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”.
The Russian side was “trying to organise urgent evacuation of a group of Indian students from Kharkiv through a humanitarian corridor along the shortest route to Russia”, said Kremlin in a briefing after the Modi-Putin talks.
In a statement by the ministry’s official representative, Major General Igor Konashenkov said: “According to our data, in Kharkiv, the Ukrainian authorities are forcibly detaining a large group of Indian students who want to leave the Ukrainian territory and go to Belgorod.”
He further said: “The Armed Forces are ready to take all necessary measures for the safe evacuation of Indian citizens. And send them home from the territory of Russia with their military transport planes or Indian planes, as the Indian side proposed to do.”
Meanwhile, Ukraine made a counter claim and accused Russia of taking hostage the students of India, Pakistan, China, and other countries
Stating that these students “have become hostages of the Russian armed aggression”, it said: “We urgently call on the governments of India, Pakistan, China, and other countries whose students have become hostages of the Russian armed aggression in Kharkiv and Sumy, to demand from Moscow that it allows the opening of a humanitarian corridor to other Ukrainian cities.”
India Blooms News Service