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Putin and Macron discuss safe evacuation of Indian students from Kharkov in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin told Emmanuel Macron to join forces to ensure the safe evacuation of foreigners from Ukraine, specifically mentioning a large group of Indian students stranded in the city of Kharkov (Images courtesy: Kremlin.ru)

In a significant development, the Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron today discussed safely evacuating the stranded Indian students in Ukraine's Kharkov.

In a phone call lasting an hour and a half, Putin told his French counterpart that Russia's "special military operation" in Ukraine was going "according to plan".

The Russian President also told Macron to join forces to ensure the safe evacuation of foreigners from Ukraine, specifically mentioning a large group of Indian students stranded in the city of Kharkov.

"The French president said he will contact the government of Ukraine on the issue," reported Russian state media quoting a statement from the Kremlin.

The conversation between the two leaders took place after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had spoken to Putin for the second time in a week on Wednesday night with the discussion centering around the safe evacuation of the Indian nationals from the conflict areas in Ukraine.

Macron Putin Ukraine Russia

The Indian Prime Minister had also spoken to Macron, who is in constant touch with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, on Tuesday. PM Modi briefed the French President not only about India's efforts to evacuate its citizens from the conflict areas but also New Delhi dispatching relief supplies, including medicines, for the affected populations.

The two leaders had shared their concerns over continuing hostilities and the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Ukraine as PM Modi welcomed the talks between Russia and Ukraine.

After the phone call between PM Modi and Putin on Wednesday, the Kremlin had emphasised that it has given all the necessary instructions 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.

As reported by IndiaNarrative.com, 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.

On Thursday, India had denied reports of Indian students being held hostage in Ukraine, saying it continues to coordinate with several countries in the region to evacuate its citizens at the earliest.

"Our embassy in Ukraine is in continuous touch with Indian nationals in Ukraine. We note that with the cooperation of the Ukrainian authorities, many students have left Kharkiv yesterday. We have not received any reports of any hostage situation regarding any student," Arindam Bagchi, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson had said earlier today.

"We have requested support of the Ukrainian authorities in arranging special trains for taking out students from Kharkiv and neighbouring areas to the western part of the country," he added.

The Russian defence ministry had said on Wednesday that it has received information about the Ukrainian authorities forcibly keeping a large group of Indian students in Kharkov who wish to leave Ukrainian territory and go to Belgorod.

"We have been coordinating effectively with the countries in the region including Russia, Romania, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Moldova. We appreciate the help extended by the Ukrainian authorities to make this possible. We thank Ukraine’s western neighbours in receiving Indian nationals and for accommodating them while they waited for flights to take them back home," the MEA spokesperson said today.

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