Indian Students In Ukraine Panic About Their Safe Return As Russia-Ukraine Crisis Rises

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Manisha Swain

New Delhi, 24th February 2022: Russia announced a military operation in Ukraine which led thousands of Indian students enrolled in Ukrainian higher education institutions in a state of panic. Indian students stranded in Ukraine are pleading with officials to ensure their safe return to India.

According to an official document in 2020, Ukraine had a small Indian community. About 18,000 Indian students are studying in Ukraine and most of them are pursuing Medicine.

Indian students outside the Indian Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine are requesting officials to make at least a sitting arrangement inside the embassy as they have been standing outside the embassy since morning in minus two degrees temperature. Instead of getting help from the embassy, they are asked to find hotels for themselves.

Arun, a medical student at VN Karazin Kharkiv National University said, “Tickets are booked but now my return looks uncertain. The airspace has been shut down as far as I know.”

Reportedly, Air India’s special flight had to go back midway due to the closure of airspace given the potential hazard to civil aviation. The flight was scheduled to bring back another batch of Indians.

Arpit Katiyar, a student studying in Ukraine from Kanpur said, “Even our local agent who arranged our admissions and stays is saying we should not panic. But how can someone not panic when bombs are being dropped? I don’t know what to do. Some are saying the airspace is also blocked now. I don’t know whether I will be able to return.”

A student from Ukraine, Harsh Goyal said, “The situation is really tense. Some students have already booked their flights but the flights are cancelled.”

Not only the students stranded in Ukraine are worried about the situation but also their relatives in India are panicking. The families of students studying in Ukraine reached out to the Embassy of Ukraine in New Delhi.

As reported by news agency ANI, “My brother is an MBBS student in Ukraine, we last spoke to him 2 days ago. I came here to find out what help is being extended to them and what is being done,” says Neha.

According to Indian students in Ukraine, the Indian embassy did request Indians to temporarily leave the country by the middle of February but as compared to other countries, the announcement was made late, leaving them not many options.