advisor to Melitopol's exiled mayor, said on Sept. 27 that Russia had begun to build rail links to occupied cities in Donetsk Oblast in order to reduce the Russian military's dependence on the Crimean Bridge.
Balytsky also said the rail project would aid Russian military logistics by circumventing the bridge.
"Because it is not only far to drive across the Crimean Bridge, but today the bridge is also a high-risk object," Balytsky said.
The Crimean Bridge, which connects the occupied peninsula with Russia's Krasnodar Krai, was severely damaged in a Ukrainian strike on July 17.
Crimea is the central logistics hub for Russian forces in southern Ukraine. A Ukrainian strike on Nov. 4 damaged a Russian missile carrier at a shipyard in the Crimean city Kerch.