Indian students who were stranded in Sumy board the special train to western Ukraine organised with assistance of Ukrainian authorities, amid Russia-Ukraine conflict, in Ukraine. (PTI Photo)
HYDERABAD: As many as 694 Indian students including Telugus, who moved out of the sensitive city of Sumy on Tuesday proceeded to Western Ukraine from Poltava to reach the border of Ukraine. The Indian Embassy officials will reportedly conclude ‘Operation Ganga’, shifting of Indian students from Ukraine to India, by Thursday.
The students, who proceeded to Western Ukraine, said it would take 10 hours to reach a safe location. "We initially are being shifted to Western Ukraine from Poltava. Last night, we reached Poltava safely and from there we proceeded towards to Western Ukraine. The Embassy officials will monitor us to reach the border where the they have arranged special flights to India," a medical student Mohammed Mahtab said.
Students shared their ordeal in spending more than 12 days in the war-hit Sumy city. "The officials told us the Indian students had to walk more than 30 kilometres after reaching western Ukraine. Based on the guidelines, we will take a decision to reach the border. We had a tough time as we were stuck in Sumy city. It is really a rebirth for us after moving out of Sumy city. We boarded buses two days ago following the ceasefire declared by Russian armed forces. Suddenly, shelling activity took place and some locals died in the gunfire," Swetha Biswas, another student, said.
The students also said some private travels had come forward in Western Ukraine to shift the students. "We prefer to travel by train from Western Ukraine to reach the border. We are asked to temporarily shelter in Western Ukraine where the Indian Embassy officials have arranged food and other facilities for us. We expressed our gratitude to the Indian officials for making efforts in shifting us from Sumy to India," Mahtab said.
The officials preferred Poltava city for safe transportation of students as the Russian forces have been deployed heavily in Kyiv, the capital city of Ukraine. Based on the details of google application form, the embassy officials are likely to conclude student evacuation by Thursday. If any Indian nationals and students are stranded in Ukraine, the embassy officials would operate a flight from each border of Romania, Hungary and Poland based on priority.
The officials have shifted as many as 17,200 Indian students including 700 Telangana students and 650 students from Andhra Pradesh till March 8.