Moscow has started constructing a railroad between Russia and illegally annexed Crimea that will pass through occupied regions in Ukraine, local officials said. Currently, the strongest link the Kremlin has with Crimea is the Kerch Bridge, which has been repeatedly attacked since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine began in 2022. The plan is to now establish a railroad between Rostov-on-Don in western Russia and Crimea by passing through Ukraine’s eastern Zaporizhzia and Donetsk regions. Yevgeny Balitsky, the Moscow-installed governor of Zaporizhzhia, said work is already underway on the railroad network in Donetsk, and it will ultimately be used for military logistics and the transport of raw materials. Petro Andryushchenko, an aide to the mayor of Donetsk city Mariupol, said Russia is likely rebuilding existing lines to link Russia to the occupied city and that trains could start running on that portion of the network in the coming weeks.