Forty Indian students have managed to walk to the Ukraine-Poland border after they were dropped off by their college bus some 8 km from the border, news agency ANI reported.
The students of a medical college in Lviv, 70 km from the border with Poland, are waiting to be evacuated from Ukraine’s neighbouring countries as the Ukrainian airspace has been shut amid the Russian invasion.
Saboteur elements of the main Russian assault force are already fighting Ukrainian defenders in the capital Kyiv. Western observers say the city is likely to fall into Russian control in a couple of hours.
Visuals shared by one of the Indian students who made the long walk to the Poland-Ukraine border show them move in a single file on the side of an empty road.
There are some 16,000 Indians in Ukraine, mostly students. Many have shared posts on social media from shelters like underground metro stations and basements amid bombings and missile attacks by Russian forces.
The External Affairs Ministry, or MEA, has opened camp offices in western Ukraine’s Lviv and Chernivtsi. Most of the fighting is taking place in eastern Ukraine, near the border with Russia.
The MEA has sent more Russian-speaking officials to these camp offices to help Indian students who are going to Poland. A group of students have also left for the Ukraine-Romania border.
The government is organising evacuation flights for Indians who have managed to reach Ukraine’s neighbours, sources said, adding that the cost will be completely borne by the government. Two chartered flights are likely to leave for Bucharest today and one flight will head to Budapest tomorrow.
Those closest to the border check points in Hungary and Romania have been advised to leave first. The foreign ministry urged the students to be in touch with student contractors “for orderly movement”.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin late on Thursday, appealing for an “immediate cessation of violence”. The conversation came hours after Ukraine’s urgent appeal to India for intervention.
With inputs from ANI