Indian students, who are currently at the border crossings of Porubne-Siret, near Romania and Shehnyi-Medyka, near Poland, say that they are facing terrible conditions and have no access to the Indian Embassy officials of the respective countries.
Though another Air India flight from Romania’s Bucharest arrived in New Delhi on Sunday with 250 Indians, thousands of Indian students are still awaiting a chance to cross the border while waiting in cramped spaces.
Several students claimed that they have been left in a lurch by the Indian authorities and are being denied a chance to get into the safe havens.
"We have been here since 4 AM and are almost out of food, water, and other essentials. It's just a matter of time that I won't be able to access the internet as my battery is pretty low. We are also facing network issues which can be a problem as I am giving constant updates to my family members. Some of us fear getting Hypothermia as the temperatures are minus 8-10 degrees celsius," said Vijay Chauhan from Ivano Frankivsk University who left for the border checkpoint area near Romania on Saturday as buses arranged by the University and Indian Embassy were delayed till Sunday.
Chauhan added that Indian officials are not communicating with them properly despite being told through the advisories that they can avail them. Another student from Ivano Frankivsk, Saad Ansari, stated that many students who left the city by bus had to walk for another 10 kilometres to reach the checkpoint near the Siret without having a proper meal. "I haven't slept since the past 24 hours and the bus we are currently taking shelter in hasn't moved an inch," added Saad.
Students, who are in anticipation to cross into Poland, have also reported incidents of harassment by Polish and Ukrainian officials. Disturbing accounts by Indian students stranded in Ukraine surfaced on Sunday morning with videos of them beaten up by Polish officers going viral. In audio circulated on social media, one student seems to be claiming that some students were also thrashed and 'tortured' Ukrainian officers.
"Poland is allowing to enter without any visa to all Indian students who escaped from Russian aggression in Ukraine," said Polish Ambassador Adam Burakowski on Sunday after Poland accepted India’s request to facilitate the evacuation of countrymen from Ukraine.
Students from Kyiv's Bogomolets National Medical Academy are still taking shelter in the bunkers of their hostels. "We can still hear air sirens and explosions. There's currently a curfew going on in Kyiv and we can travel only on Monday," said Pooja Bishnoi from Bogomolets University who added that they have two days worth of food and other essentials.
Some students from Lviv National Medical University claimed that they had to come back from the border area after not being able to cross into Poland. "We made our way back to Lviv by travelling in a bus we found along the way and are now back in our hostel rooms," said Waseem Khan who added that the weather was so bad that "they feared they might die."
Another student Sarthak Vashishth said that he is leaving Dnipro with the help of some Ukrainians and taking shelter in a friend's house in Lviv and would be travelling by train. "I will be only taking my laptop, some clothes, and documents with me," Sarthak added.
Indian Embassy in Ukraine has called on nationals in the country to "move away from conflict zones to the Western region subject to the security situation and the extant regulations," in a tweet on Sunday. The Embassy added that the Ukraine Railways is additionally organising emergency trains at no cost, first come basis from Kyiv for which the schedule can be found at train stations.
The Free Press Journal reached out to the Indian Embassy in Kyiv via mail but to no avail.