Ukraine-Russia War: The Indian government refuted claims that Indian students were being kept as “hostages” in Ukraine on Thursday, saying it was in frequent contact with Indian people in Ukraine. “Our embassy in Ukraine maintains constant contact with Indian nationals in the country. We notice that, with the assistance of Ukrainian authorities, a large number of students departed Kharkiv yesterday. We have not received any reports of any student being held, hostage. We have asked Ukrainian authorities’ assistance in organising special trains to transport students from Kharkiv and nearby locations to the western portion of the nation “According to a statement issued by the Indian government.
This comes only one day after the Kremlin claimed that Indian students in Kharkiv had been “taken captive” by Ukrainian security forces who were using them as a “human shield” to “block them from departing for Russian territory.”
In response to media inquiries, Arindam Bagchi, the official spokeswoman for the Ministry of External Affairs, stated, “Our Embassy in Ukraine is in constant contact with Indian nationals in Ukraine.” We notice that, with the assistance of Ukrainian authorities, a large number of students departed Kharkiv yesterday. We have not received any reports of any student being held, hostage.”
The Russian assertion came shortly after Prime Minister Narendra Modi talked with Russian President Vladimir Putin about the situation in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s easternmost city, where over a thousand Indian students were claimed to be stuck. Meanwhile, India has already initiated ‘Operation Ganga’ to bring back Indian nationals and students who have become involved in the violence in Ukraine. The Indian embassy in Ukraine issued a caution to nationals on Wednesday, stating that they “must evacuate” Kharkiv immediately. The Russian army is attacking Kharkiv (Ukraine-Russia War).
“Russian armed forces are prepared to take all necessary precautions to ensure the safe evacuation of Indian people.” And transfer them home from Russian territory using its military transport planes or Indian jets, as suggested by the Indian side,” the ministry added.
Indian officials in New Delhi saw this as a challenging scenario in a combat zone where inhabitants have been hunkered down in bunkers and underground shelters and movement is restricted owing to a curfew-like condition on the streets.
It is believed that 4,000 Indians, largely medical students, are trapped in Ukraine’s eastern and northern regions, close to the Russian border. The Indian embassy in Ukraine has instructed those Indians stuck in Kharkiv to evacuate the fighting zone as soon as possible “by all means available, even on foot.”