‘Go f— yourself’: what Ukrainian Railways told its Russian counterpart during the war

‘Go f— yourself’: what Ukrainian Railways told its Russian counterpart during the war

The head of Ukrainian Railways told his Russian counterparts to “go f— themselves” after they tried to reach out to reconnect a destroyed railway.

Alexander Kamyshin, head of Ukrainian Railways, said that he had been contacted only once by his Russian counterparts during the early stages of the conflict.

He added: “It was the second or third day of the war when all the tracks between Russia and Ukraine had been blown up, when I had a request from Russian Railways offering to reconnect the connection, for security reasons.

“My answer was the same as the answer to the Russian warship, my official answer was Russian military train, ‘Go f— yourself’”.

Mr Kamyshin was speaking ahead of the anniversary of the conflict on February 24 and before the arrival of Joe Biden, who was transported on a Ukrainian Railway train during his visit.

During the war, the Ukrainian Railways have been regarded as a crucial lifeline for the country, having transported four million people, including one million children, to safety during the conflict.

It has also been crucial to the military efforts, with Mr Kamyshin saying that there was a motto in the country, of “first go tanks, and then go trains”.

This was reflected in the moments after Ukrainian Forces had taken back Kherson, with Ukrainian Railway staff and special forces the first people in the city following Russia’s retreat.

He said: “We quickly opened a humanitarian hub in the station and within days we launched electricity in the station and then for a week it was the only place in the city with electricity.”

Memorable journey

Within eight days, the Ukrainian Railways were running their first services into Kherson, with several ministers and international journalists on board, a journey Mr Kamyshin said he would remember all his life.

Despite the war officially beginning in February last year, Mr Kamyshin indicated that the Ukrainian Railways and other parts of the Ukrainian State had been preparing for a potential invasion from Russia.

He said: “We were all doing necessary preparatory work for the risk of war [months before February 2022].

“I can’t disclose because of security reasons but it was not the stuff we should do to get ready for the kind of war we have seen.”

During the past 12 months, the Ukrainian Railways has seen more than 9,000 of its staff join the Ukrainian Armed Forces, with 319 of its staff members dying so far while in battle or working.

Top soldiers

Mr Kamyshin, who regularly visits the frontlines on his weekends, said that railway workers were often know as “iron people” and were among the most disciplined and best performing soldiers.

The Ukrainian Railways boss also pointed to the cargo transported by his trains as a crucial part of helping Ukraine’s recovery, and he wanted to increase this in the coming months.

Some of the cargo currently being transported by Ukrainian Railways includes Russian bodies that have been sent back to their families.

“After the war I would like to be fine looking in the mirror and looking into the eyes of my sons, and that means we should treat, properly, the bodies of other people, even if they are Russian soldiers.

“Many people say we treat dead Russians better than they treat alive Russians.”

‘Go f— yourself’: what Ukrainian Railways told its Russian counterpart during the war

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