New Delhi: Around 600-800 stranded Indian medical students, who had been risking air strikes and facing water shortage in the Ukrainian city of Sumy, were “relieved” to hear that they would be evacuated through the country’s western borders via Poltava.
“Team from Embassy of India is stationed in Poltava city to coordinate the safe passage of Indian students stranded in Sumy to western borders via Poltava. Confirmed time & date will be issued soon. Students advised to be ready to leave on short notice,” a statement from the Indian embassy in Ukraine said Sunday night.
Team from Embassy of India is stationed in Poltava City to coordinate the safe passage of Indian students stranded in Sumy to Western borders via Poltava.
Confirmed time & date will be issued soon. 🇮🇳n students advised to be ready to leave on short notice.@MEAIndia @opganga
— India in Ukraine (@IndiainUkraine) March 6, 2022
Poltava is approximately 200 km south of Sumy, which is located in northeast Ukraine, close to the Russian border.
Indian students at Sumy State University have been hiding in three different hostels near the university ever since Russia announced a military operation in Ukraine.
Speaking to ThePrint, Niranjana Santhosh, 22, a student of Sumy State University, said: “Poltava is approximately two or three hours from Sumy and from there we will probably go to Lviv. We are very relieved to hear this as there was no advisory from the government in many days.”
She added: “Also, when the [Hungary] embassy said Operation Ganga flights were on their last stretch, we really wondered, ‘What about us?'”
The Indian embassy in Hungary Sunday announced that ‘Operation Ganga’ evacuation flights were on their last leg.
Important Announcement: Embassy of India begins its last leg of Operation Ganga flights today. All those students staying in their OWN accommodation ( other than arranged by Embassy) are requested to reach @Hungariacitycentre , Rakoczi Ut 90, Budapest between 10 am-12 pm
— Indian Embassy in Hungary (@IndiaInHungary) March 6, 2022
ThePrint earlier reported that the students had been facing drinking water shortage and little to no electricity in their hostels since Thursday night when a nearby power plant was bombed. According to students, local NGOs provided them with drinking water, milk, potatoes and other food items Sunday morning.
‘Poltava route is working, seems practical’
Speaking to ThePrint, Kartik Nandwana, 24, a student from Sumy State University, said the route from Sumy to Poltava appears practical as he has noticed that taxi drivers were using it.
“My friends and I went out today to pick up some supplies and saw a few taxi drivers. We talked to them and they quoted a price to us for a ride to Poltava,” he said.
“So, it’s a sign that the route is working. It seems practical. The embassy would have little to no trouble sending buses from there,” he added.
Earlier on Saturday, students in Sumy had announced that they would try to head to Mariupol “at their own risk” as a ceasefire was set to be implemented. The Indian Ministry of External Affairs responded by telling students to “stay indoors” and “avoid unnecessary risks”.
ThePrint later reported that the students had put their plans on hold after reports of a ceasefire violation in Mariupol emerged.
The Indian government, under Operation Ganga, has been trying to evacuate approximately 20,000 Indian nationals from Ukraine, mainly through neighbouring countries like Poland, Slovakia and Hungary, on the war-torn country’s western borders. On Sunday, the government said it has evacuated more than 15,900 from Ukraine so far.
(Edited by Monami Gogoi)