No hostage situation in Ukraine, clarifies India

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They discussed the safe evacuation of the Indian nationals from the conflict areas…reports Asian Lite News

The Ministry of External Affairs issued a statement on Thursday clarifying that there was no hostage crisis in Ukraine as the Russian invasion of Kiev entered the eighth day.

In “response to media queries regarding reports of Indian students being held hostage in Ukraine”, Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said in the statement: “Our Embassy in Ukraine is in continuous touch with Indian nationals in Ukraine. We note that with the cooperation of the Ukrainian authorities, many students have left Kharkiv yesterday (Wednesday).

“We have not received any reports of any hostage situation regarding any student. We have requested support of the Ukrainian authorities in arranging special trains for taking out students from Kharkiv and neighbouring areas to the western part of the country.

“We have been coordinating effectively with the countries in the region including Russia, Romania, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Moldova. A large number of Indian nationals have been evacuated from Ukraine in the last few days.

“We appreciate the help extended by the Ukrainian authorities to make this possible. We thank Ukraine’s western neighbours in receiving Indian nationals and for accommodating them while they waited for flights to take them back home.”

The statement came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin, during which they reviewed the situation in Ukraine, especially in the city of Kharkiv where many Indian students are stuck.

They discussed the safe evacuation of the Indian nationals from the conflict areas.

Congress slams govt

A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin regarding the situation in Ukraine and safe evacuation of the Indians from the conflict areas, Congress on Thursday said that the assurance of safe passage should have been sought much earlier.

Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill tweeted: “Safe passage assurance from Russia should have been taken much earlier; rather than prescribing last minute ‘aatmanirbhar’ pill to Indians stuck in Ukraine; BJP Govt should have had a evacuation/safe passage blue print ready much before hell broke loose !!”

On Wednesday, in a telephonic conversation with Putin, Prime Minister Modi discussed the situation in Ukraine and sought safe passage for the Indians stranded in the country.

The two leaders reviewed the situation, especially in the city of Kharkiv where many Indian students are stuck, and discussed their safe evacuation from the conflict areas, an MEA statement said.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi too had demanded that the government share the details of the evacuation plan.

“To avert further tragedy, GOI must share: How many students have been evacuated. How many are still stranded in Ukraine. Region-wise detailed evacuation plan. We owe a clear strategy & communication to the families involved,” he had tweeted.

The MEA said that around 17,000 Indian nationals have left the war-torn country since the Indian Embassy in Ukraine issued its advisory.

MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had said that the Embassy in Kyiv has been asked to set up a temporary office in Lviv to facilitate border crossing into neighbouring European countries by Indian nationals.

He also said that a mechanism has been established for issuing emergency certificates to those who lost their Indian passports.

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