"Come Back When...": Ukraine's Diwali Invite To Indians Who Fled War

Thousands of Indian students, most of them pursuing medical courses, had to flee Ukraine after Russia invaded the country in February this year

'Come Back When...': Ukraine's Diwali Invite To Indians Who Fled War

Thousands of Indian students had to flee Ukraine after Russia invaded

New Delhi:

War-hit Ukraine's foreign minister has sent out a heart-warming message to Indian students who had to flee the eastern European country in the aftermath of Russian invasion.

Addressing the Indian students during an exclusive interview to NDTV, Dmytro Kuleba said, "Come back when Ukraine wins. You were always an integral part of our society. We want to celebrate Diwali together in the city of Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine where Diwali became a part of the local tradition," he said.

"So come back when we win. In the meantime, pray for Ukraine and support Ukraine by all means available to you." Mr Kuleba added.

Thousands of Indian students, most of them pursuing medical courses, had to flee Ukraine after Russia invaded the country in February this year. According to some estimates, about 18,000 students pursuing medical courses in Ukraine returned after war broke out. 

Prior to their escape from the war zone, Indian students faced a harrowing experience, taking shelter in bunkers as Russia pounded Ukraine with missiles. The students were eventually flown back in an extensive exercise launched by the centre. A student from Karnataka was, unfortunately, killed during shelling. 

Months after their narrow escape from the war zone, these students have found themselves staring at an uncertain future as their education is now paused. Many of them have sought help from authorities and also participated in protests.

Mr Kuleba spoke to NDTV on several other subjects, including India's decision to import Russian oil despite the West bringing a wave of sanctions against the Vladimir Putin-led dispensation.

Terming the Narendra Modi government's decision "morally inappropriate", the Ukraine foreign minister said, ''The opportunity for India to buy Russian oil at a cheap price comes from the fact that Ukrainians are suffering from Russian aggression, dying every day. If you benefit because of our suffering, it would be good to see more of your help addressed to us.''

Mr Kuleba was responding to Foreign Minister Dr S Jaishankar's statement that between February and November this year, the European Union has imported more fossil fuel from Russia than the next 10 countries combined. ''It is not enough to point fingers at the European Union and say, 'Oh, they are doing the same thing.''

"India is a very important player in the global arena and the Prime Minister of India, with his voice, can make a change. We are waiting for the moment when Indian foreign policy will call spade a spade, and name the conflict - not war in Ukraine, but what it is, a Russian aggression against Ukraine," Mr Kuleba added.

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