Oleksandr Kamyshin, chairman of Ukrzaliznytsia — Ukraine’s state railway company — said Monday that Russian forces had struck five railway stations in central and western Ukraine.
“Russian troops continue to systematically destroy railway infrastructure,” he said in a statement. “This morning, within one hour, five railway stations in central and western Ukraine were struck.”
Kamyshin said at least 16 passenger trains would be held. He added that there were casualties, without providing specifics.
In a separate statement, Ukrzaliznytsia said there was no power on the Shepetivka – Koziatyn, Zhmerynka – Koziatyn, and Koziatyn – Fastiv lines, forcing delays.
Maksym Kozytskyy, the head of the Lviv regional military administration, gave details earlier Monday of a Russian strike that damaged a railway station in western Ukraine.
“Today, on April 25 at about 08:30 am, as the result of a missile attack, an explosion occurred at a substation of the Krasne railway station,” he said. “Units of the State Emergency Service are working on the site and extinguishing the fire.”
Kozytskyy said there was no information on casualties at this stage.
According to Kozytskyy, one of the incoming weapons was downed by anti-aircraft missile troops of the Air Command West of Ukraine’s air force. He said the missiles were launched into Ukraine from the southeast, saying Russian forces likely launched them from strategic bombers.
Some context: The Ukrainian rail system — one of the world’s largest — has become a vital cog in the country’s war effort, ferrying essential supplies in, and desperate civilians out of harm’s way.
Earlier this month, at least 50 people, including five children, were killed after Russian forces carried out a missile strike on a railway station in Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine, which was being used by civilians trying to flee the fighting.
By mid-March, barely three weeks into the war, the network said it had moved more than 2.1 million passengers domestically, plus roughly quarter of a million more who’d gone to Poland. Many more have followed since. Some train cars have been refitted to carry medical supplies to the front lines and the wounded to hospitals.
Not only is the railway having to coordinate military and passenger trains, as well as aid shipments, but freight routes are also being ramped up. The Russians have cut off Ukrainian access to many Black Sea ports, which is how nearly 95% of agricultural output is normally shipped to markets abroad.
Now, Ukrainian Railways is attempting to compensate by sending more trains to Europe loaded with grain and produce. That’s no small feat, considering Ukrainian tracks have a different gauge size than most European countries, so cargo has to be reloaded at the border.