Ukrainian forces are maintaining a big group of Indian college students as “hostages” in Kharkiv, the Russian Defence Ministry has alleged, amid an escalating assault on the nation on Wednesday.
“According to our information, Ukrainian authorities are forcibly keeping a large group of Indian students in Kharkiv who wish to leave Ukrainian territory and go to Belgorod,” a Russian navy spokesperson mentioned at a briefing.
“In fact, they are being held as hostages… Russian armed forces are ready to take all necessary measures for the safe evacuation of the Indian citizens. And send them home from the Russian territory with its own military transport planes or Indian planes, as the Indian side proposed to do,” he added.
The startling declare by the Russians got here not lengthy after Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin and mentioned the state of affairs within the jap Ukrainian metropolis of Kharkiv, the place over a thousand Indian college students have been mentioned to be stranded.
Kharkiv is nearly below Russian management and the lady college students have already been despatched on their solution to Ukraine’s western border by prepare — a 20-hour journey — with the assistance of Russians, authorities sources instructed NDTV.
Efforts are on to evacuate the boys additionally, sources mentioned shortly earlier than the 6 pm deadline was about to run out.
Earlier within the day, first-hand accounts of scholars stranded on the railway station gave a glimpse into their determined state of affairs because the Indian authorities issued an pressing all-caps enchantment to its residents to instantly go away Ukraine’s second-largest metropolis.
Students complained of being kicked, intimidated and never being let on trains leaving town, prompting many to start out strolling in the direction of one of many three places specified by the Indian authorities between 11 and 16 km away.
Situated within the jap a part of town near the Russian border, Kharkiv has been dealing with intense assaults because the invasion began they usually have intensified over the previous two days. At the very least two Indian college students have died because the battle started – one in Russian shelling and one other in a hospital whereas being handled for an sickness.