Indian Student Killed In Shelling In Ukraine’s Kharkiv

Area near the regional administration building, which was hit by a missile attack in Kharkiv

New Delhi:

An Indian student lost his life in shelling in Ukraine this morning, the foreign ministry said. The final year medical student from Karnataka’s Haveri died when Russian soldiers blew up a government building on Tuesday.

Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla called in the ambassadors of Russia and Ukraine to “reiterate India’s demand for urgent safe passage for Indian nationals”. It is imperative that Russia and Ukraine respond to the need for safe passage urgently, said sources.

“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,” tweeted the External Affairs Ministry.

In Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, videos showed extensive damage from the Russian military assault. One video showed the city’s largest government building blown up.

Naveen Shekharappa, the student who lost his life, was trying to find his way out of the city, said his roommate, who spoke to him last at 8 am.

Pooja Praharaj, a student coordinator in Kharkiv, spoke to NDTV shortly after the student’s death.

“He lived near the Governor’s House and had been standing in the queue for food. Suddenly there was an air strike that blew up the Governor’s House and he was killed,” Ms Praharaj said.

A Ukrainian woman picked up his phone, said the student coordinator. “Speaking from his phone, she said the owner of this phone is being taken to the morgue,” she shared.

This morning, the Indian Embassy advised all citizens, including students, to leave Ukraine capital Kyiv “urgently today, by trains or any other means available”.

“The deteriorating situation in Kharkiv is a matter of grave concern. The safety and security of Indian nationals in that city is of utmost priority to Government,” government sources said.

Satellite images showed a long convoy of Russian military vehicles on roadways northwest of Kyiv. Hundreds of tanks, towed artillery, armored and logistical vehicles can be seen in the images released by a US-based space technology company.

Around 16,000 Indian students are still stranded in Ukraine. Many students have shared photos and videos on social media from underground bunkers, metro stations and bomb shelters, where they have been hiding since the Russian attack started last Thursday. Around 9,000 Indian nationals have left by various special flights.

Several Indian students remain stuck in eastern parts of Ukraine, which is most affected by the Russian military offensive, and they are finding it difficult to travel by road to reach the western borders. Students have also been walking to the borders in sub-zero conditions, hoping to cross over and take a flight home.

Yesterday, the embassy had asked students to go to the railway station in Kyiv, where special evacuation trains have been arranged by Ukraine to take people to the western region.

Many students complained that they were not allowed to board the trains or they were mistreated by officials. 

Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on Thursday after months of tension over the former Soviet republic’s proximity to NATO.

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