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Ukrainians’ escape by rail, explained

What it’s like to flee Ukraine

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Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began on February 24, more than 3 million people have been forced to flee their homes and leave the country. The vast majority are migrating west, toward the EU, and most are ending up in neighboring Poland. To escape the violence of the ground more than 2 million refugees have escaped by train, turning Ukraine’s railroad network into a vital lifeline.

We sent a crew out to Przemyśl, a small Polish town on the border with Ukraine, to speak with the people who have fled Ukraine and left everything behind. In this video, we share their stories and take a look at how the railroad is operating in a war-torn country. To help us understand what a difficult operation this is, we spoke to the CEO of Ukrainian Railways, Oleksandr Kamyshin, who is running a mobile command unit to ensure Ukrainians can board trains and get to safety.

To hear their stories and understand the arduous journey many make by rail, watch our video.

Note: The headline on this piece was updated.
Previous headline: What it’s like to flee Ukraine

Sources and further reading:

A big challenge we faced making this video was keeping our numbers current. Every day, the UNHCR publishes new data about refugee migration. For the latest numbers, you can visit their data portal here:
https://data2.unhcr.org/en/situations/ukraine#_ga=2.66752429.286565108.1646795311-1052321898.1646795311

You can follow the Ukrainian Railways on Telegram for updated information:
https://t.me/UkrzalInfo

To understand the Temporary Protection Directive in more detail, here’s the EU’s press release that links to the full document:
https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_22_1469

To understand the racism experienced at the border by refugees of color, we recommend you read Vox’s article by Rajaa Elidrissi and Nicole Narea:
https://www.vox.com/22962300/ukraine-russia-refugee-racism

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