Russia is pressing ahead with construction of two new transport corridors linking Asia and Europe, seeking to weaken sanctions over its war in Ukraine at the same time as Middle East turmoil is disrupting global trade.

The shipping and rail networks, via Iran and an Arctic sea passage, could strengthen Moscow’s pivot toward Asian powerhouses China and India and away from Europe. They have potential to embed Russia at the heart of much of international trade even as the U.S. and its allies are trying to isolate Russian President Vladimir Putin over the war.

The routes could cut 30% to 50% off transit times compared to the Suez Canal, and avoid security problems plaguing the Red Sea as Houthi rebels attack international shipping over Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza. Iran’s missile and drone strikes aimed at Israel have added to the regional turbulence.