Evacuation train, beacon for people fleeing war in Ukraine

So far 10,000 people have been transported to safer places from Pokrovsk city railway station in Donetsk region, says official.

Evacuation train, beacon for people fleeing war in Ukraine

The evacuation train, the only rail service in Ukraine's Donetsk Oblast that takes civilians to safer sections of the country every evening, has so far transported around 10,000 people from Pokrovsk, some 100 kilometers (62 miles) away from frontline areas.

"So far, 10,000 people have been evacuated from here by the evacuation train," Inna Fomina, chief inspector of the Ukraine State Emergency Service in the Pokrovsk District, told Anadolu Agency.

People are not allowed to take buses due to the war, according to Fomina, adding that "they can only go by train."

The train service is free, she said, adding that two additional regular trains depart from the same railway station during the day, and some people are using them to flee warzones.

As Russia's war against Ukraine drags on, civilians from the frontline cities of Bahmut, Kramatorsk, Seversk, Slavyansk, and Konstantinovka, as well as nearby villages near the eastern Donetsk frontline, flocked to Pokrovsk to board the evacuation train.

The train departs from Pokrovsk every evening, first taking people to the city of Dnipro, according to Fomina, who described the process of removing people from danger zones and transporting them to other cities and towns.

Zoya Akberova, waiting for the train service in the ambulance with her sick, elderly mother, told Anadolu Agency that they could no longer stay in the region and wanted to leave.

The 64-year-old said they used to live in Lysychansk, part of the Luhansk region which was taken over by the Russian army in June, and then moved to the village of Verkhnekomenskoye, near the city of Bahmut, with her husband and elderly mother, and that they now have to leave.

"I’m taking my elderly and unwell mother to the city of Poltava. We don't have a place to stay there."

Russia's war on Ukraine has drawn international condemnation, led to financial sanctions on Moscow, and spurred an exodus of global firms from Russia.

At least 5,237 civilians have been killed and 7,035 injured in Ukraine since the beginning of the war on Feb. 24, according to the UN. It has warned, however, that the true toll is likely much higher as access to areas of increased hostilities remains restricted.

Some 10 million people have also fled to neighboring countries, said the UN refugee agency.

Hüseyin Demir