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  4. Amid Russia-Ukraine tensions, Indian students in Kharkiv in a fix over leaving country | EXCLUSIVE

Amid Russia-Ukraine tensions, Indian students in Kharkiv in a fix over leaving country | EXCLUSIVE

Russia continues war games near Ukrainian borders and across its vast territory. According to the United States, Russia had increased its force near Ukraine by 7,000 troops.

Vani Mehrotra Reported by: Vani Mehrotra @vani_mehrotra New Delhi Updated on: February 17, 2022 13:08 IST
Ukraine Russia conflict
Image Source : AP

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, center, arrives to attend a military drill outside the city of Rivne, northern Ukraine

Highlights

  • Families of students who are in Ukraine are worried about the safety of their children
  • Several students said they wish to return to India however flight ticket fares have skyrocketed
  • Students said there's no restriction on the movement of people within Ukraine

Several, including students from India who had gone to Ukraine, now fear for their life. This comes a day after the Indian Embassy in Ukraine, in an advisory, had asked Indians -- especially students in Ukraine to consider leaving temporarily. The advisory also stated all non-essential travel to and within Ukraine should be avoided.

India Tv - Ukraine Russia news

Image Source : TWITTER/INDIA IN UKRAINE

Ukraine Russia news: Advisory and helpline numbers for Indians in Ukraine

Some Indian students in Ukraine on Wednesday spoke to India TV Digital about the challenges being faced by them in the country. Sharing survival stories, Akshank Sharma, a first-year general medicine student told India TV Digital that several students have booked flight tickets for a safe return to India. 

"There was a panicking situation here and many students booked their flights," Akshank said.

However, leaving classes in the mid of their academic session and travelling to India is going to be an expensive move, he further said, clarifying the universities have already issued a notice saying students will have to rework their missed classes if they decide to leave. 

Akshank shared a notice from the Kharkiv National Medical University, which confirmed the continuation of offline classes for students despite tensions at the border with Russia. 

India Tv - Ukraine Russia crisis

Image Source : INDIA TV

Ukraine Russia news: Image shows notice from Kharkiv National Medical University

Tensions over Ukraine have increased in recent months, with Russia and NATO accusing each other of amassing troops on the Russian-Ukrainian border. The United States and Ukraine accuse Russia of planning for an invasion, however, Moscow continues to deny such claims and maintains that it has no intention of attacking any country.

Meanwhile, another Indian student, Rohit, who has a flight ticket booked for India, said he may consider cancelling the ticket if the situation improves. The flight tickets are costlier at present and students are left with no choice, but to pay the hefty amount in order to return to their homes. 

"Our parents in India are worried," Rohit told India TV Digital, adding, "I will get the tickets cancelled because we cannot afford to miss our classes, moreover the ticket fares have drastically increased."

Speaking on guidelines from colleges and universities, another Indian student who did not wish to be named said offline classes are going on as usual and we have received no notices regarding any change of timing or routes. There are no restrictions on the movement of people within Ukraine, the student said. 

Commenting on the advisory by the Indian Embassy, Akshank said, "the advisory was released at a time when things had almost started falling back in place."

Kharkiv is roughly 35 km from the Russian border and Akshank said the situation was tense until a few days back. 

Another student said they have not received a temporary resident permit from Ukraine. Hence, leaving the country and returning later would mean going through the process of visa application again, which would cost them nearly Rs 50,000 as per Indian currency. 

Ukraine Russia Crisis: What's going on now

Russia continues war games near Ukraine’s borders and across its vast territory. According to the United States, Russia had increased its force near Ukraine by 7,000 troops. Across Ukraine, citizens of all ages waved flags in the streets and from apartment windows. Hundreds unfolded a 200-meter (650-foot) flag at Kyiv’s Olympic Stadium, while another was draped in the center of a shopping mall in the capital.

Russia’s Defense Ministry has announced that some units participating in military exercises will begin returning to their bases. It also released footage of a trainload of armored vehicles leaving Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

Meanwhile, the crisis is causing ripples in the skies and the seas.

Ukraine International Airlines said it has sent some of its passenger planes to Spain “for safe keeping.” The airline said it took the decision under pressure from insurance companies “due to the foreign policy situation.”

The airport at Castellón in eastern Spain said five planes had arrived, with a sixth expected. The Ukrainian airline continues to operate to and from the country with a reduced fleet.

What is happening in Russia?

Western officials say even if an invasion is not imminent, Russia could keep troops massed near Ukraine for weeks, turning the military buildup into a protracted crisis that has already harmed Ukraine’s economy. Russian forces kept up their massive war games Wednesday in Belarus, to the north of Ukraine, with fighter jets flying training missions and paratroopers holding shooting drills.

The West fears those exercises could be used as cover ahead of an invasion of Ukraine, but Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei said all Russian troops and weapons will leave the country after the maneuvers wrap up Sunday.

Also Read | Russia adds 7,000 more troops near Ukraine border: US official

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