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PM Modi and Russian President Putin speak once again, discuss evacuation of Indian citizens from Kharkiv through humanitarian corridor

The phone call between PM Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin happened shortly after another high-level meeting on 'Operation Ganga' on Wednesday evening (File image courtesy: Kremlin.ru)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin for the second time in a week on Wednesday night as both leaders reviewed the situation in Ukraine, especially in the city of Kharkiv where many Indian students are stuck.  

According to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), the discussion between the two centred around the safe evacuation of the Indian nationals from the conflict areas.

The phone call happened after the Prime Minister had chaired another high-level meeting on 'Operation Ganga' to review the ongoing efforts to bring back Indians stranded in Ukraine.

The Kremlin later said that Putin stressed during the meeting that all the necessary instructions have been given, and the Russian military is doing everything possible to ensure the safe removal of Indian citizens from the war zone and their return to their homeland.

"The Russian side, in particular, is trying to organise an urgent evacuation of a group of Indian students from Kharkov through the humanitarian corridor along the shortest route to Russia," said the Russian President's office.

However, the statement added, that "according to the latest information, these students are actually taken hostage by the Ukrainian security forces, who use them as a human shield and in every possible way prevent them from leaving for Russian territory. The responsibility in this case lies entirely with the Kiev authorities".

As reported by IndiaNarrative.com on Wednesday, a team of officers from the Indian embassy in Moscow is already camping in Belgorod in the border region of Russia adjoining Ukraine to ensure an urgent safe passage for all Indian nationals who are still in Kharkiv.

Russia Ukraine

Prime Minister Modi had earlier said that the entire government machinery is working round the clock to ensure that all Indian nationals in Ukraine are safe and secure. On Wednesday, he also reviewed India's ongoing humanitarian assistance to Ukraine.

On October 24, Putin had briefed PM Modi about the developments regarding Ukraine as India reiterated its long-standing conviction that the differences between Russia and the NATO group can only be resolved through honest and sincere dialogue. PM Modi had appealed for an immediate cessation of violence, and called for concerted efforts from all sides to return to the path of diplomatic negotiations and dialogue.

He had also sensitised the Russian President about India's concerns regarding the safety of the Indian citizens in Ukraine, especially students, and conveyed that India attaches the highest priority to their safe exit and return to India.

The leaders had agreed then that their officials and diplomatic teams would continue to maintain regular contacts on issues of topical interest.

Meanwhile, Denis Alipov, the Russian Ambassador-designate to India, said earlier today that Moscow had received New Delhi's request for the emergency evacuation of its citizens stranded in Ukraine, especially in the eastern part of the country.  

"We have received India's requests for emergency evacuation of all those stranded there through the Russian territory. We are actively working on all ways and means to launch such an operation and provide a humanitarian corridor for evacuation of the people there," Alipov stated in a media interaction.

The top diplomat also thanked India for its unbiased stand on the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

"We are strategic allies with India. We are grateful to India for its balanced position displayed at the United Nations. India understands the depth of this crisis," the Ambassador said.

Earlier today, the Indian Embassy in Kyiv had issued an 'urgent advisory' to Indian nationals stranded in Kharkiv, asking them to leave the city immediately for their own safety and proceed to settlements at Pesochyn, Babai and Bezlyudivka by 1800 hrs (Ukrainian Time) on foot if they are unable to find vehicles for commuting to specified locations.

"Those students who cannot find vehicles or buses and are at the railway station can proceed on foot to Pisochyn (11 km) Babai (12 km) and Bezlyudivka (16 km) Proceed immediately. Under all circumstances Indians must reach these settlements by 1800 hrs (Ukrainian time) today," the advisory stated.

Also Read: 26 flights in three days – India accelerates operation to bring home stranded citizens from Ukraine