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Russia To Provide Evacuation Corridors Today Amid India’s Students Worry

The Russian embassy released a list of “humanitarian corridors” that it is ready to provide.

New Delhi:

Russia today declared a cease-fire to conduct a “humanitarian operation” starting at 12:30 pm India time. The Russian embassy in India released a list of “humanitarian corridors” that it is ready to provide. It includes corridors from Sumy city in northeast Ukraine, where around 600 Indian students have been stranded and weren’t able to leave despite repeated efforts.

India had raised the issue at the UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine yesterday. Ambassador TS Tirumurti, India’s permanent representative at the UN, said that India is “deeply concerned that despite our repeated urgings” to both Russia and Ukraine, the “safe corridor for our students stranded in Sumy did not materialise.”

“In order to conduct a humanitarian operation from 12.30 IST on March 8, 2022, Russia declares cease-fire and is ready to provide humanitarian corridors,” the Russian embassy in India tweeted.

Russia has announced humanitarian corridors from Sumy by two routes to Poltava and to “the territory of the Russian Federation to Belgorod – then by air, rail and road transport to selected destinations or temporary accommodation, in the southern direction – in agreement with the Ukrainian side “.

The United Nations regards humanitarian corridors to be one of the key forms of a temporary pause of armed conflict.

The two sides have blamed the failure in setting up the corridors on each other. Russia maintained that the Ukrainian forces prevented people from leaving Mariupol city on Saturday, while the Ukrainian authorities blamed the delay on Russian forces violating the ceasefire that was agreed upon.

Earlier, a spokesperson for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had called Russia’s move to set up the corridors “completely immoral”, and said Russia was trying to “use people’s suffering to create a television picture”.

In its announcement today, Russia again blamed Ukraine for the failure of the corridors and said the situation is rapidly deteriorating and “has acquired the character of a humanitarian catastrophe”.

“Due to the failure and inability of the Ukrainian side to ensure the functioning of humanitarian corridors, the situation in a large number of settlements on almost the entire territory of Ukraine, primarily in such cities as Kiev, Chernigov, Sumy, Kharkov and Mariupol, is rapidly deteriorating and has acquired the character of a humanitarian catastrophe,” the Russian embassy in India said on its Facebook page.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had yesterday spoken to Presidents of both Russia and Ukraine, stressing the need for an immediate ceasefire and for both parties to return to the path of dialogue and diplomacy. He also thanked both sides for helping in the evacuation of Indian nationals from the conflict-stricken region.

In the phone call with President Putin, PM Modi had stressed the importance of the safe evacuation of Indian citizens from Ukraine’s Sumy city at the earliest.

Hundreds of Indian students are stranded in Sumy bombing amid and gunfights. They have shared several videos of their plight, saying they have scant resources and fear for their lives. Videos showed them collecting snow to melt for water as they reportedly don’t have access to enough food and water.

India has been trying to evacuate its nationals, mainly students, from the conflict-stricken country through its evacuation mission “Operation Ganga”. The government has found it particularly challenging to evacuate those stuck in eastern parts of the country, including Sumy.

The students in Sumy had on Sunday shared videos saying they had decided to take a risky journey to the Russian border that’s 50 kilometers away. They, however, decided to stay put after the government contacted them and advised them to “avoid unnecessary risks”.

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