Thursday, 18 August, 2022
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Crammed bunkers, missile that never went off — Ukraine through the eyes of stranded Indian students

Around 3,500 Indian students enrolled at Kharkiv National Medical University are hiding out in underground bunkers of hostels a few kilometers away from their university.

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New Delhi: Around 3,500 Indian students enrolled at Kharkiv National Medical University, eagerly awaiting news about evacuation efforts, have been hiding out in underground bunkers of hostels a few kilometers away from their university. 

Over Whatsapp calls, ThePrint spoke to a few of these students, aged between 18 and 20 years, about survival in the shelter. One of the students, Pritansha Chandraker, said hostel authorities have provided food and water, but she was unsure how long the supplies will last.

Around 50 of them crammed in one bomb shelter with minimal bedding and quilts, the students said loud shelling can be heard every three hours. They have been hiding out in these shelters since Thursday.

The students also shared pictures of a missile that failed to explode, lodged in a parking lot not too far from a metro station that is next to their hostel. Early Saturday, videos emerged of Ukraine’s civil defense preparing to remove it from the roadway.

Kharkiv is a city just north of the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine near the border, where heavy fighting is taking place. It lies above the troubled territories of Donetsk and Luhansk, portions of which house Russian-backed separatists. 

Over the weekend, two Air India flights carrying Indian nationals evacuated from the war-hit east European nation arrived in India one of which landed in Mumbai, and the other in Delhi. 

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin had signed a decree recognising Donetsk and Luhansk as “independent states”. The two regions had declared independence from Kviy in 2014. Putin had announced a military operation in Ukraine a few days after the signing the decree, on 24 February.

Aditya Singh, 17, takes a selfie alongside other Indian students in an underground bunker in Ukraine’s Kharkiv Saturday. Around 50 students are taking shelter in each bunker. | Aditya Singh | By special arrangement
Aditya Singh, 17, takes a selfie alongside other Indian students in an underground bunker in Ukraine’s Kharkiv Saturday. Around 50 students are taking shelter in each bunker. | Aditya Singh | By special arrangement
Indian students sit on wooden planks and check their phones in an underground bunker in Kharkiv, Thursday | Kwaish Thapa | By special arrangement
Indian students sit on wooden planks and check their phones in an underground bunker in Kharkiv, Thursday | Kwaish Thapa | By special arrangement
Indian students walk back to their underground bunker after having lunch at a nearby mess on Friday | Kwaish Thapa | By special arrangement
Indian students walk back to their underground bunker after having lunch at a nearby mess on Friday | Kwaish Thapa | By special arrangement
Indian students check their phones in the basement of a hostel in Kharkiv, waiting for news about evacuation efforts, Sunday | Divya Singh | By special arrangement
Indian students check their phones in the basement of a hostel in Kharkiv, waiting for news about evacuation efforts, Sunday | Divya Singh | By special arrangement
One of the bunkers of a larger underground bomb shelter in Kharkiv | Aditya Singh | By special arrangement
One of the bunkers of a larger underground bomb shelter in Kharkiv | Aditya Singh | By special arrangement
A young man passes out food and snacks to Indian students in an underground bunker in Kharkiv, Sunday | Ishita Choudhary | By special arrangement
A young man passes out food and snacks to Indian students in an underground bunker in Kharkiv, Sunday | Ishita Choudhary | By special arrangement
A missile that failed to explode lodged in a parking lot in Kharkiv | Ishita Choudhury | By special arrangement
A missile that failed to explode lodged in a parking lot in Kharkiv | Ishita Choudhury | By special arrangement

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