Mar 1, 2022: According to a report by Reuters, an Indian student was killed by shelling in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv on Tuesday, India’s foreign ministry said, as India stepped up demands for safe passage to evacuate thousands of its nationals trapped in the war zone.
A Ukrainian official said Russian forces were besieging Kharkiv and other major cities and firing artillery shells at them. Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Arundam Bagchi said the ambassadors of Russia and Ukraine had been called in to “reiterate our demand for an immediate safe passage for Indian citizens who are still living in Kharkiv and other conflict-affected cities.”
In a post on Twitter, he added that the ministry was in touch with the family of the student, who he did not name.
India, which is an ally of Russia and has its own territorial disputes, has not condemned Moscow’s attack on Ukraine, which has angered the United States and other Western partners. According to official Ukrainian statistics, about a quarter of the 76,000 foreign students in Ukraine are Indians.
New Delhi has evacuated about 4,000 Indians in the past month, according to the latest figures from India’s foreign ministry, but about 16,000 have been stranded since Russia invaded the former Soviet republic last week. The Indian government has sent four ministers to neighboring countries to assist in the rescue effort.
A Foreign Ministry source told Reuters that Kharkiv’s situation was “particularly worrying”.
Sources said that the Indian team was stationed in the Russian city of Belgorod, 70 km (45 miles) near the Ukrainian border, but had failed to evacuate civilians due to fighting.
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