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Remaining Indian students evacuated from Ukraine

India heaved a sigh of collective relief after news came from the government that the evacuation of nearly 700 Indian students stranded in Ukraine's Sumy has begun

Mar 08, 2022
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Remaining Indian students evacuated from Ukraine

India heaved a sigh of collective relief after news came from the government that the evacuation of nearly 700 Indian students stranded in Ukraine's Sumy has begun. Petroleum, Natural Gas and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, a former diplomat, told reporters that all 694 Indian students, who were stranded in Sumy, have left for Poltava in buses. "Last night, I checked with the control room, 694 Indian students were remaining in Sumy. Today, they have all left in buses for Poltava," Puri said.

A medical student at the Sumy university, who did not wish to be identified, confirmed that buses have arrived and students have started boarding the buses. "We have been told that we will go to Poltava. I am praying that we reach a safe zone and this misery is over," he was quoted as saying by PTI news agency.

Sumy, located near the Russian border and around 350 km east of Ukrainian capital Kyiv, has seen heavy fighting since the invasion. Today, at least nine people, including two children, died in an airstrike in the city, NDTV said. .

The students have been waiting for evacuation for days. On Saturday, unable to cope any longer with the bitter cold, depleting food and water supplies, the students shared videos saying they have decided to begin the risky journey to the Russian border 50 km away.  

But they were dissuaded by the government, which contacted them and asked that they "avoid unnecessary risks".

A plan to evacuate them yesterday fell through as Ukraine rejected a Russian plan for a humanitarian corridor to Russia and Belarus.

Soon after, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky on ways to begin the stalled evacuation process of the Indian students from Sumy.

India has so far evacuated over 20,000 students by 80 flights chartered by the Indian government, operated out of Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Poland, all countries bordering Ukraine. 

(SAM)

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