A Ukrainian soldier looks at a hole from a shell fired by pro-Russian separatists in the village of Novoluhanske, Luhansk region, Ukraine. (Photo: AP)
New Delhi: With tensions on Ukraine’s borders escalating by the day, India on Sunday issued a fresh advisory for its citizens, particularly students, who are now in Ukraine, asking them to leave the country at the earliest taking any available flights.
"In view of the continued high levels of tensions and uncertainties with respect to the situation in Ukraine, all Indian nationals whose stay is not deemed essential and all Indian students are advised to leave Ukraine temporarily. The available commercial flights and charter flights may be availed for travel for an orderly and timely departure. Indian students are advised to also get in touch with their respective student contractors for updates on charter flights, and also continue to follow the embassy’s Facebook, website and Twitter for any update," the Indian embassy in Kyiv said.
Due to the heavy demand from the Indian community, and particularly students in the country, Air India is operating special flights between Kyiv and New Delhi on February 22, 24 and 26.
However, many of the students are in a limbo as most of the universities in Ukraine have gone in for offline classes and are not permitting online classes for the students who may wish to leave the country. One student said on Twitter that the universities are saying the situation is normal and if the students want to leave, it will be at their own risk.
According to the latest reports, Russia has surrounded Ukraine with around 1.5 lakh troops, raising the prospect of a Russian invasion and the largest conflict in Europe in decades. Ukraine too has mobilised its troops and Ukrainian military officials have reported a ten-fold increase in shelling by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. However, Russia has denied any plans for an invasion. On the contrary, Russia has claimed that Kyiv government forces have shelled three Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) settlements using 120-mm calibre mines, after which the people in these areas have been evacuated to Russia.