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New silk road (without Ukraine)

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Photo: Lowy Institute

Photo: Lowy Institute

Russia is building a $9.3 billion stretch of China’s ‘New Silk Highway’ designed to run 2,000 km from Kazakhstan across Russia to Belarus, cutting out Ukraine. Built with private Russian money, this Russian toll road is to become the main truck route between China and Europe. When completed, the ‘Meridian Highway’ is to allow trucks to travel between China and Europe in 11 days, as opposed to 15 days by rail, and 30-50 days by the sea, Wade Shepard writes in Forbes. But as configured the road "adds to a series of Russia-led transport projects that limit Ukraine’s connectivity with the east," Jonathan Hillman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies tells Forbes.

QuoteDubbed the Meridian highway, Russia’s long-awaited portion of the China-Western Europe transport corridor is now under active development. It is to become a 2,000km toll road from the Sagarchin crossing point with Kazakhstan to the border of Belarus.

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