New Delhi: The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday said they have no reports of Indians being held hostage in Ukraine after allegations by Russia that a group was being forced to stay in Kharkiv.
“Our Embassy in Ukraine is in continuous touch with Indian nationals in Ukraine. We note that with the cooperation of the Ukrainian authorities, many students have left Kharkiv yesterday. We have not received any reports of any hostage situation regarding any student,” MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.
“We have requested support of the Ukrainian authorities in arranging special trains for taking out students from Kharkiv and neighbouring areas to the western part of the country,” he said.
Bagchi said India has been coordinating effectively with the countries in the region including Russia, Romania, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Moldova for the evacuations.
“A large number of Indian nationals have been evacuated from Ukraine in the last few days. We appreciate the help extended by the Ukrainian authorities to make this possible. We thank Ukraine’s western neighbours in receiving Indian nationals and for accommodating them while they waited for flights to take them back home,” he said.
The Russian Defence Ministry on Wednesday said its armed forces are ready to take all necessary measures for the safe evacuation of Indian citizens from the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv.
At a media briefing in Moscow, the ministry also alleged that the Ukrainian authorities are “forcibly keeping” a group of Indian students in Kharkiv against their wishes to go to Belgorod.
Earlier, just hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Russian President Vladimir Putin seeking the safe passage for Indian students stranded in Ukraine, a Russian readout claimed that Indian students had been “taken hostage by Ukrainian security forces” who were using them “as human shields” and preventing them “from leaving for Russian territory”.
India Blooms News Service