Russian and Ukrainian channels (Astra and Hotbird)

If you have a sat decoder, you can easily get several Russian channels for free.

In this guide we will only talk about the free channels which are available these two satellites:
Hotbird 13E and Astra 19.2E.

Here is the list of the Russian (and of other Russian speaking countries) channels with the settings for to catch them if you are not able to get them automatically.

Frequences and parameters for free to air decoders.
This list was updated 06/02/11

Satellite Hotbird 13E

Russian speaking channels

– 1TVRUS (Первый канал)

Freq. TP: 12597
Symbol rate: 27500
Pol.: V
PID Video: 0167
PID Audio: 0108
PCR PID: 0167

– Music Box Russia

Freq. TP: 11642
Symbol rate: 27500
Pol.: H
PID Video: 1301
PID Audio: 1302
PCR PID: 1301


Freq. TP: 12520
Symbol rate: 27500
Pol.: V
PID Video: 0603
PID Audio: 0604
PCR PID: 0603

– CNL Russia

Freq. TP: 10815
Symbol rate: 27500
Pol.: H
PID Video: 2012
PID Audio: 3012
PCR PID: 2012

– K+ (Kazakhstan)

Freq. TP: 11623
Symbol rate: 27500
Pol.: V
PID Video: 0261
PID Audio: 0271
PCR PID: 0261

– R1

Freq. TP: 11117
Symbol rate: 27492
Pol.: V
PID Video: 6601
PID Audio: 6611
PCR PID: 6601

– Vesti (Вести)

Freq. TP: 11034
Symbol rate: 27500
Pol.: V
PID Video: 1020
PID Audio: 1030
PCR PID: 1020

– RTR Planeta (РТР-Планета)

Freq. TP: 11034
Symbol rate: 27500
Pol.: V
PID Video: 820
PID Audio: 830
PCR PID: 820

– Smile of a Children (Улыбка ребёнка)

Freq. TP: 11566
Symbol rate: 27500
Pol.: H
PID Video: 8013
PID Audio: 8113
PCR PID: 8013

– TBN Russia (ТБН)

Freq. TP: 11566
Symbol rate: 27500
Pol.: H
PID Video: 8007
PID Audio: 8107
PCR PID: 8007

– Music one RU TV

Freq. TP: 11013
Symbol rate: 27500
Pol.: H
PID Video: 2014
PID Audio: 3014
PCR PID: 2014

– Sarafan

Freq. TP: 11034
Symbol rate: 27500
Pol.: H
PID Video: 320
PID Audio: 330
PCR PID: 320

– PALI Televison

Freq. TP: 11604
Symbol rate: 27500
Pol.: H
PID Video: 3710
PID Audio: 3720
PCR PID: 3710

NEW – Shanson

Freq. TP: 11034
Symbol rate: 27500
Pol.: V
PID Video: 320
PID Audio: 330
PCR PID: 320

NEW – Soyuz TV

Freq. TP: 10815
Symbol rate: 27500
Pol.: H
PID Video: 2013
PID Audio: 3013
PCR PID: 2013


Freq. TP: 12322
Symbol rate: 27500
Pol.: H
PID Video: 58
PID Audio: 59

NEW – Strana TV

Freq. TP: 11034
Symbol rate: 27500
Pol.: V
PID Video: 320
PID Audio: 330
PCR PID: 320

Canali Russi in altre lingue

(English language)

Freq. TP: 12015
Symbol rate: 27500
Pol.: H
PID Video: 527
PID Audio: 5664
PCR PID: 143

– Russia Today
(English language)

Freq. TP: 11319.50
Symbol rate: 27500
Pol.: V
PID Video: 1029
PID Audio: 1229
PCR PID: 1029

– Rusiya Al-Yaum
(Arabic language)

Freq. TP: 11319.50
Symbol rate: 27500
Pol.: V
PID Video: 1032
PID Audio: 1232
PCR PID: 1032

NEW – World Fashion Channel
(English language)

Freq. TP: 12322
Symbol rate: 27500
Pol.: H
PID Video: 72
PID Audio: 71

Canali multilingua

– RTG Russian Travel Guide
(Russian and English language, depend on the PID Audio)

Freq. TP: 12380
Symbol rate: 27500
Pol.: H
PID Video: 3333
PID Audio: 3344 (Russo) 3343 (Inglese)
PCR PID: 3333

– Euronews
(Russian language)

Freq. TP: 12597
Symbol rate: 27500
Pol.: V
PID Video: 2221
PID Audio: 2237
PCR PID: 2221

Satellite Astra 19.2E

– Euronews
(Russian language)

Freq. TP: 12226.50
Symbol rate: 27500
Pol.: H
PID Video: 2432
PID Audio: 2439
PCR PID: 2432

– Russia Today
(English language)

Freq. TP: 115380
Symbol rate: 22000
Pol.: V
PID Video: 604
PID Audio: 624
PCR PID: 604

There are of course also other satellites such as:

– Express am1 40E: Very good for to get Russian channels.
– Sirius 4.8E and Amos 4W: They both offer several Ukrainian channels.

These satellites are not so easy to get, at least form Italy.


More info on sat-tv:

Train in Ukraine: Stolychnyi ekspres (столичний експрес)

In Ukraine there are also trains which are more similar to our intercities than to a standard elektrichas. These trains are called Stolychnyi ekspres (столичний експрес) and they connect Kyiv with Kharkiv and Dnipropetrovsk.

They are composed by wagon of first and second class with only sitting places divided in compartment of 6 places (we tried only the first class).

Stolychnyi ekspres Kyiv – Kharkiv

Locomotiv Siemens. Train Kyiv - KharkivLocomotiv Siemens. Train Kyiv – Kharkiv

Locomotiv stolychnyi ekspresLocomotiv stolychnyi ekspres

Train Kyiv - KharkivTrain Kyiv – Kharkiv

Stolychnyi ekspres, waiting at the Kyiv's stationStolychnyi ekspres, waiting at the Kyiv’s station

Wagon of the train Kyiv - KharkivWagon of the train Kyiv – Kharkiv

Stolychnyi ekspres Kyiv – Dnipropetrovsk

Train Kiev - DnipropetrovskTrain Kiev – Dnipropetrovsk

Stolichniy-express to DnipropetrovskStolichniy-express to Dnipropetrovsk

Inside wagons

First class wagons are quite clean and offer a good comfort.

Corridor train Kyiv - DnipropetrovskCorridor train Kyiv – Dnipropetrovsk

Corridor first class wagon, stolychnyi ekspresCorridor first class wagon, stolychnyi ekspres

The are equipped with very nice reclining seats and in the middle of the compartment there is also a small table.

Compartment of the train Kyiv - DnipropetrovskCompartment of the train Kyiv – Dnipropetrovsk

As in the “renewed” wagons, there is a control panel (lights, radio, wc status and AC plug).

The control panel inside the compartmentThe control panel inside the compartment

In each compartment there are 2 monitors where is possible to watch movies in Russian language.

One of the monitors, train Kyiv - DnipropetrovskOne of the monitors, train Kyiv – Dnipropetrovsk

Toilets of the train

There are 2 WC for each wagon and, at least in the first class, they look even better that the ones available on the renewed sleeping cars. They look very clean and have also a dispenser of hygienic paper covering for WC.

Toilet of the train Kyiv - DnipropetrovskToilet of the train Kyiv – Dnipropetrovsk

WC of the train Kyiv - DnipropetrovskWC of the train Kyiv – Dnipropetrovsk

Price of the tickets

First class tickets are quite expensive if compared with the elekrickas’ ones. Anyway it is possible to feel the difference.
The first class during our trip was almost empty.

One way ticket for the route Kyiv – Kharkiv
1 class: 176.17 UAH
2 class: 104.43 UAH

Videos of Ukrainian trains

Train “Zakarpattia” departing from Kiev:

Freight train in Donetsk:

Other kind of Ukrainian trains

Elektrichka (Электричка) or Elektropoezd

Overnight trains

Train timetable (site in Russian and Ukrainian)

How to: Call from a landline phone in Ukraine (New rules Oct. 14th 09)

If you are in Ukraine and you want to call somebody using a land line telephone, you will need to follow a specific syntax for to dial the number.

NEW Rules

Since October 14th, the rules for to call within Ukraine and from Ukraine to abroad changed.
In this way the new syntax is more similar to the one of western European countries.

To call a different oblast, you don’t need anymore to dial 8 before the area code. The same happen if you want to call a mobile phone.
For to call abroad simply dial 0 before the country code at the place of the old 8 10.

Another change concern the area code of the Kiev oblast. The prefix change from 044 t0 045.
The city of Kiev stay with the old 044.

Local calls

Dial the number without area code.
ex.: if you are in Kiev and you want to call within the city, dial the number without 044.

Calls outside the city

Dial: (area code) number.
ex.: for to call Donetsk: 062 followed by the number.

International calls

Dial: 0 and wait for the beep then dial (country code) (area code)  number.
ex.: for to call Milan: 0 03902 followed by the number.

Mobile phone (within Ukraine)

Dial: full number starting from the 0 and not from the 8.

es.: if the number is 8093… simply dial 093.

Call costs

Lets see how much costs to call from a land line phone in Ukraine, the following rates are the ones of Ukrtelecom.

Local calls

A particular number of minutes is included in the account, you pay a fixed amount of money every month and you get several free minutes of conversation. When you pass the number of free minutes, you will have to pay few Kopiykas for each minute of conversation.

ex. of rate:

19,73 Hryvnia for a max of 200 min/month.
Between 200 and 840 minutes you have to pay 5,4 Kopiykas/minute.
After this limit you will pay for each extra minute 3,78 Kopiykas.

So if you want make a call within the city from your hotel or a rented flat, it should be free. For us it was exactly in this way. (anyway ask before to call)


Calls outside the city

There are two different rates, one for the calls placed inside the oblast’ and another one for all the other ones no matter how far is the tow you want to call.


Calls within the oblast’

-working days
8-18: 0,48 Hryvnia
18-23: 0,29 Hryvnia
23-8: 0,24 Hryvnia

-Saturday, Sunday and holidays
0,18 Hryvnia (all day long)

Outside the oblast’

-working days
8-18: 0,60 Hryvnia
18-23: 0,42 Hryvnia
23-8: 0,36 Hryvnia

-Saturday, Sunday and holidays
0,34 Hryvnia (all day long)


International calls

The rate vary according to the country you want to call and by the daytime of your call
The countries are devided in 7 areas. All prices are in USD.

Rates for to call the USA and Canada
area 4, North America

8-18: 0,36 USD
18-8 and holidays: 0,29 USD

Rates for to call Great Britain
area 6, western and central Europe, Oceania, Africa, Asia etc…
(almost the most expensive area)

8-18: 0,60 USD
18-8 and holidays: 0,48 USD

The same rates apply also for to call mobile subscribers.


Ukrainian Trains

In a large country as Ukraine, trains are most of all composed by sleeping cars. They usually travel during the night taking in average about 10 hours to reach the final destination.

The train depart usually in the late afternoon ad arrive at destination the next morning. This happen on routes as Kiev – Donetsk, Kiev – Ivano – Frankovsk. On other routes as Donetsk – Lvov, the trip last even more than 1 day.

The locomotives

Some are electrical and other are Diesel. We are not expert so we just public some photos of them.

Electrical Ukrainian locomotiveElectrical Ukrainian locomotive

Ukrainian locomotiveUkrainian locomotive

Old Ukrainian locomotiveOld Ukrainian locomotive

The sleeping cars

The carriages are characterized by their typical light blue color with yellow stripe. There anyway wagons with different colors as the one of the train Uzgorod – Kiev.

Several trains also have a specific name ex. Donbass  for the Donetsk – Kiev, Dnipro for the Dnepropetrovsk – Kiev etc…

Sleeping car "Donbass" Donetsk - KievSleeping car  “Donbass” Donetsk – Kiev

Train "Azov", Mariupol - KievTrain “Azov”, Mariupol – Kiev

Train "Zakarpattia", Uzgorod - KievTrain “Zakarpattia”, Uzgorod – Kiev

The name and the destination are written on a plate on both sides of the wagon.

"Donbass", Donetsk-Kiev“Donbass”, Donetsk-Kiev

Prikarpattia, Ivano-Frankisvsk - Kyiv“Prikarpattia”, Ivano-Frankisvsk – Kyiv

Apart from the “traditional” wagons, there are also renewed carriages which especially inside are much better than the previous ones.

Renewed wagon, train "Donbass"Renewed wagon, train “Donbass”

Renewed wagon of the train Lviv - KyivRenewed wagon of the train Lviv – Kyiv

A part of the normal sleeping cars exist also a restaurant wagon.

Restaurant wagon, train "Donbass"Restaurant wagon, train “Donbass”

Interior of the sleeping cars

Mainly the wagons are possible to be divided in these 3 typologies:

First class: Lyuks (Люкс) compartments with only 2 beds  (and extra comforts)

Second class: Kupe (Купе) compartment with 4 beds, 2 up and 2 down

Third class: Platskart (Плацкарт) there is not division in compartments. You have more than 3 neighbors…

In some trains exist also a forth class Zahal’nyi (Загальний), where there are only sits and not beds.

A big difference consist in the age of the carriage and if the wagon was renewed or not.

Kupe class “traditional” wagons

These wagons can be quite good (even if not renewed) as the ones of the “Donbass” (see photo) or to be rather old as the ones of the Donetsk – Sevastopol or the ones of  the “Prikarpattia”.

In general, the standard comfort are:

–  “Clean” bed linen (at least they are given in a sealed package)

– Radio and lights for the whole compartment

– A personal light next to every bed.

– Clotheshorses

– Boxes where to put the luggage (over the door and under the two down beds)

– Power plugs, usually only inside and next to the toilet (often they don’t work)

– Heating system and conditioned air (not always working property and sometimes not even available)

There are 2 toilets for every wagon.

Entrance wagon Kupe, "Prikarpattia"Entrance wagon Kupe, “Prikarpattia”

Train Donbass, Donetsk – Kiev

Entrance of the corridor, train "Donbass"Entrance of the corridor, train “Donbass”

Corridoio vagone Donetsk - KievCorridor wagon Donetsk – Kiev

Compartment Kupe, train Donetsk - KievCompartment Kupe, train Donetsk – Kiev

Stair to the upper bed, train Donetsk - KievStair to the upper bed, train Donetsk – Kiev

Upper bed with mattressUpper bed with mattress

Control panel, train "Donbass"Control panel, train “Donbass”

Train Lviv – Donetsk

Corridor of the wagon, train Lviv - DonetskCorridor of the wagon, train Lviv – Donetsk

Upper bed with bed linenUpper bed with bed linen

Train Donestk – Sevastopol

Small table, train Donetsk - SevastopolSmall table, train Donetsk – Sevastopol

Upper bed with light, train Donetsk - SevastopolUpper bed with light, train Donetsk – Sevastopol

Between all these trains the most comfortable was the “Donbass”. The worst was the Sevastopol also because when we tried it was winter and the radiators were extremely hot and the air inside the compartment was very heavy.

Renewed wagons

These carriages are completely renewed. They look clean and modern. In general they don’t have anything to envy to the western ones.

Inside the compartments there is a special control panel which also tell if the WC are busy or not. On it there is also a power plug every useful for to reach PC or mobile phones.

The toilets are much, much better than the previous ones.

Train Donbass, Donetsk – Kiev

Entrance train "Donbass", renewed wagonEntrance train “Donbass”, renewed wagon

Corridor renewed wagon, train "Donbass"Corridor renewed wagon, train “Donbass”

Compartment, train Donetsk - KievCompartment, train Donetsk – Kiev

Upper bed, train "Donbass"Upper bed, train “Donbass”

Kupe, "Donbass" Donetsk - KievKupe, “Donbass” Donetsk – Kiev

Luggage boxLuggage box

Control panel of the compartmentControl panel of the compartment

Train “Lviv”, Lviv – Kyiv

Renewed wagon train "Lviv"Renewed wagon train “Lviv”

Compartment train "Lviv"Compartment train “Lviv”

Bed and mattress, train  Lviv - KyivBed and mattress, train  Lviv – Kyiv

The toilets

They are usually not hygienic and essential. Especially before the arrival (so after the night) they are dirty and the floor is often wet.

Much better are the ones of the renewed wagons.

“Normal” wagons

Toilet, train "Donbass"Toilet, train “Donbass”

Sink, Ukrainian trainSink, Ukrainian train

WC train Lviv - DonetskWC train Lviv – Donetsk

Renewed wagons

Sink, train "Donbass"Sink, train “Donbass”

WC, train Donetsk - KievWC, train Donetsk – Kiev


The prices of the tickets change according to the distance, the class and the kind of the wagon. The renewed wagons cost a bit more (but the difference of price is truly worthy).



First class: about 500 uah (100 usd)

Second class: about 125 uah (25 usd)

Third class: about 80 uah (16 usd)

The best one is the Kupe (quality/price).

The first class can costs even more than to take the plane.

Remember to book as soon as you can or you risk to don’t find any ticket left.

Keep your ticket in a place where you can easily reach it. The woman of the carriage will ask it two times:
1 before you to come inside her wagon
2 when the train depart and in this occasion she will not give it back (when you are close to your destination, you can ask her to give it back to you).


-As rule, the down beds are considered to be the best, since you can also sit there and not only to lie down… and for this reason are also the first that are sold out.
Grannies and grandpa will aspect you to give them such place even if you own a ticket for such place.

-Before to lay down on your bed, you need to “make the bed”
you will find there a kind of mattress, a pillow, several “clean” shits and an heavy blanket.
Prior to your arrival, you have to put everything as it was before and give all those “clean” shits to the woman of the train.

For to know how to read Ukrainian tickets:

Videos of Ukrainian trains

Train “Zakarpattia” departing from Kiev:

Other types of Ukrainian trains

Elektrichka (Электричка) o Elektropoezd:

Freight train in Donetsk:

Ukrainian train timetable (only in Russian and Ukrainian)

Trains in Ukraine, Elektrichka (Электричка)

The Elektrichka (Электричка)is the typical Ukrainian local train. Called also elektropoezd (электропоезд) is popular on the short routes where it is possible to arrive at destination in few hours.

They are multiple unit trains and they don’t have sleeping cars but normal passengers cars of first and second class.

As always a significant difference is the age of the train. There are new Elektrichka called “comfort” and old ones that of comfortable have really very few…

Usually the newest Elektrichka are operative on the main lines as Dnipropetrovsk – Donetsk, and the other ones are more popular on less important routes.

Here are several photos of different Elektrichka (modern ones).

Elektrichka Dnipropetrovsk – Donetsk

An elektrichka at the Dnipropetrovsk's railway stationAn elektrichka at the Dnipropetrovsk’s railway station

Elektrichka's wagonsElektrichka’s wagons

Elektrichka Dnepropetrovsk - DonetskElektrichka Dnepropetrovsk – Donetsk

Elektrichka Kiev – Khmnelnitskiy

Elektrichka Kiev - KhmnelnitskiyElektrichka Kiev – Khmnelnitskiy

The elektrichka waiting in KievThe elektrichka waiting in Kiev

Elektrichka alla stazione di Kiev (Vydubichi) local service

Elektrichka at Vydubichi (Kiev)Elektrichka at Vydubichi (Kiev)

Elektrichka at Vydubichi (Kiev)Elektrichka at Vydubichi (Kiev)

Inside the wagons

The quality of wagons ad of the seats depend not only on the class but also on the kind of Elektrichka. You can find carriages with comfortable seats + small table and tv (if it works) and other ones with simple wooden seats.

Elektrichka Kiev – Khmnelnitskiy (inside the first class)

First class elektrichka Kiev - KhmnelnitskiyFirst class elektrichka Kiev – Khmnelnitskiy

Elektrichka, first class (notice TV)Elektrichka, first class (notice TV)

Elektrichka Dnepropetrovsk – Donetsk (First class)

Elektrichka's wagonElektrichka’s wagon

Elektrichka's seats. Dnepropetrovsk - DonetskElektrichka’s seats. Dnepropetrovsk – Donetsk

Having traveled on all these trains, we can say the elektrichka Kiev – Khmnelnitskiy was more comfortable than the one between Dnipropetrovsk – Donetsk even if from outside the second one looks better.


The toilets of the Elektichka are not better than the ones of the overnight trains.
They only offer a simple faucet and a turkish WC and they are not even available on all carriages.

The WC of an elektrichkaThe WC of an elektrichka

Price of the tickets

They are quite cheap even if you chose the first class.
For the route Dnipropetrovsk – Donetsk we paid just 29 Hryvnia head (less than 2 euro).

At least for in the first class, you can’t sit where you want. Your place is booked when you buy the ticket.

Train timetable (site in Russian and Ukrainian)