This Article is From Mar 02, 2022

"Leave Kharkiv Immediately, Proceed On Foot To...": India's Advisory

The Indian Embassy said in a tweet that Indians in Ukraine's Kharkiv should reach Pesochin, Babaye or Bezlyudovka latest by 6 pm local time (9.30 pm IST).

Ukrainian forces said Russian paratroopers have landed in Kharkiv, triggering clashes on streets.

New Delhi:

India sent an urgent appeal to all its nationals in Kharkiv, asking them to leave immediately, as Russian action intensified in Ukraine's second largest city. In back-to-back tweets in all caps, the Indian Embassy -- which had to stop operations in Ukrainian capital Kyiv yesterday -- said Indians should reach e towns of Pisochyn, Babai or Bezlyudivka latest by 6 pm local time (9.30 pm IST), on foot if need be.

The closest town, Pisochyn, is 11 km away – a distance, students have argued, is impossible to cover on foot, given the heavy shelling.

A second advisory underscored the urgency, saying "for their own safety and security they must leave Kharkiv immediately repeat immediately in the light of the deteriorating situation".

"Those students who cannot find vehicles or buses and are in railway station can proceed on foot to Pisochyn (11 km), Babai (12 km) and Bezlyudivka (16 km)," the embassy said.

In Delhi, the foreign ministry said the advisory has been based on Russian inputs. "We have not chosen the time," said ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi.

The advisory comes amid a huge shortage of public transport in the war-torn city, which has a population of 1.4 million.

Road transport has not been available in the city over the last few days. Taking a train is also not easy, students stranded at the Kharkiv station have said.

Earlier today, some of the students at the station sent videos telling NDTV that they were being stopped from boarding trains. Those who managed to get in were asked to de-board. Videos from the station showed huge crowds waiting on platforms.

"We took a lot of risk to reach here and 1,000 plus Indians are stuck in the railway station. We are waiting for the trains. They (Ukrainian guards) are firing, they are kicking us. They are not letting us enter. I heard the gunfire myself. I want to tell the Indian government, if something happens to us here, please take care of our family," he said.

A student said shelling is on as they wait and there are no bunkers nearby. "It's full open. We had a train in front of us but they are not allowing. One or two gates opened for Ukrainian people. Just for them. And for us there are guns, bullets but no trains," Pragun told NDTV.

Located in the eastern part of the city close to the Russian border, Kharkiv has been facing intense attack since the invasion started.

Earlier today, Russian paratroopers landed in Kharkiv, triggering clashes on streets, Ukrainian forces said. "There is an ongoing fight between the invaders and the Ukrainians," the army said in a statement on messaging app Telegram.

News agency AFP reported rocket strikes on buildings housing offices of security, police and universities.

The Ukrainian forces said that on Tuesday, Russians hit a residential block and a government building in the city, killing 18 people. One of the casualties was an Indian student.

Ukraine has said that more than 350 civilians, including 14 children, have been killed in the six days of conflict and the International Criminal Court has opened a war crimes investigation against Russia.