Kharkiv shelling: According to the foreign ministry, an Indian student was killed in shelling in Ukraine this morning. N. Shekharappa, a final-year medical student from Haveri in Karnataka, was killed when Russian soldiers blew up a government building on Tuesday.
“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,” tweeted the External Affairs Ministry.
Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla called in the ambassadors of Russia and Ukraine to “reiterate India’s demand for urgent safe passage for Indian nationals”. It is imperative that Russia and Ukraine respond to the need for safe passage urgently, said sources.
During the Russian military assault on Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, videos showed extensive damage. The biggest government building in Kharkiv was caught on tape being blown up.
The incident happened outside a grocery store when Naveen Shekharappa was hit.
Pooja Praharaj, a student coordinator in Kharkiv, spoke to NDTV shortly after the student died.
“He lived near the Governor’s House and had been standing in the queue for food. Suddenly there was an air strike that blew up the Governor’s House and he was killed,” Ms Praharaj said.
A Ukrainian woman picked up his phone, said the student coordinator. “Speaking from his phone, she said the owner of this phone is being taken to the morgue,” she shared.
This morning, the Indian Embassy advised all citizens, including students, to leave Ukraine capital Kyiv “urgently today, by trains or any other means available”.
“The deteriorating situation in Kharkiv is a matter of grave concern. The safety and security of Indian nationals in that city is of utmost priority to Government,” government sources said.
Satellite image shows a convoy of Russian military vehicles on a road northwest of Kyiv. Hundreds of tanks, towed artillery, armored and logistical vehicles can be seen in photos released by a US-based space technology company.
Around 16,000 Indian students are still stuck in Ukraine. Several students have shared on social media photos and videos from underground bunkers, subway stations and bomb shelters where they have been hiding since last Thursday’s Russian attack. Around 9,000 Indian nationals have left by various special flights.
Many Indian students are stranded in the eastern parts of Ukraine, which has been hit hardest by Russian military aggression, and are finding it difficult to travel by road to reach the western borders. Students are also walking across borders in sub-zero conditions, hoping they cross and fly home. Yesterday, the embassy told the students to go to the railway station in Kyiv, where special evacuation trains have been arranged by Ukraine to take people to the western sector.
Several students complained that they were not allowed to board the trains or were misbehaved with by the authorities.