Kyiv (Ukraine): Nearly 400 Indian students in Ukraine's Sumy city bordering Russia have taken shelter in a basement after Russian forces took control of it and have appealed to the government of India to evacuate them.
Sumy in northeastern Ukraine is about 50 miles from the Russian border. The city mayor surrendered to Russian forces on Thursday.
The students, most of whom are studying in Sumy State Medical University, said they fear for their safety as gunshots can be heard outside.
"Right now, we are hiding in the basement of our dormitory. We do not know if this basement is enough for us to survive. We urge the Indian government to try to evacuate us from the eastern side of Ukraine," Lalit Kumar, one of the students, told PTI.
"Travelling on our own is not possible. Martial law has been imposed here and that means no outing, no cars, no buses and no private vehicle can travel. ATMs and supermarkets are also not working," he said.
The students also shared short videos of the basement they are hiding in.
Kumar, a fifth-year student, said they have limited supplies.
"We do not have enough supplies here to continue. The Indian government is our last hope... we want go to our motherland and see our loved ones. Kindly help us," he said in a message.
Putin announced a special military operation in Ukraine on Wednesday night. Russia has launched multiple attacks on several areas in central and eastern Ukraine.
At a media briefing on Thursday, India's Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla assured all Indian citizens, including students, in Ukraine and their family members that the government will take all possible steps to bring them back safe and sound.
He said there were around 20,000 Indians in Ukraine and of them, nearly 4,000 have returned to India in the last few days.