Biden’s Train Visit to Kyiv Took Courage and Confidence: The Tools of Victory

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Rail-Force One: The U.S. President, who normally only takes his own secure transportation, spent 20 hours on a Ukrainian train.

by Joe Lindsley

This photo of President Biden on the train from Poland to Kyiv, Ukraine is remarkable for many reasons:

When has the U.S. president traveled in vehicles that are not his own? Besides the Queen’s Landrover, probably never. But he took a train, the safest way to war-time Kyiv, for 20 hours round trip! That does say something.

And note the icon of the Virgin Mary, above the doorway, in this special Ukrainian train Biden took. Ukraine is civilization and culture. Russia, despite all the blah-blah of Putin’s speech today, is a maniacal sick society hellbent on destruction. 

I’ve long appreciated the Ukrainian trains, whether traveling through the gentle Carpathian mountains or the wild steppes. You can economically book a private first class room–and enjoy a journey through Europe’s largest country. In war-time there’s tape on the windows to reduce shatter in case of missiles. 

Read also: Biden’s visit to Kyiv evidences the decision to accelerate the end of the war, – Petro Chernyk

Since Russia’s full-scale invasion, all kinds of foreign celebrities and politicians have experienced the comfort and professionalism of Ukrainian trains–and now so has the American president, known in his long Senate career for commuting by train from Washington to his Delaware home. 

Alexander Kamyshin, the chief of Ukraine’s rail network, and his team have kept Ukrainian trains amazingly running on time or close to it, even on days of heavy Russian missile attacks. Kamyshin, who has a vibrant Twitter feed, apologized that as a result of the logistics around bringing the U.S. president via train to and from Kyiv, «only 90 percent» of Ukrainian trains were on time that day. 

Biden’s visit boosted spirits of Ukrainians from Lviv to Kyiv to Kharkiv–a vital thing during this heavy anniversary week when many expect something wicked from Moscow. But a serious question remains after Biden’s visit: Will the U.S. now send Ukraine the long-range offensive weapons it needs to push back against Russia for a decisive victory?

I write this from Kharkiv, where frequently Russian missiles land before the air-alarm can sound, because the city is just 30 mile from the Russian border. Until Ukraine has the blessing and the weapons from the West, especially Washington, to target military sites in Russia, Ukrainian cities will remain sitting ducks. 

But perhaps taking that train to and from Kyiv was a profound turning point. Going to a dangerous place, the American president gambled, or knew, that Putin would not dare touch him. It took courage and confidence, the tools of victory. 

Joe Lindsley, editor of, is a daily war correspondent on Chicago’s WGN Radio. You can follow his reports on YouTube.

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Lviv Now is an English-language website for Lviv, Ukraine’s «tech-friendly cultural hub.» It is produced by Tvoe Misto («Your City») media-hub, which also hosts regular problem-solving public forums to benefit the city and its people.

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