An Indian student has died during the shelling in Ukraine’s Kharkiv this morning, confirmed the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi amid missile attacks hitting the centre of Ukraine's second-largest city.
He added that the MEA is also in touch with his family. The student has been identified as Naveen from Karnataka's Haveri district, which is also the state Chief Minister Basavaraj S Bommai's home district. Karnataka CM also called Naveen's family to offer condolences and conveyed that the government is doing everything to get his body back.
Bagchi tweeted, “With profound sorrow, we confirm that an Indian student lost his life in shelling in Kharkiv this morning. The Ministry is in touch with his family. We convey our deepest condolences to the family.”
He further said, “Foreign Secretary is calling in Ambassadors of Russia and Ukraine to reiterate our demand for urgent safe passage for Indian nationals who are still in Kharkiv and cities in other conflict zones. Similar action is also being undertaken by our Ambassadors in Russia and Ukraine.”
The MEA spokesperson also said that the Foreign Secretary is calling Ambassadors of Russia and Ukraine to reiterate India’s demands for safe passage for Indians especially students stuck in Kharkiv and other parts of the war-torn Ukraine.
“From the Indian side, the preparations for evacuation have been in place for some time now. An Indian team has been positioned in the Russian city of Belgorod, close to the Ukrainian border. However, the conflict situation in and around Kharkiv and nearby cities has been an obstacle,” sources told India Today.
They further said that India has been able to rescue citizens from areas where movement has not yet been impacted while adding over 9,000 Indian nationals have been repatriated from Ukraine whereas a considerable number of them are in safer areas now.
They also noted, “We will continue to make utmost efforts to ensure the return [of] our citizens stranded in Ukraine.” Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked the Indian Air Force (IAF) to evacuate Indians stranded in Ukraine due to Russian invasion. The IAF is likely to deploy several C-17 Globemaster aircraft as part of Operation Ganga.
Government sources said that leveraging the capacities of the IAF will ensure that more people can be evacuated in a shorter time frame. The C-17 will also deliver humanitarian aid to war-hit Ukraine more effectively.
(With inputs from Geeta Mohan)
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