In the Ukrainian border city of Kharkiv, around 15,000 Indian students are trapped between Russian jets and tanks. Their restlessness grows with each passing day. Basements, bunkers, and even underpasses have been used as safe havens for students. Thousands of kilometres from home, these hungry and thirsty students had never imagined themselves in such a dire situation.
At the same time, the Indian Embassy is attempting to expel these students and send them to Hungary, where they can be transported to India.
The United States and the United Kingdom have imposed restrictions on Russia’s economy as part of their preparations to crack down on the country’s economy.
Anas Choudhary, an MBBS student in Kharkiv, told Bhaskar correspondent Poonam Kaushal about Indian students hiding in a bunker near the Russian border. Before you read this tragedy, take a look at our cartoonist’s take on the situation…
Explosions erupted all over the place, and heavy military vehicles gathered on the highways.
We are Kharkiv National Medical University students. The Russian border is about 35 kilometres away from this city. There are explosions everywhere. The streets are patrolled by heavy military vehicles. Most people are fleeing the city, but we Indian students are trapped in a basement because we are unable to leave. The majority of people in the city also live in the basement.
Not only Indian students, but also Ukrainian citizens, are alarmed by such images in Kharkiv.
Kharkiv National University is home to over 15,000 students. All of these items can be found in the basement. Some people have even attempted to relocate to safer cities.
We were all aware that the situation was deteriorating, so we had all purchased food for the next four to five days. It’s dark in this room. The electricity has been turned off. The sound of explosions occasionally takes us all by surprise.
Students claim that the light has been turned off for several days and that they are unsure how many more days they will have to spend in the dark.
The Indian Embassy has not responded in a satisfactory manner.
At three o’clock last night, there was a big bang. The series of explosions has continued since then. We don’t know what’s going to happen next. We are unable to purchase return tickets. Because the airport has been occupied by Russia, flights have been halted. The flight that was scheduled to arrive from India to pick up the students has been cancelled.
We have attempted to contact the Indian Embassy but have received no satisfactory response. Some students have returned from their missions, but the majority are still here.
The situation has rapidly deteriorated in recent days, and it is only getting worse with each passing hour. We are all students who are united but terrified.
All Indian students in hostels have been relocated to the basement. The hostels have been vacated by approximately 2,000 Indian students. There is an underpass here, and there are also children hidden beneath it. This underpass provides us with a sense of security.
Food and drink have been collected by these students, but it will only last four or five days. Everyone is in a bind because they don’t know what will happen if help isn’t provided quickly.
The city is becoming deserted; everyone has fled to Poland.
The majority of the city’s residents have relocated. Outside, we have no idea what’s going on. A large number of people have relocated to Poland.
We have enough food and drink to last a few days, but we haven’t been able to prepare anything. Eating chips, for example. The majority of the students are ravenous.
We have yet to receive assistance from the Ukrainian government. The Embassy has sent us a message stating that the Indian government is attempting to evacuate Indian students through Hungary, but we do not know when we will be able to leave from here.
Not being able to get assistance from the university administration
We appeal to the Indian government to recognise our plight and make every effort to get us out of here as soon as possible.
All of the students are conversing at home and waiting for government information. Our relatives are also distressed.
The university administration has advised us to remain calm and take care of ourselves. Trying to project a calm demeanour, but the truth is that our situation is dire.