28 Feb 2024 11:59

Ukraine fails to secure CEF funding for building Mostiska-Sknyliv standard-gauge rail line

MOSCOW. Feb 28 (Interfax) - Ukraine has failed to secure funding for building a railway line from Mostiska on the Ukrainian-Polish border to Sknyliv, a suburb of Lvov, under the European Union's Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) program, Ukrainian media have reported referencing Yevgeny Lyashchenko, board chairman of the national railway company Ukrzaliznytsia (Ukrainian Railways, or UZ), as saying.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is currently mulling the possibility of providing 50% of the project's funding, Lyashchenko said on the sidelines of a forum focused on establishing a Made in Ukraine platform.

"As for the Mostiska-Sknyliv railway section, we're ready. We're all set, we have our design documentation prepared, everything is ready for that, but [...] they didn't endorse CEF financing for Mostiska-Sknyliv," he said.

Ukraine is continuing negotiations with USAID on financing the project, Lyashchenko said.

"We've found, [...] we've already signed 50% of the project with USAID. They confirmed the allocation of the funds, but they've taken more time to review the design documentation. They're studying it now, and our teams have been closely in touch for about a month and a half," he said.

Deputy Prime Minister and Restoration Minister Alexander Kubrakov said earlier that the construction of a Mostiska-Sknyliv rail line from the Ukrainian-Polish border to Lvov would begin in 2024.

Lyashchenko has said in an interview with Ukrainian media that Ukraine started official negotiations with the European Commission's Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport (DG Move) and European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA) in September 2023 on projects that were to be submitted by the end of January 2024 to bid for CFE co-financing.

Lyashchenko said there were good chances to secure financing for at least three or four of those projects, including a Mostiska-Sknyliv rail line and a project for transforming the Lvov rail junction into a key European rail hub.

The Restoration Ministry said later that UZ, with USAID's support, would conduct a feasibility study of a standard-gauge rail line project to link Mostiska and Sknyliv, as per a memorandum signed by Kubrakov, U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink, Lyashchenko, and UZ board member Vyacheslav Yeremin.

The financing of projects potentially eligible for CEF provides that half the cost be compensated by the applicant country either from its own sources or via international financial organizations, while the remaining 50% is provided under the program.