The platform for Belgium's international community

Search form

menu menu
  • Daily & Weekly newsletters
  • Buy & download The Bulletin
  • Comment on our articles

Eurostar to transport Ukrainians to London for free

Eurostar train at Brussels-Midi station (c) Belga
16:39 02/03/2022

High-speed Eurostar trains will take Ukrainian refugees fleeing the Russian invasion to London for free, according to an announcement from the company. 

Ukrainian refugees who seek to enter the United Kingdom can board at stations in Brussels, Paris, Lille or Amsterdam at no cost, but do need a valid visa for the UK as well as their Ukrainian passport. 

“If you have a valid visa to enter the UK, along with your Ukrainian passport, please speak to a member of the Eurostar team at Paris Nord, Brussels-Midi, Lille Europe or Amsterdam Central stations, and they will issue a ticket for travel to London,” Eurostar explained on their website. 

“It is important to arrive with the necessary visa documents, as these will be checked by the UK Border Force during the check-in process. The UK government is regularly reviewing the criteria for Ukrainian refugees to enter the UK, so we would strongly recommend contacting the British Embassy or checking the UK government website for the latest information.”

Eurostar said they are unfortunately unable to facilitate travel for pets, though exceptions could possibly be made for service animals. Those with such circumstances are advised to speak to a Eurostar employee in the station. 

Mass departure from Ukraine

Ukrainian railways are in the meantime continuing to help foreigners leave Ukraine. According to the United Nations, almost 900,000 people have left Ukraine since 22 February. More than 50,000 foreigners left by railway transport in just six days.

Safe evacuation corridors have been organised for foreigners, and multilingual volunteers are assisting in railway stations, including 60 volunteers at Kyiv Central Station alone. 

Ukrainian railways publish timetables at around 21:00 each day. The schedule shows a number of trains bound for Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic.

Belgium joins other EU countries offering free train travel

The latest move follows Belgium and a number of other European countries also granting free train travel to Ukrainian refugees.

Belgium’s rail network SNCB and the federal minister for mobility Georges Gilkinet announced the initiative on Tuesday.

"It is a gesture of solidarity and humanity made by several railway companies in Europe. More than ever, mobility must be a freedom", said the minister.

Poland, Germany, Austria, France and the Netherlands have already adopted a similar measure, as has the high-speed service Thalys.

Photo : Eurostar train at Brussels-Midi (c) Belga/Jasper Jacobs

 

Written by Helen Lyons