PM Modi sought President Zelensky's "continued support" in evacuating Indians from war-hit Ukraine.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and sought his support in evacuating Indians stuck in Ukraine's Sumy city amid the Russian invasion.
Some 700 Indian students are stranded in Sumy and have sent SOS videos showing them collecting snow after running out of drinking water.
The two leaders discussed the evolving situation in Ukraine in a phone call that lasted about 35 minutes, government sources said.
"Prime Minister Modi sought continued support from the government of Ukraine in ongoing efforts for evacuation of Indian nationals from Sumy," said the sources.
PM Modi appreciated the "continuing direct dialogue between Russia and Ukraine" and thanked President Zelensky for his government's help in evacuating Indians from Ukraine, sources said.
An official statement said the PM expressed deep concern about the ongoing conflict and resultant humanitarian crisis and reiterated his call for immediate cessation of violence. PM Modi, it said, noted that India has always stood for peaceful resolution of issues and direct dialogue between the two parties.
President Zelensky, in a tweet, wrote that he was "grateful for the support to the Ukrainian people".
This morning, Russia said it will hold fire and open "humanitarian corridors" in several Ukrainian cities, including the capital Kyiv, at 10 AM Moscow time (12.30 PM IST). The Interfax news agency cited Russia's defence ministry as saying that the corridors, also to be opened from Kharkiv, Mariupol and Sumy, are being set up at the personal request of French President Emmanuel Macron and in view of the current situation in those cities.
This is the second time that PM Modi spoke with the Ukrainian President; they spoke last on February 26, days after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine. That conversation followed India's abstention from a UN vote to condemn Russia's aggression.
India is trying to move out hundreds of Indians, mainly students, still stuck in war-hit Ukraine. The government's latest effort involves students stranded in a medical college hostel in Sumy. Yesterday, the Indian Embassy asked these students to "be ready to leave on short notice". A team of officials has been stationed in Poltava - nearly a three-hour drive from Sumy - to coordinate the safe passage of the students.
The students in Sumy had shared videos saying they have decided to take a risky journey to the Russian border that's 50 kilometres away. They, however, decided to stay put after the government contacted them and advised to "avoid unnecessary risks".