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Ukraine crisis; Modi-Putin speak to facilitate student evacuation; India abstains from voting in UNGC

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday and discussed the situation in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, where over a thousand Indian students are stranded.

The second largest city of Ukraine, Kharkiv is virtually under Russian control where a large number of students study.

According to the MEA, PM Modi and Mr Putin “reviewed the situation in Ukraine, especially in the city of Kharkiv where many Indian students are stuck”. They discussed the “safe evacuation of the Indian nationals from the conflict areas,” the statement added.

India also, along with 34 others abstained from voting against Russia at the United Nations General Assembly, where a resolution demanding that Russia stop military operations in Ukraine was passed with 141 votes in favour.

In a statement, India’s ambassador to UN TS Tirumurti said India has decided to abstain in view of the “totality of the evolving situation”.

“We demand safe and uninterrupted passage for all Indian nationals, including our students, who are still stranded in Ukraine, particularly from Kharkiv and other cities in the conflict zones… this remains our foremost priority,” the statement added.

According to report by NDTV, the stranded girl students in Kharkiv, have already been sent on their way to Ukraine’s western border by train, with the help of Russians. Efforts are now being made to evacuate the boys as well.

The report further states, “lot of background negotiations with Russians have been going on. Now they, in fact, are helping us in evacuation”.

The Russians, the report said, “have avoided the areas we had asked them not to target… We are tying up with the Russians for safe passage of our students”.

In the meanwhile, the third Indian Air Force’s C-17 aircraft carrying 208 Indian citizens from Ukraine, landed at Hindon airbase near Delhi from Rzeszow in Poland. MoS Defence, Ajay Bhatt interacted with the Indian nationals, after their arrival.

At the war front, air raid alerts in Kyiv and Kyiv Oblast, Mykolaiv, Lviv, Zhytomyr, Ivano-Frankivsk, Chernihiv and Chernihiv Oblast, Volyn Oblast, Cherkasy Oblast, Kirovohrad Oblast, Poltava Oblast, Khmelnytskyi Oblast, Zaporizhzhia and Odesa have been reported by the Kyiv Independent.

In another development, the Russian Embassy in India tweeted that Indian students were being taken as Human shields by Ukrainians.

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