“It’s really important to us, even if it’s naive,” Oleksandr Kamyshin told CNN on Wednesday.
Kamisin, the top executive of the national rail system, called the move naive as a delegation of EU leaders announced their travel plans while they were still en route to the capital.
Ukraine’s rail system was not immune to these strikes. But on Tuesday morning, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced that he would travel to Kyiv with Slovenian Prime Minister Yanez Jansa and Czech Prime Minister Peter Fiala.
“I’ve been keeping them a secret, but I was surprised when I saw something posted online. I didn’t understand that,” Kamisin told CNN.
On the way, Morawiecki wrote in a Facebook post: “We have a responsibility to be the place where history is made. Because it’s not about us, it’s about the future of our children, who deserve to live in a world without tyranny. “
Fiala also tweeted, “The purpose of this visit is to confirm the unequivocal support of the entire EU for Ukraine’s sovereignty and independence.”
Safety has been a top priority for the 37-year-old railroad executive since the war began.
Over the past three weeks, Kamishin and his top lieutenants have traveled across the country, managing the railroad’s 321,000 employees and some 1,450 mobile stations. He believes that railway management is the target of Russian bombs, so maintaining a near-constant movement is a matter of personal safety.
“Even to my kids, I’m not going to tell them, ‘Hey, don’t reveal your location’ because everyone should understand this is war. I can’t instruct the prime minister,” he said.
According to Kamyshin, the prime minister’s idea was to take the train to Kyiv, thinking it was the safest mode of transportation.
He agreed, even though a railway station in Zaporozhye was hit by a Russian bomb shortly after their visit on Wednesday morning, leaving a crater-sized hole in the tracks and damaging the station.
“Any smart person these days would choose a train over a car,” he said. “Even with the bombing everywhere, the stations and trains are the safest places in the country right now.”
Kamyshin said the delegation was on a special train with four of the railway’s newest sleeping cars. The only other passengers were part of the delegation or security.
“It’s a normal, normal train with normal rail cars,” he said. “so [the delegation’s route] Not more special than others. …it’s also the same track that regular passengers ride on. “
The journey took about eight or nine hours, he said. The leader spent several hours with Zelensky and his team before returning to Poland by night train.
“For me, it’s the best assessment of rail if a foreign prime minister chooses rail over cars or helicopters or any other option,” he said.