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Kashmiri Students Stranded in Ukraine Await Evacuation

Out of the 180-200 Kashmiri students in Ukraine, some have managed to return.

Srinagar: Kashmiri students studying in Ukraine are in a state of fear after Russia invaded the former Soviet republic from the north, east and south on Thursday and is closing in on capital Kyiv.

We have been provided the location of bomb shelters even as we have filled evacuation forms given by the embassy and are awaiting its notification,” said Sheikh Abrar, from Baramulla district, an MBBS student at eastern Ukraine’s Sumy State University who is awaiting evacuation along with another dozen students.

Another MBBS student at the same university who hails from Soura area of Srinagar said that she woke at 5 am to the crying and screaming of other students as reports of the attack surfaced. “We were asked to fill up certain forms, keep our passports handy and wait for the embassy’s order. However, we haven’t received any directions,” the fifth-year student, requesting anonymity, said.

The university’s order asking the students to shift to basements has caused more panic. “We were asked to charge our phones and store sufficient water as electricity and water supply might be cut. The embassy asked us to move to the west, which is so risky as trains and buses are suspended. Only emergency vehicles are plying,” the student added.

Out of the 180-200 Kashmiri students enrolled at different educational institutions in Ukraine, some have managed to return while the remaining have appealed to the embassy and the government for early evacuation. “There are 2,000-3,000 Indian students in my university alone—imagine their plight. We don’t know what to do in this extremely difficult situation,” the student from Soura said. According to the students, their anxious parents fear that communication services will take a hit. “We have no idea what will happen in our area,” she added.

Kashmir divisional commissioner PK Pole said that the government is in constant touch with the embassy in Ukraine as thousands of Indians are stranded there. “The Kashmiri students are safe as of now and the government is taking necessary measures to evacuate them at the earliest,” he said.

The ministry of external affairs has formed teams to assist the evacuation of Indian nationals from Ukraine. The teams will be at the borders with Hungary, Poland, Slovak Republic and Romania to help evacuate Indian nationals.

The writers are Srinagar-based freelance journalists.

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