After a flurry of desperate video appeals from Indian students stranded in northeast Ukraine's Sumy, the Indian embassy in the war-torn country today said it's exploring "all possible mechanisms" to evacuate them safely and securely. In a Tweet early morning, it said it has discussed evacuation and identification of exit routes with all interlocutors including the international humanitarian organisation Red Cross.
"Exploring all possible mechanisms to evacuate Indian citizens in Sumy, safely & securely. Discussed evacuation & identification of exit routes with all interlocuters including Red Cross. Control room will continue to be active until all our citizens are evacuated. Be Safe Be Strong," it said.
Exploring all possible mechanisms to evacuate ????????n citizens in Sumy, safely & securely.— India in Ukraine (@IndiainUkraine) March 4, 2022
Discussed evacuation & identification of exit routes with all interlocuters including Red Cross.
Control room will continue to be active until all our citizens are evacuated.
Be Safe Be Strong
India had on Friday sought a ceasefire by Russian and Ukrainian troops for evacuation of its citizens from the conflict zones of Kharkiv and Sumy.
At least 1,000 Indians - 700 in Sumy and 300 in Kharkiv - are still stranded in conflict zones in eastern Ukraine, the government said on Friday, adding that arranging buses to evacuate them was proving to be the biggest challenge right now.
Groups of Indian students at the Sumy State University had appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an emotional plea to save their lives. They claim bombs are being dropped close to their University campus, and they can hear sounds of gunfights and air raids regularly.
"We have been expecting the government to help, but we have got no information. Some are saying buses are waiting at the Russian border, which is about 50 km from here. If we walk from the hostel, there are snipers in all four directions, everywhere. We fear airstrikes. Bombardment is happening every 20 minutes," they said in a video.
They said that they had run out of essential supplies including food and water. In videos posted by them, students could be soon collecting snow in freezing temperatures to arrange for water.
At a media briefing, Arindam Bagchi, the spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), said over 20,000 Indians have left Ukraine since India issued initial advisories in mid-February before the conflict began and that over 10,300 citizens were brought back in 48 flights under evacuation mission 'Operation Ganga' so far.