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Ukraine Railways: heroic operations since the Russian invasion

People, mostly women and children, try to get onto a train bound for Lviv, at the Kyiv railway station, Ukraine, Friday, March 4, 2022.
People, mostly women and children, try to get onto a train bound for Lviv, at the Kyiv railway station, Ukraine, Friday, March 4, 2022. Copyright Andriy Dubchak/Copyright 2022 The AP. All rights reserved
Copyright Andriy Dubchak/Copyright 2022 The AP. All rights reserved
By Sasha Vakulina
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Ukraine Railway's heroic operations since the Russian invasion the company admits it was unprepared for

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When Ukrainians woke up to the sound of Russian missiles exploding in their towns and cities millions of them fled to train stations.

There were no tickets to safety as such, but there were trains to take them further west, away from the war.

Since the start of the Russian invasion, Ukraine Railways have transported four million people to Western Ukraine, and over half a million to destinations outside the country accordint to the Ukraine Railways Company.

They had to change the timetables daily, depending on where civilians needed to be evacuated from most urgently.

Getting on the train, people often didn't know where they were going to, but they knew where they were escaping from.

We are in a different environment. We are preparing for any scenario, that could happen
Oleksandr Kamyshin
CEO of Ukraine Railways

"Those days were a nightmare," Oleksandr Kamyshin, CEO of Ukrainian Railways told Euronews reporter Sasha Vakulina. "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 get first aid, medical aid, psychological aid, some food, hot tea, and get evacuated at the end of the day. Slow, uncomfortable, but get evacuated to a safer place.

"Like many people, like many companies, like many institutions in Ukraine we were preparing for the war. But we were not ready for such a kind of war: full-scale invasion with shelling, with air bombing and so on.

"So finally, I don’t want to be in that position anymore, when I wouldn’t be ready for something. That is why since summer we are ready for everything. We are in a different environment. We are preparing for any scenario, that could happen."

After Ukrainian forces pushed Russia back out of parts of Eastern Ukraine, the rail company wasted no time in resuming services there, according to Oleksandr Kamyshin:

"Kherson it took us a week. Me and my team were there on the second day after de-occupation, then on the 4th day, and then in a week. In a week we brought the first train. It was complicated because we had to repair the infrastructure, demine tracks, the stations and all the area."

Sasha Vakulina asked Oleksandr Kamyshin where he would like to go after a Ukrainian victory.

"If you remember the president said to David Letterman that one day he will go to a seashore and have some beer," he replied, "and on the president’s birthday I promised him a train to Crimea, to the seashore in Crimea. Probably I will take the same train."

Watch the video in player above.

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