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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

St. Pete May Get a Baltic Rail Link

VILNIUS, Lithuania -- Rail Baltica, a high-speed railway the European Union plans to build through the three Baltic nations, would benefit the region more if it extended to St. Petersburg, Latvian Transportation Minister Ainars Slesers said.

"This project would be better if Russia participated," Slesers said Thursday at a news conference in Vilnius, Lithuania.

"St. Petersburg is a big, important city, and its inclusion would add significant economic value to the route."

Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, three former Soviet states that joined the EU on May 1, have poor road, rail and energy connections with the rest of the 25-nation trading bloc. The EU plans to pay most of the 4 billion euros ($5.2 billion) it will cost to build a modern rail link from Tallinn, Estonia, through Riga, Latvia, and Kaunas, Lithuania, to Warsaw by 2016.

The Russian government has expressed an interest to participate in Rail Baltica, Slesers said.