New Delhi: The ministry of external affairs (MEA) said on Saturday, March 5, no Indian was left in strife-torn Kharkiv, the second-largest city of Ukraine, where Russia continued its assault for yet another day. MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said the main challenges in evacuation of Indians were now in Sumy amid ongoing shelling and violence and lack of transportation.
“From Pisochyn & Kharkiv, we should be able to clear out everyone in the next few hours, so far I know no one left in Kharkiv. The main focus is on Sumy now, challenge remains ongoing violence and lack of transportation; the best option would be a ceasefire,” MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.
Problem is in Sumy. We strongly urge both sides for a ceasefire, hope it happens soon as there is shelling, can risk lives. Indian students are safe in the campus… We have our teams now moving towards the East…Problem is shelling: MEA pic.twitter.com/hj7pym1PrG
— ANI (@ANI) March 5, 2022
The ministry said the government will now be looking at how many are still in Ukraine. It said the government hopes to complete evacuation in nearby Pisochyn today. “The embassy will contact those who happen to be there but haven’t registered… In nearby Pisochyn…we have moved (evacuated) 298 students, hoping to complete it by today,” the ministry said.
The ministry has said five flights have already landed in the past 24 hours with around 2,900 onboard. “Around 13,300 people returned to India so far, and 13 flights are scheduled for the next 24 hours,” the ministry said.
Buses to evacuate 298 students from Pisochyn:
Buses have been arranged to evacuate 298 Indian students from Pisochyn in the Kharkiv region, the embassy of India in Ukraine said. As per the ministry, the highest attention is on eastern Ukraine, particularly Kharkiv and Pisochin.
“We have managed to get some buses there. 5 buses are already operational, more buses later in the evening. About 900-1000 Indians were stranded in Pisochin and 700+ in Sumy. We are concerned about Sumy,” Bagchi said.
The government has said over 20,000 Indians have left the Ukraine border since it issued advisories. “There are more people left in the conflict zone,” the MEA added.
‘Deeply concerned’ about students in Sumy: MEA
The MEA has said the government is “deeply concerned” about Indian students stuck in the Sumy area. Arindam Bagchi, the MEA Spokesperson, said the government has strongly pressed the Russian and Ukrainian governments to create a safe corridor so students could be evacuated.
Bagchi said the Centre has advised students to take safety precautions, stay inside shelters and avoid unnecessary risks. “Ministry and our Embassies are in regular touch with the students,” he said.