Around 16,000 Indian nationals, including students, have been trapped in several regions of Ukraine since Russian President Vladimir Putin declared war on the country on February 24th.
As the first batch of Indians evacuated from Ukraine started arriving back home, thousands of others are still stranded in various parts of the war-torn country. With India abstaining from voting against any action against Russia at the UNGA emergency session – local support for Indians in Ukraine has declined drastically.
As reported by OP India, the Ukrainian security agencies are allegedly making it difficult for Indian nationals, including students, to leave Ukraine. There have been reports that the Ukrainian agencies are not only using Indian nationals as leverage against India by putting them in a hostage-like situation but also assaulting and misbehaving with them.
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After the Indian Embassy in Warsaw, Poland issued an advisory asking those who wished to be evacuated to reach the Shehyni-Medyka border, around 300 students arrived. Coming mostly from the cities of Lviv and Ternopil in Ukraine, they took taxis and buses, hitchhiked, or walked to reach the Polish border. However, as per the students, braving the cold, they have not been allowed to cross the border by Polish authorities. Stories of racial discrimination and harassment by the Polish authorities have been doing the rounds, and people are becoming desperate with each passing day.
Acknowledging that evacuation of Indians through the Poland border has emerged as a “problem area” — with lakhs of people, including citizens of Ukraine and other foreign nationals, having chosen that route to safety — Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said to Indian Express, “It’s not an organized situation, it’s a conflict zone. Many of our people have been there for a long time and they are in a very difficult situation. We fully empathize with them and we have been working round the clock to see what options we can provide. One of the options in the event we cannot make much progress into Poland, we come down to Uzhhorod and from there every two hours there is a train which leaves for Budapest, Hungary… This is an option we are recommending to our people.”
Embassy of India in Ukraine issues a new advisory to Indian nationals
"Weekend curfew lifted in Kyiv. All students are advised to make their way to the railway station for onward journey to western parts. Ukraine Railways is putting special trains for evacuations." it reads pic.twitter.com/OM1GlzR768
— ANI (@ANI) February 28, 2022
Operation Ganga, the initiative launched by the Government of India to bring back Indians stranded in Ukraine has already successfully brought back more than a thousand of its nationals.
It has also set up 24×7 control centers to assist in the evacuation of Indians through the border crossing points with Hungary, Poland, Romania, and the Slovak Republic.
A Twitter handle, ‘OpGanga Helpline’, has also been dedicated to the mission, where all information regarding the evacuation process and advisories of embassies are shared to keep everyone up-to-date.
24×7 Control Centres set up to assist in the evacuation of Indian nationals through the border crossing points with Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovak Republic⬇️https://t.co/uMI1Wu5Jwd#OperationGanga pic.twitter.com/UXF1NVBFcr
— OpGanga Helpline (@opganga) February 27, 2022
Earlier today, the Government of India also announced that three Union Ministers, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya Scindia, Minister of Law and Justice Kiren Rijiju, and Minister of State for Civil Aviation Gen (Retd) VK Singh would travel to the neighboring countries of Ukraine to coordinate the evacuation of the Indians from the war-hit region.
We hope that this will make the process of evacuation easier and faster.
Not competent enough to sit idle and stare as the world goes by, Pallavi is optimistic to a fault and believes in building her world on her own rather than depending on others to make things right.