Amidst an escalating offensive on Ukraine by Russia on Wednesday, the Russian Defence Ministry has alleged that the Ukrainian forces have kept a large number of Indian students as “hostages” in Kharkiv.
The Russian military spokesperson informed that “According to our information, the Ukrainian authorities are forcibly keeping a large number of Indian students in Kharkiv, who wished to leave the country and go to Belgorod.”
“In fact, they are kept as hostages. Russian forces are set to take all required measures for the safe evacuation of the Indian nationals and make them reach the Russian territory with our own military transport planes or Indian planes, as proposed by India,” he added.
This comes hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin regarding the tense situation of the thousands of Indian students stranded in Kharkiv.
The female students are already towards the western borders through train with the help of Russians and the efforts are on to evacuate male students too, said the sources.
Meanwhile, the students stranded in Kharkiv faced hardships at the railway station. The students complained that they were intimidated, kicked and disallowed to board the trains, leading a number of them to start walking and reach one of the three locations – asked by the government in an all-caps tweet. The tweet by the Indian embassy asked the Indian nationals to leave the Ukrainian city – Kharkiv by 6 in the evening (Ukrainian Time) and reach the nearest three spots, between 11 to 16 km away.
The second-largest city of Ukraine – Kharkiv is virtually under the control of Russia, according to the Russian claims. However, the Russian side has said that they will help Indian nationals to reach their nation via their borders. Although, since the war began, two Indian students have lost their life. One, who hailed from Karnataka, died in Russian shelling and another one, who hailed from Punjab, died due to stroke.