The Indian embassy in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv has shut down and the Ambassador and the staff are on their way to the western part of the country, sources have said. India has been advising students and others to move to the western borders, a process that has been extremely challenging given the security situation.
The embassy in Kyiv shut down after it did its best to ensure there are no Indians left in the city. Satellite imagery indicates that the city imminently faces a large incoming Russian invasion force.
Today, the government said all Indians have left Kyiv, where a massive Russian bombardment is expected tomorrow.
The Indian embassy would likely be relocated to western Ukraine’s Lviv now, for which office space has been identified, sources have said.
The embassy staff are on the road to western Ukraine and communication with them is spotty, sources said, adding every possible attempt has been made to save Indian lives in Ukraine.
Students who have reached India have spoken about great difficulties in reaching the western border from Kyiv and the second-largest city Kharkiv, which is being bombed by Russian forces frequently.
Trains are running from Kharkiv, but local transport to the train station and whether people would actually get a ride are the big dreams, students who landed in Delhi have said, on a day when an Indian student was killed in shelling in Ukraine.
21-year-old Naveen Shekharappa, a final-year medical student from Karnataka’s Haveri, died when Russian soldiers blew up a government building in Kharkiv today.
India will also operate 26 flights over the next three days to bring back citizens who have moved from Ukraine to neighboring countries, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla told reporters today after Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a meeting on the country’s evacuation efforts.
Besides Romania’s Bucharest and Hungary’s Budapest, airports in Poland and Slovak Republic will also be used, he added.
There were an estimated 20,000 Indian students in Ukraine when the government issued its first advisory. “From that number, approximately 12,000 have since left Ukraine, which is 60 per cent of the total,” he said.