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What it’s like to flee Ukraine

Ukrainians’ exodus by rail, explained.

Christina Thornell is a senior producer for the Vox video team.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began on February 24, more than 3 million people have been forced to flee 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.

For more videos on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, watch our playlist here. And you can find this video and all of Vox’s videos on YouTube.