In Kyiv’s railway station, rumours, near-mute stampedes and despair
KYIV, Ukraine — A crowd of tired, frightened women and children suddenly turned into a stampede at a station platform at Kyiv’s central railway station on Friday, where a train headed for safety in western Ukraine was rumored to be arriving soon.
“Quickly!” A mother shouted at her children. A couple ran, holding a small boy in their midst, so that his feet could touch the ground at a few steps.
An employee in the uniform of a train company made the crowd run away. “go Go!” said the woman. “Follow other people.”
But no train came. A few minutes later, people were moving again, climbing onto the tracks, pulling suitcases and trying to get to the other platform holding the children.
As Russian troops mass outside the city, there is a sense of a gradual tightening and a growing panic in some quarters.
Kyiv, a city of 2.8 million before the war, is gradually surrounded by Russian troops and armor. Most of the fighting so far has taken place in towns outside the city, where a mile-long column of Russian armored and military vehicles is stationed in the northwest.
The fear is that Russian forces will follow the same script as their attacks on Kharkiv and Mariupol, besieging the city, cutting off its residents from food and medicine supplies, depriving them of water, electricity, and heat, and There will be shelling in the neighbourhood.
Since the start of the war eight days ago, tens of thousands of people have fled to Kyiv, heading west to Lviv and then to Poland and other destinations in Europe. But tens of thousands more were left behind, and as escape routes became scarce, they were desperate to get out.
Roads and rail lines remain open in the south-west of the city. But the trains for the evacuated are so packed that only children get seats, almost not able to take everyone.
In time, a train finally arrived at the station and opened its doors. The people were quite calm and courteous, and there was little shaking as a few thousand women and children were tightly packed.
Nevertheless, when the train bound for Lviv, the platform remained crowded.
“It’s not the first day we tried,” said Kyiv resident Oksana Gorbula, who was traveling with her sister and two nieces. “Look at this crowd. We’ll never move, you can clearly see it.” She said they would probably stop fleeing the city and instead take refuge in the city’s subway system.
In a worrying sign, even as swarms of people sought to travel west, a new influx of displaced persons was rising from the northwest into the city. The trains arrived from Irpin, an outlying city where Ukrainian forces have put up a fierce defense against Russian forces. The cars are completely filled with women and children, as all men between the ages of 18 and 60 have been ordered to stay behind and aid the war effort.
A train conductor said Russian forces were now waging war on the railway track west from Irpin, forcing people to return to the city of Kyiv. The development suggested that the Russian military encirclement of the capital was tightening.
March 4, 2022, 10:38 PM ET
Chaotic scenes ensued as displaced people were coming west from distressed areas and thousands of others desperately tried to leave.
“I want to go to Lviv,” pleaded one woman, as the crowd gathered around her. “Where’s the train to Lviv?”
A couple stood watching. “Why are you running?” said the woman. “Let’s go back to the station and look for the right platform for the Kyiv-Lviv train.” But trains were departing randomly, and the timing of any announced schedule was too early.
“Look, people are panicking,” said Elizaveta, 45, who did not want to give her last name. “People see it getting worse and worse. We waited. But what’s to wait? Now we see it’s not going to get better.”
Tatyana Yanuk, who was hoping to move in with her one-and-a-half-year-old son, Roman, said she was trying to move to the western city of Khmelnitsky to be with relatives. He had packed only a small bag, leaving behind almost all of Roman’s toys, except for two illustrated books about the backhoe, one of his attractions. “He took a look and was really interested in how it digs,” she said.
On one of the platforms, an old woman, apparently alone, was crying, clearly confused and distressed.
what is ecs – After spending the day in a dungeon in Irpin to escape artillery shells outside, Victoria Grudenko and her 6-year-old daughter, Valeria, showed no sign of relief, arriving in Kyiv stone-faced on the stage and bemoaning the chaos. saw. station. Ms. Grudenko’s husband was not allowed to exit the train, which was reserved for women and children.
She said she did not know how she would leave Kyiv, but said she planned to make it to Europe. “We want to get out of Ukraine.”
Thousands of others found themselves in the same situation threshold limit meaning in banking.
When it became clear that every inch of the train to Lviv was full of people, the survivors stood on the platform looking for what to do or where to go.
Then the train, just a commuter train pressed into emergency service, jerked into motion and left hundreds of people behind with a whistling sound on the track and the wheels clasped.
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