New Delhi: Amid the ongoing evacuation process of Indians stuck in Ukraine, the Russian Defence Ministry claimed that its neighbouring country has kept a large group of Indian students as ‘hostages’ in Kharkiv. The claim comes soon after PM Modi spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin and discussed the ongoing conflict, especially in Kharkiv where many Indian students are stranded.
“According to our information, Ukrainian authorities are forcibly keeping a large group of Indian students in Kharkiv who wish to leave Ukrainian territory and go to Belgorod,” a Russian military spokesperson said at a briefing.
“In fact, they are being held as hostages… Russian armed forces are ready to take all necessary measures for the safe evacuation of the Indian citizens. And send them home from the Russian territory with its own military transport planes or Indian planes, as the Indian side proposed to do,” he added.
The startling claim by the Russians came not long after Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin and discussed the situation in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, where over a thousand Indian students were said to be stranded.
Meanwhile, the Ukraine MFA alleged that the students from India, Pakistan, China and other countries “have become hostages of the Russian armed aggression.”
“The MFA of Ukraine calls on the RF to immediately cease its hostilities in Kharkiv and Sumy so that we can arrange the evacuation of the civilian population, including foreign students, to safer Ukrainian cities. We urgently call on the governments of India, Pakistan, China and other counties whose students have become hostages of the Russian armed aggression in Kharkiv and Sumy, to demand from Moscow that it allows the opening of a humanitarian corridor to other Ukrainian cities”, the Ukraine MFA tweeted.
The MFA of Ukraine calls on the RF to immediately cease its hostilities in Kharkiv and Sumy so that we can arrange the evacuation of the civilian population, including foreign students, to safer Ukrainian cities. https://t.co/sm15hSLdGF pic.twitter.com/gRTywxjZLs
— MFA of Ukraine 🇺🇦 (@MFA_Ukraine) March 2, 2022
Notably, the Russian ministry’s statement was released hours after a phone call between Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. They reportedly discussed the safe evacuation of Indian nationals from the conflict areas.
As per the Prime Minister’s Office statement: “The two leaders reviewed the situation in Ukraine… They discussed the safe evacuation of Indian nationals from the conflict areas.
Meanwhile, Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said as many as 6000 Indians have been brought back. “Of the 20,000 Indians who were stranded in war-torn Ukraine, 6,000 have been brought back to the country so far and the Centre is making all efforts for the safe return of the remaining ones,” he was quoted.