The evacuation of Indian students stranded in the northeastern Ukrainian city of Sumy has been delayed after Kyiv on Monday dismissed a proposal by Moscow to open humanitarian corridors to allow a free passage of citizens.
While the Ministry of External Affairs and the Indian Embassy have not provided an update on the evacuation from Sumy, students told Scroll.in that the plans have been put off for Monday.
Ankita Singla, a student at the Sumy State University, told Scroll.in that the evacuation plans have been delayed. Another student, Anuj Kumar, said he had seen four buses close to the university hostel but the plans were called off.
Kumar also said that first-year students would be given priority. “I am a final-year student,” said Kumar. “It will take some time before my turn comes.”
Reyansh Ashri, who works for an education consultant agency, said they are in regular touch with the Indian embassy. “We hope that the government will evacuate them soon,” she said.
Around 700 Indian students have been stranded in Sumy, Scroll.in had reported on March 5. Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan on Monday said that a600 Indian students were still stranded in Sumy. On a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday expressed concern about Indian students stuck in the city.
On Sunday, the Indian embassy in Ukraine had said that its team was present in Poltava city, 175 kilometres from Sumy, to coordinate the evacuation. The embassy had asked the students to be ready to leave at a short notice.
Earlier on Monday, Russia had proposed corridors be opened as part of an evacuation plan from Sumy, which is close to the Russian border, and the besieged city of Mariupol. However, Ukraine Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk called the Russian proposal “immoral” and said Moscow was only aiming for good optics as four of the six corridors would lead to Russia or Belarus, reported The Guardian.