Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a televised address on Thursday (March 3) night, said Ukraine has held hostage Indian students.
In a significant development on Thursday (March 3) night, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a televised address that more than 3000 Indian students have been held hostage by Ukraine in Kharkiv along with Chinese students.
In a significant development on Wednesday (March 2), the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry had said some Indian students were held hostage by Ukraine and were being used as human shields. Russia had added that it was trying for the urgent evacuation of Indian students from Ukraine.
This statement from Russia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry had come after a telephonic conversation between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In a statement, the prime minister’s office said, “The leaders reviewed the situation in Ukraine, especially in the city of Kharkiv where many Indian students are stuck. They discussed the safe evacuation of the Indian nationals from the conflict areas.”
At 5 pm (India time) on Wednesday (March 2), the Indian Embassy in Ukraine issued an urgent advisory saying, “URGENT ADVISORY TO ALL INDIAN NATIONALS IN KHARKIV. FOR THEIR SAFETY AND SECURITY THEY MUST LEAVE KHARKIV IMMEDIATELY. PROCEED TO PESOCHIN, BABAYE AND BEZLYUDOVKA AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. UNDER ALL CIRCUMSTANCES THEY MUST REACH THESE SETTLEMENTS *BY 1800 HRS (UKRAINIAN TIME) TODAY*.”
On Indian request, Russia had halted military operations for some time to help safe evacuation of Indian nationals, mostly students.
Denying any hostage like situation in Ukraine, the Ministry of External Affairs had said in a statement on Thursday (March 3), “Our Embassy in Ukraine is in continuous touch with Indian nationals in Ukraine. We note that with the cooperation of the Ukrainian authorities, many students have left Kharkiv yesterday. We have not received any reports of any hostage situation regarding any student. We have requested the support of the Ukrainian authorities in arranging special trains for taking out students from Kharkiv and neighbouring areas to the western part of the country.”
It had further said that the Union government is “coordinating effectively with the countries in the region, including Russia, Romania, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Moldova” for the safe evacuation of Indian nationals. The Ministry of External Affairs has started issuing emergency certificates to facilitate the evacuation of Indian nationals who have lost their passports and other papers.
The Union government has pressed the services of the Indian Air Force to facilitate the evacuation process. Four planes landed early morning today (March 3) in Uttar Pradesh Hindon Air Base with about 1000 students.
On Thursday (March 3), the MEA informed that about 20000 Indian nationals stranded in Ukraine, about 19000 have safely evacuated.
The Union government have deployed four Union ministers in the neighbourhood of Ukraine to smoothen the evacuation process.