Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 07.08.2018
Ukraine is considering cutting all rail connections with Russia. The proven risk of train passengers and railway staff being kidnapped and held hostage by the Russian regime of state terrorism is too great. Given that Russia invaded Ukraine on 20 February 2014 and has been waging war against Ukraine ever since, this step is long overdue.
On the television programme “Breakfast with 1+1” the Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine, Volodymyr Omelyan, was asked if Ukraine is about to stop railways with Russia. “We are currently considering the option of closing the rail link with Moscow,” he said. A year ago, when the same question was posed to the rail company PJSC “Ukrzaliznytsya” (Ukrainian Railways) a cut of the rail link with Russia was denied. Now, the Ukrainian government has had a change of heart.
Ukraine has long warned its citizens from travel to Russia. In October 2016 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine gave an online statement, which read: “On the territory of the aggressor-state, the number of unjustified detentions of our citizens has increased.” Ukrainian journalist Roman Sushchenko was arrested in Moscow merely for doing his job. He has been kept as a hostage of the Putin regime for 22 months. Ukrainian lawyer Ihor Kiyashko was arrested in Nizhny Novgorod on 9 April 2018 while trying to buy life-saving medication for his three-year-old son.
The Security Service of Ukraine advises that Russian special services are on the hunt for Ukrainian citizens. Russia is not a country that respects the rule of law. If Russian officials don’t like somebody, they will arrest them … and Russian officials don’t like Ukrainians.
The danger of train travel to the aggressor-state, Russia, was highlighted on 11 July 2018, when Serhiy Buhaichuk was arrested in Moscow. Serhiy Buhaichuk comes from Rivne in Ukraine and he works as a train host. He was taken hostage by the Federal Security Service of Russia and is being kept in the notorious Lefortovo prison. The Russian regime of state terrorism has concocted a fictitious criminal ‘charge’ under which Serhiy Buhaichuk could be incarcerated for between five and eight years.
On 25 October 2015 direct air travel was cut between Ukraine and Russia. On 20 February 2018 – four years to the day after Russia invaded Ukraine – the Russian Federation was declared to be an aggressor state under Ukrainian law. Over 70 Ukrainian citizens have been taken hostage by aggressor Russia and are being held on the territory of the Russian Federation and on the territory of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula which is temporarily Russian-occupied. Some of the Ukrainian hostages were kidnapped from Russian territory – Serhiy Buhaichuk was kidnapped off the train. Ukraine is fighting a war for national survival against foreign invasion from Muscovy. Ukraine should cut rail travel to Russia.