Home front is a vital element of Ukrainian resilience against Russian invasion. One of the most crucial efforts is consistently made by Ukrainian railway – Ukrzaliznytsia – that keeps operating even during the large-scale war. Dedication and professionalism of its workers have allowed the evacuation of more than million people just during the first 50 days of the war, and did it under the extremely challenging circumstances. These challenges include the attacks against objects of transportation infrastructure, such as the missile strike on Kramatorsk railways station on April 8th, resulting in 59 people killed and more than 300 wounded. Trains themselves, including the evacuation ones, have been fired upon on several occasions. Approximately 1,000 employees of Ukrainian railways have been killed in their line of duty by the Russian invasion, helping fellow Ukrainians to get to safety.
First months were the hardest, with Ukrainian companies and people facing the new, rapidly changing reality and trying to adapt to it while saving fellow citizens and themselves in the decisive moments. Ukrainian railway was extremely quick in adapting, and this swiftness has potentially saved millions of lives. During the first month, pressure on the railways was extraordinary, with occasionally 3,000 people boarding one train and up to 20,000 people being located at the railway stations waiting for the opportunity to leave for a safer place.
10 railway stations across the country have been the busiest: Kyiv, Kharkiv, Kramatorsk, Lyman, Zaporizhzhia, Dnipro, Kryvyi Rih, Uzhhorod, Lviv and Odesa. And although Ukrzaliznytsia reports that the number of evacuees has dropped down significantly and now more people return to Ukraine and, those who have such a chance, to their home cities, new challenges lie ahead. Facing the new stage of military action, Ukrainian government once again strongly urges the evacuation of civilians from the eastern Ukraine. On July 30th Ukrainian government declared mandatory evacuation of civilians from the Donetsk region due to the intensifying hostilities, fear for their safety under potential occupation and destroyed infrastructure making the upcoming winter season extremely challenging. Ukrainian railways will once again play a vital role in the national resilience against Russian aggression – watch Ukraine In Flames #150 to learn how.
- Inha Dudnik, CEO at Terytoria Uspikhu NGO in Kropyvnytsky.
UKRAINE IN FLAMES project is created by Ukraine Crisis Media Center and NGO “Euroatlantic Course”. We are aiming at searching a loud support for Ukraine in the war started by Russia on the 24th of February 2022.
If you want to support Ukraine against Russian aggression, check the link with recommendations by Ukraine Crisis Media Center – https://uacrisis.org/en/help-ukraine.
NGO Euroatlantic Course collects donations to support Ukrainian Army and civilians – https://eac.org.ua/en/main-page/.