New Delhi: The last big group of 600 Indian students evacuated from the northeastern Ukrainian city of Sumy has boarded a special train from Lviv for Poland. They are likely to board flights to India on Thursday.
The students reached Lviv in western Ukraine from Poltava on another special train.
“Ambassador flags off special train with 600 Indian students from Sumy University at Lviv Railway Station. They will travel to Poland and are expected to board evacuation flights to India tomorrow. Be Safe Be Strong,” the Indian embassy in Ukraine said in a tweet on Wednesday.
Several videos emerged on social media showing the students holding Indian flags and raising “Bharat Mata ki Jai” slogans.
Covering hundreds of miles across Ukraine, using multiple means of transport, the students are being evacuated from the war-hit east European country after their two weeks of excruciating stay in beleaguered Sumy.
The operation in Sumy began on Tuesday morning when the last big group of 600 Indians was evacuated from the city.
The Indian nationals were taken from Sumy in a convoy of 13 buses escorted by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to Poltava, Anshad Ali, a student coordinator, said.
Jisna Jiji, a 25-year-old medical student who spoke to PTI from the train to Lviv, said all of them are relieved to have come out of Sumy.
“We are tired but happy. We are travelling since Tuesday morning and have to travel for several more hours but now, we have hope that we will reach home safely,” she said.
Ali, who spoke to PTI from Poltava, said it is a nearly-12-hour train journey to Lviv, from where the students will be taken to Poland.
He informed that around 600 Indians were moved out of Sumy. The group also included a handful of Bangladeshi and Nepalese nationals.
“After the Indian students, the students of other countries were also evacuated. Around 95 per cent of the students have been evacuated from Sumy,” Ali said.
For two weeks, the Indian students in Sumy waged a doughty battle in bomb shelters and basements of their hostels in frigid weather, low on food, drinking water and other essential supplies, as Russian forces clobbered the city with rockets and heavy gunfire.
The first attempt to evacuate them was made on March 7 after the distressed students put out a video, saying they have decided to take up a journey on foot to reach the Russian border. The attempt failed as the ceasefire did not take hold and the students were made to return to their hostels.