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The owner of Ukrainian Railways – POLITICO said that Russian bombs destroyed the train routes of refugees

LVIV, Ukraine – Russian forces are shelling parts of Ukraine’s rail network making it harder to evacuate hundreds of thousands of people trying to flee the conflict, according to Oleksandr Kamyshin, President of the Industry State-owned Ukrainian Railways.

“We keep repairing our infrastructure but they keep destroying it,” Kamyshin told POLITICO. “We keep fixing it and we do it in the fire, but we keep running the train.”

So far, he estimates the company has sent 670,000 people from the war-torn, eastern and southern center of Ukraine — along with 11,000 cats and dogs — west, either directly to the border or to cities like Lviv or Uzhhorod near the border with the EU.

“We have a daily schedule, updated at 9pm for the next day,” he said. “We see which cities are under control and then we go there.”

The Russian government insists it is not targeting civilian infrastructure, but there is growing evidence of indiscriminate bombing in cities like Kyiv and Kharkiv. Meanwhile, Ukrainian Railways repeatedly shared images on the Telegram messaging service of severe damage to passenger railway infrastructure including twisted metal, broken bridges and unexploded bombs and ammunition. .

On Wednesday morning, Ukrainian Railways said it was prepared to run an evacuation corridor for citizens trying to leave Volnovakha, a town located between Donetsk and Mariupol that is under heavy shelling.

Asked if the company needed technical support to keep its trains running, Kamyshin said the message was simple – the invasion needs to end: “Make Putin stop the war. That’s the only thing, we’re not going to stop.”

The company has now started production of the hedgehog anti-tank barricade while Ukraine International Airlines, the national airline, has asked its management to help staff pack trains and stations while still There is a ban on all commercial air transport.

As of Tuesday afternoon, traffic on many trains arriving from the east of the country had been delayed by at least five hours, although there were still cross-country services to Lviv from Lysychansk, in the east, bound for Uzhhorod just a few miles away. few kilometers from the border with Slovakia. Trains are still running eastward to central Ukraine.

Amid the steady stream of people heading west, the focus is also on promoting connectivity with EU countries. Kamyshin said he talked about plans to increase the capacity of railway lines to Poland with the country’s Transport Minister Andrzej Adamczyk late Tuesday.

There is now a regular humanitarian train departing from Lviv’s central station to the Medyka border with Poland, mainly for women and children although some foreigners are allowed on board. These services were packed with people trying to flee the country while on the return leg to Ukraine, the carriages were filled with water, food and medicine.

“We are constantly rotating them,” says Kamyshin of the effort to increase frequency.

From Wednesday, a free evacuation train running from Przemyśl to Prague will depart every night at 9:30 p.m., aiming to take refugees further into Central Europe. In the second leg against Poland, anyone prepared to fight for the Ukrainian government will be able to participate, the company said.

There are also five daily trains running from Kyiv to Przemyśl in Poland, and on Tuesday, Kamyshin said the company had started a separate line across the border to Chelm. When the conflict broke out, Czech Railways also offered to provide wagons to bring people out of Ukraine.

This article is part of POLITICOPremium service policy of: Pro Mobility. From automotive digitization to aviation policy, logistics and more, our specialist journalists keep you updated on the topics driving the Mobility Policy agenda. Email [email protected] for a free trial.

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Fry Electronics Team

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