Russian President Vladimir Putin announced at his joint press conference with Viktor Orbán on Tuesday that he was willing to invest $2 billion in building the so-called “V0” railway line, which would bypass the Hungarian capital.
Regarding the railway line bypassing Budapest, Viktor Orbán doesn’t know this yet, but when I came here for the press conference, I received information from the leaders of the Russian state railway that we would be able to invest two billion dollars in such a project.
-said Vladimir Putin at the February 1 press conference following talks between the two leaders in Moscow.
The announcement was somehow omitted from coverage of the incident, and was spotted by Hungary’s Urban and Suburban Transport Association. They also pointed out that the simultaneous interpreter made a mistake by saying “million” instead of “billion.”
The so-called V0 railway line would bypass the capital from the south and divert freight traffic traveling northwest-southeast, so these trains would not be required to pass through Budapest.
Although Tuesday’s announcement by Vladimir Putin was apparently a surprise to Viktor Orbán, the government earlier floated the idea of Russian involvement in the project. The Ministry of Innovation and Technology issued a statement on the subject last week, noting that Minister László Palkovics discussed the issue with Vitaly Savyev, the head of the Russian Ministry of Transport, by video conference.
According to the statement, a new Hungarian-Russian-Austrian rail freight joint venture was set up last year to increase logistics between the participating countries, and to facilitate and increase container transport from China, via Russia and Hungary, to Southern Europe and the Balkans.
Thanks to the V0, rail shipments arriving by land from the Far East can travel through Hungary without the time-consuming crossing of the capital. The environmental permit for the investment project, which will make a southern detour around Budapest, may be ready by next spring, and a feasibility study could be completed by the summer of 2023.
-stated Minister László Palkovics in the announcement. [Azonnali]