India on Saturday said it is “deeply concerned" about the Indian students stranded in eastern Ukraine’s Sumy city amid the conflict and appealed to them to remain inside their shelters to avoid any untoward situation. Arindam Bagchi, the spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), said New Delhi has strongly asked both Russia and Ukraine through multiple channels for an immediate ceasefire for their safe exit from the conflict zone.
This appeal by the MEA comes after some students from Sumy shared a video on social media platforms informing the government that they have left for Mariupol amid shells raining down from above and armed men roam the streets in Sumy.
“We are deeply concerned about Indian students in Sumy, Ukraine. Have strongly pressed Russian and Ukrainian governments through multiple channels for an immediate ceasefire to create a safe corridor for our students," Bagchi tweeted.
Advising students to take safety precautions, he said, “Have advised our students to take safety precautions, stay inside shelters and avoid unnecessary risks."
Have advised our students to take safety precautions, stay inside shelters and avoid unnecessary risks.Ministry and our Embassies are in regular touch with the students.
— Arindam Bagchi (@MEAIndia) March 5, 2022
On Friday, the MEA spokesperson had said around 700 Indians were stranded in Sumy. Bagchi said the MEA and Indian embassies are in regular touch with the students.
STUDENTS PLEAD FOR EVACUATION
A bunch of Indian students stranded in conflict zone Sumy took to social media to plead for evacuation. Staring at fast-depleting food and water supplies, they are posting updates every few hours, and urging the government to rescue them immediately before the situation worsens and they are “reduced to bodies".
One of them, Mahek Shaikh, shared an eight-second video clip on Thursday of what appeared to be a blast in the town. “Complete city blackout, no electricity and water supply and multiple bomb blasts nearby. Slow network," she wrote in the post.
Another medical student, Radhika Sangwan, said 700-800 students are stranded in Sumy, and there was no confirmed news on their evacuation. “I am a student in Sumy, Ukraine. YES WE EXIST!!! There are 700-800 students in Sumy. It’s the 7th day of attack and there is no confirmed news on our evacuation. Stress, fear and anxiety are getting to us. Hope is lost. Please help," Sangwan tweeted on Thursday.
On Sunday, the Indian embassy in Ukraine said intense fighting was underway in Kharkiv, Sumy and Kyiv, and urged Indians in these cities and wherever curfew has been applied to not venture towards railway stations until such curbs are lifted and considerable civilian movement is renewed. According to several reports, trains and buses have stopped plying in Sumy, roads and bridges out of the city destroyed and fighting was underway on the streets.
India has been evacuating its citizens through special flights from Ukraine’s western neighbours such as Romania, Hungary and Poland as the Ukrainian airspace has been shut since February 24 due to the Russian military offensive.
(with inputs from PTI)