Leave Kharkiv immediately: Indian embassy in Ukraine to Indians
The advisory by India asking its citizens to immediately leave war-torn Ukraine's Kharkiv city panicked the stranded Indian students while their parents back home got glued to the TV and surfed the Internet frantically for updates.
The embassy has asked Indians to proceed to Pisochyn (11 km), Babai (12 km) and Bezlyudivka (16 km) even by foot if they cannot find vehicles or buses. Reyham Khan, a first-year medical student said, "We have received an advisory today to leave immediately... there is so much chaos.
"People have started walking, but to where? We were staying in bunkers sending SOS messages. But this sudden directive has left everyone in a panic," the student said over the phone.
Aanchal Sharma, the mother of a second-year medical student of Kharkiv National Medical University, is praying for her son's safety who has left the bombed-out city. "My son has left for Pisochyn but I am going to be on pins till I hear from him. This feels like sitting on a ticking bomb," said the anxious mother.
Another student, Pragun, said they took a lot of pain to reach the railway station but found it chock-a-block with people trying to flee the Russian military offensive. "All the trains are full and we are not allowed to board them".
In a video sent from Kharkiv, a student heard saying, "I am standing at Kharkiv railway station for three hours. I left much before the advisory was issued but we haven't been allowed to board the trains. The cold is bone-chilling."
The Ministry of External Affairs said the Embassy in Ukraine asked the Indian nationals to leave Kharkiv immediately based on information from the Russian side. "For their safety and security, they must leave Kharkiv immediately repeat immediately in the light of the deteriorating situation. They should proceed to Pisochyn, Babai and Bezlyudivka as soon as possible for their safety," the embassy said.
The first advisory was put out on Twitter at 5 pm IST, while the second one was issued an hour later.
Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri who is in Budapest to oversee the evacuation of Indians fleeing Ukraine tweeted, "Our students head back home. 5 flights flew 1136 Indian students from Budapest to Delhi between 26 Feb & 1 March. Today 4 flights will fly back more than 800 young people to India. Including 240 on a special @IAF_MCC aircraft."
Our students head back home.— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) March 2, 2022
5 flights flew 1136 Indian students from Budapest to Delhi between 26 Feb & 1 March. Today 4 flights will fly back more than 800 young people to India. Including 240 on a special @IAF_MCC aircraft.#OperationGanga @PMOIndia@MEAIndia @IndiaInHungary pic.twitter.com/4uePELfrpI
He had earlier tweeted, "There was joy and spontaneous cheer as I interacted with our students at Hotel Grand Hungarian who were on their way to Budapest Airport to board the special aircraft waiting to fly them home. Modi Govt will bring back every young student from Ukraine," he said.
There was joy & spontaneous cheer as I interacted with our students at Hotel Grand Hungarian who were on their way to #Budapest Airport to board the special @IAF_MCC aircraft waiting to fly them home. Modi Govt will bring back every young student from #Ukraine.@opganga pic.twitter.com/3EYV3tSNef— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) March 2, 2022