When Ukrainians woke up to the noise of the explosions from the Russian invasion, millions of them ran for the shelter of the train stations.
There were no tickets to peace, but there were trains going west, away from the war.
Since the full-scale Russian invasion began, the Ukrainian Railways evacuated 4 million people to western Ukraine, and more than half a million abroad.
The train schedule had to be changed daily, depending on where it was most necessary to evacuate the civilian population.
Getting on the train, people did not know where they were going. Just where they were escaping from.
“Those days were a nightmare. But we gave our citizens, our people, the feeling that they should get to the station and that would be enough. They are safe, they can receive first aid, medical help, psychological help, some food, hot tea, and being evacuated at the end. Slow, uncomfortable, but evacuated to a safer place,” recalls Oleksandr Kamyshin, General Director of Ukrainian Railways.
“Like a lot of people, like a lot of companies, like a lot of institutions in Ukraine we were preparing for war. But we were not prepared for this kind of war: a full-scale invasion with bombing and so on. So, finally, I don’t want to find myself again in the case of not being prepared for something. For this reason, since the summer we have been prepared for everything. We are in a different environment. We are preparing ourselves for any situation that may arise”, he adds.
Ukrainian resistance to the Russian onslaught extends to its railways.
Ukraine Railways, the company starts operating in the unoccupied territories of Ukraine in what time frame?
Kamyshin explains: “Kherson took us a week. Me and my team were there on the second day after the vacation, then on the fourth day, and then in a week. Within a week we brought the first train. It was complicated because we had to repair the infrastructure , demining the tracks, the station and the entire area”.
Simferopol, Kherson, Lugansk, Sevastopol, Kerch, Berdiansk… Where will they go after the victory?
“If you remember, the President told (David) Letterman that one day he would go to the seaside for a few beers. And on the President’s birthday I promised him a train to Crimea, to the seaside in Crimea. I’ll probably take the same train,” says Kamyshin.
Source: Euronews Español