Czech Railways sends aid to Ukraine, offers free transport for citizens

The Czech Republic's largest rail operator has sent two trains full of humanitarian aid to Ukraine, and also offers free transport to all Ukrainians.

Jason Pirodsky

Written by Jason Pirodsky Published on 26.02.2022 09:34:00 (updated on 26.02.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

As Russian forces continue to march through Ukraine, neighbors in Europe are doing what they can to help. Czech Railways, the Czech Republic's largest train operator, sent two passenger trains full of humanitarian aid to Ukraine yesterday evening.

The supplies carried by the trains, including blankets and bottled water, are primarily intended to assist anyone who will travel on them back to the Czech Republic. They will be able to do so free of charge.

The two trains sent by Czech Railways have a total capacity of 1,400 people. They were sent last night to the Polish city of Przemyśl, on the Polish-Ukrainian border, and will carry refugees from Ukraine to the Czech Republic on Saturday morning.

Update: one of the trains has begun its journey back to the Czech Republic this morning. Because many of the refugees wish to travel to Krakow, Katowice and Warsaw, Czech Railways has agreed with Polish rail operators to use the second train to transport refugees within Poland.

According to Czech Railways spokesperson Vanda Rajnochová, the only passengers aboard the trains last night were Red Cross paramedics and staff from Czech Television.

Czech Railways will transport the refugees leaving Ukraine free of charge. Earlier on Friday, the company announced that all Ukrainian citizens would be able to ride their trains free of charge, meaning those headed in the other direction would also have free travel.

"Ukrainian citizens now returning to their homeland, e.g. due to general mobilization, can take advantage of free transportation on all our trains, including trains requiring advance reservation," Czech Railways wrote on Facebook yesterday.

"With immediate effect, travelers who have a Ukrainian passport can travel free of charge on all Czech trains throughout the territory of the Czech Republic," Czech Railways writes.

"These passengers are allowed to travel without reservation. This measure will be valid until further notice."

Czech Railways has also coordinated their efforts with Slovakia's main rail carrier ZSSK, ensuring free travel from Ukraine through the heart of Europe. All travelers with a Ukrainian passport may travel for free on Czech Railways and ZSSK trains, meaning travel in both directions will be provided free of charge to Ukrainians until further notice.

The Czech Republic also suspended its coronavirus-related travel restrictions for Ukrainian citizens, allowing travel to the country without proof of Covid vaccination status or testing.

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