Russia’s invasion of Ukraine started on 24 February. At the time, everyone thought, and hoped, it would not last too long. Over 6 months later, it is still going on. Millions of people have had to leave their homes behind. Some fled by car, others resorted to trains.
Ukrainian Railways has partnered with famous artists in the country to create the Train to Victory, celebrating the railway employees who have been working tirelessly to help so many people get to safety. The project sees 7 carts of a train vividly coloured, one for each occupied region.
The now joyful carriages, contrasting their standard blue colour, are dedicated to Crimea, Mykolaiv, Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, Luhansk, all in the west of Ukraine, and Kharkiv. Although the latter is not occupied, it has been severely shelled. Each of the carts was painted by a different artist.
The Donetsk and Kharkiv carts were painted by members of the mural art collective Paint Hunters. The Donetsk also honours the soldiers who fought at Mariupol. The Kherson cart was painted by graffiti artist Maxim Kilderov with a multi-coloured doodle style design.
This is one of the projects in collaboration with artists and railway workers with the aim of conveying a message that unites the whole country. This is a message to victory and a message of memory and struggle.Sergiy Leshchenko, advisor of President Zelensky
One of President Zelensky‘s advisors, Sergiy Leshchenko, highlighted the fact that the train’s meaning is not only for the railway workers, but for the entire country. “For those cities that are occupied, for those people who were taken prisoner. For Azovstal, for Lysychansk, for Kherson. And at the same time, a message of victory in this war, which is inevitable”, he said.
On 23 August, the train left Kyiv and headed to Uzhhorod, a city on the border with Slovakia. After that, it went on to Kharkiv. Katya Taylor, one of the curators of the project, wishes for the carts to ultimately be separated and each headed to their representative regions when they are no longer occupied.