An Indian government spokesman said on Saturday that the Indian government is talking to officials in both Russia and Ukraine to press for a ceasefire after Indian students stranded in Ukraine demanded evacuation.
We strongly urge both sides to cease fire. Whether and when it will happen is something we will see when it happens, Arindam Bagshi, spokesperson for India’s Ministry of External Affairs, said during a press briefing on Saturday. “But I hope it happens because this will be something useful and necessary for us, or else we are putting them at risk. … We will keep pushing this.”
At least 700 Indian students are stranded in the northeastern Ukrainian city of Sumy, according to the ministry.
The other major concern is transportation, Baji said, as Sumy is about 30 miles from the Russian border and train lines are non-functioning.
Baji said buses or trucks would be an acceptable option. However, the best way out will be determined by officials on the ground. Meanwhile, Russia’s ambassador to India, Denis Alipov, said Russia had responded to India’s request for help and arranged “hundreds of buses”.
“We have created special groups that are ready to take the Indians to the territory of the Russian Federation and then take them to India, but the important thing is that the fighting continues in these areas and where the Indians are, our forces are not,” Alipov added on Saturday that Indian diplomats were in Belgrade, Serbia to coordinate work on Earth.
Baji said he understood the students’ feeling of being left behind but urged them to stay in the shelters. The students told CNN that the Indian embassy did not respond to their calls, but Bagshi said, “We are talking to the students directly from the embassy and our control room here.”
“If there is a corridor, we will find a way to get them out. If the fighting stops, I assure you we will be able to get them out,” he said.
As far as the ministry is aware, all the Indian nationals have left Kharkiv, Baji said, but the embassy will take a fresh look to identify any remaining citizens.
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