Ukraine struggle hits dwelling: 21-year-old scholar from Karnataka is killed

SIX DAYS into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, India’s worst fears got here true when a 21-year-old Indian medical scholar within the jap Ukrainian metropolis of Kharkiv close to the Russian border was killed on Tuesday, marking the nation’s first casualty within the struggle.

Indian officers recognized the sufferer as Naveen S G, a fourth-year MBBS scholar at Kharkiv Nationwide Medical College who hailed from Chalageri village in Karnataka’s Haveri district. They mentioned he was killed in shelling. However a former hostel mate of Naveen in Kharkiv cited different members of the scholar neighborhood there as saying that he was hit in firing by the Russian military outdoors a grocery retailer.

In the meantime, International Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla mentioned that each one Indian nationals in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv have been evacuated.

The Indian Categorical has learnt that the Authorities is now shutting the Indian Embassy in Kyiv and transferring its officers to a lately established workplace in Lviv, about 70 km from the Polish border, to facilitate evacuation efforts.

Some Embassy officers have already been moved to the brand new workplace, it’s learnt. If the safety state of affairs within the capital deteriorates, the Embassy, which is situated close to the Presidential palace and different key buildings in Kyiv, can be totally vacated.

Kharkiv Naveen Shekharappa Gyanagoudar (file)

Earlier, Ministry of Exterior Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi confirmed the scholar’s demise. “With profound sorrow we confirm that an Indian student lost his life in shelling in Kharkiv this morning. The Ministry is in touch with his family. We convey our deepest condolences to the family,” he posted on Twitter.

Addressing a late-evening press convention, International Secretary Shringla mentioned the circumstances through which Naveen was hit was “not absolutely clear”. He mentioned the physique has been despatched to a college morgue and the Authorities is making efforts to deliver it again in coordination with native authorities.

Chatting with The Indian Categorical over cellphone from Kharkiv, Naveen’s former hostel mate Shridharan Gopalakrishnan mentioned: “(He) was shot dead around 10.30 am Ukrainian time today. He was standing in queue outside a grocery store when the Russian army fired at people there. He was my hostel mate initially, and later shifted to an apartment outside.”

The incident deepened anxieties in New Delhi as hundreds of Indians, predominantly college students pursuing medical levels, stay stranded throughout Ukraine at a time Russia has intensified its offensive within the east. It got here hours after the Indian Embassy urged Indian nationals within the capital to go away “urgently today” — and a day after the Authorities determined to ship 4 Union Ministers to oversee evacuation efforts.

Official sources mentioned that on Tuesday night, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Naveen’s father Shekharappa Gyanagoudar, who’s a retired non-public agency worker. Aside from Shekharappa, Naveen is survived by his mom Vijayalakshmi and elder brother Harsha who’s pursuing a PhD.

Earlier than the announcement of Naveen’s demise, Modi met President Ram Nath Kovind to temporary him in regards to the state of affairs in Ukraine, together with India’s evacuation efforts. Modi additionally spoke to French President Emmanuel Macron, European Council President Charles Michel, Hungary Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Poland President Andrzej Duda.

International Secretary Shringla mentioned {that a} group of Indian officers from Moscow are tenting in Belgorod, a city adjoining Ukraine’s jap border with Russia, to map doable evacuation routes, and organize lodging and transport for Indians caught in Kharkiv and close by battle zones.

“We should be prepared either way… Evacuation from Kharkiv is now our top priority,” he mentioned, when requested if the routes can be via Russia or different borders in Ukraine.

Shringla additionally mentioned that IAF transport plane, C-17 Globemaster, will go away for Romania at 4 am on Wednesday to repatriate Indians, and that extra operations are deliberate. The plane was used for evacuation from Afghanistan after Kabul fell to the Taliban in August 2021.

In response to the International Secretary, the primary tranche of humanitarian help from India to Ukraine, together with medicines, was despatched via Poland on Tuesday, and that the subsequent consignment could be despatched on Wednesday.

On Tuesday morning, the Indian Embassy’s newest advisory indicated that the Russian invasion has entered a crucial section. “All Indian nationals including students are advised to leave Kyiv urgently today. Preferably by available trains or through any other means available,” it mentioned. The dramatic escalation in tone got here in opposition to the backdrop of stories {that a} lengthy convoy of Russian tanks and navy gear was headed to the Ukrainian capital.

Just a few hours earlier than the advisory was issued, Union Minister of State for Street Transport & Highways and Civil Aviation Gen (retd) V Okay Singh tweeted: “Stay where you are, don’t move until you are told, and don’t panic. Your country will safely evacuate you. Jai Hind.”

Singh, who’s among the many 4 Union ministers who have been tasked on Saturday with coordinating the evacuation, tweeted: “My message to all parents, guardians, and family members, your kids will be back with you soon.” Aside from Singh, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, Regulation Minister Kiren Rijiju and Petroleum and Pure Gasoline Minister Hardeep Singh Puri are accountable for the evacuation.

It was on February 15 that the Authorities issued its first advisory urging Indian nationals to contemplate leaving Ukraine briefly. Since then, round 12,000 of the estimated 20,000 Indians in Ukraine have left that nation, together with these introduced again below the evacuation effort titled Operation Ganga.

“Of the remaining 40 per cent, roughly half remain in conflict zones in the Kharkiv, Sumy area and the other half have either reached the western borders of Ukraine or are heading towards the borders. In other words, they are out of harm’s way,” Shringla mentioned.

Kharkiv is situated barely 40 km from the Russian border and has witnessed intense hostilities over the previous few days. It homes one of many largest clusters of Indian college students in that nation, estimated to be round 5,000, owing to quite a few medical schools within the space.

(With Krishn Kaushik in Delhi & Kiran Parashar in Bengaluru)

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