Travel to Ukraine: Railways offer additional train services for people fleeing Russian invasion

The airspace above Ukraine closed to all commercial flights February 24 and a majority of nations advise against traveling to the country. But if the trip is essential and the planes don’t land, what are the alternatives?

Many trains are running but the stations are overwhelmed with passengers as people flee the Russian invasion. There are very few tickets available with some services now booked through March.

The latest announcement from Ukrainian Railway says around half a million people have so far been evacuated, with priority given to children, women and the elderly. Ukrainian men between the ages of 18 and 60 are not allowed to leave the country, according to the State Border Guard Service.

Most rail travelers flee Ukraine to neighboring states, and some cross-border routes run more refugee trains.

A number of trains currently run to Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic with a separate transport hub at Chop station. Depending on the flow of passengers, additional evacuation routes are planned from Kyiv to the western regions of the country.

Ukrainian Railways says it also provides assistance to foreign nationals who choose to stay in the country.

“Persons with passports of all other countries can leave the territory of Ukraine without restrictions. This also applies to men between the ages of 18 and 60,” the company states.

What about Ukrainians traveling to other parts of Europe?

There are also special considerations for those wishing to continue their journey once they have crossed the border. Germany’s national railway, Deutsch Bahn, is working with Polish Railways to add more carriages to refugee trains.

“From now on, refugees with Ukrainian passports or ID cards can use all long-distance trains from Poland to Germany for free,” the company wrote on Twitter.

Austria has also confirmed that Ukrainians fleeing the war can use OeBB trains without a ticket.

“At times like this, it’s our responsibility to help quickly,” tweeted Leonore Gewessler, the country’s transport minister.

The Czech Republic and Slovakia also guarantee free travel to Ukrainian refugees using their own railways.

Can you travel from Ukraine to Russia?

All railway lines between Ukraine and Russia have been destroyed, according to Ukrainian Railways. They were destroyed by the Ukrainian Armed Forces according to The Kyiv Independent.

“The level crossings between the countries that transported thousands of goods and brought millions of dollars to the economies of both countries have been destroyed,” the national rail operator said in a statement.

Reports indicate that he also terminated all relations and cooperation with Russian Railways.

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