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Indian students in Ukraine: Dollar exchange stopped; no way to return

In Figures: Indian students in different countries

Ground Report | New Delhi: Indian students in Ukraine; India said on Thursday that it was “closely observing the situation” in Ukraine after the Russian attack, avoiding condemning the action of strategically in terms of defence and military equipment, and announced that The focus of the Asian country is to guarantee the security of its nationals.

“We are closely watching the changing situation. The focus is on the safety of Indians, especially students. The Foreign Ministry’s control room is being expanded and made operational 24 hours a day,” Indian authorities said in a statement.

Some 20,000 Indians reside in Ukraine, said the representative to the UN, two days after the Asian country began the evacuation of thousands of Indian students and residents who are in the European country.

The students, most of whom study at Sumy State Medical University, said they fear for their safety as gunshots can be heard outside. “Right now, we are hiding in the basement of our dormitory. We don’t know if this basement is enough to survive. We urge the Indian government to try to evacuate us from the eastern side of Ukraine,” said Lalit Kumar, one of the students, said.

“Traveling alone is not possible. Martial law has been imposed here and that means you can’t go out, not even cars, buses, or private vehicles. ATMs and supermarkets are also not working,” she said. The students also shared short videos of the basement they are hiding in.

Students are not able to exchange their currency as Ukrainian stores have stopped trading dollars. The Indian mission in Kyiv was planning to relocate Indian nationals to the western border and has advised them to keep their passport and necessary documents with them all the time.

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Kumar, a fifth-year student, said they have limited supplies. “We don’t have enough supplies here to continue. The Indian government is our last hope, we want to go to our homeland and see our loved ones. Please help us,” she said in a message.

Mohammad Ammar, a student from Bijnor, arrived at Delhi airport at around 7:30 am on Thursday. He says, “I am a first-year MBBS student at the Ivano-Frankivsk International Medical University. We got food in the mess twice. The meal includes rajma, chickpeas, potato, chicken, cabbage, roti rice, and sometimes it’s also complete.”

He says his flight landed in India on Thursday, but all of his companions are stuck in Ukraine. He says, “If I tell you, my heart is there.” He said there were around 20,000 Indians in Ukraine and of them, almost 4,000 have returned to India in the last few days.

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