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Russia doing its best to evacuate Indian citizens from Sumy, Putin assures PM Modi

This was the third discussion over phone between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin since the start of Moscow's special military operation in Ukraine (Images courtesy: Russian Embassy in Delhi; Indian embassy in Ukraine & PIB)

Leading from the front, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday afternoon, their third discussion over phone since the start of Moscow's special military operation in Ukraine.

The Modi-Putin conversation happened shortly after the Indian PM had ended a 35-minute call with the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

"Prime Minister Modi conveyed his deep concern for the safety and security of the Indian students still remaining in Sumy. President Putin briefed the Prime Minister about the ongoing measures related to humanitarian corridors for facilitating evacuation of civilians including Indian students," said the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).

The conversation between the two leaders focused particularly on the evacuation of Indian nationals stuck in the Sumy-Kharkiv region of eastern Ukraine.

Putin, according to a statement released by the Kremlin later, informed the Indian Prime Minister that the Russian Armed Forces had declared a ceasefire and opened humanitarian corridors in view of the worsening humanitarian situation.

However, he said, nationalist formations continue to create obstacles to the peaceful evacuation of civilians, including foreign nationals, from the combat areas by resorting to crude force and various provocations.

"He drew attention to the fact that the Indian students, who were held hostage by radicals in Kharkov, managed to leave the city only after strong international pressure was exerted on Kiev. Russian military personnel are doing their best to evacuate Indian citizens from Sumy," said the Russian President's office.

As the two leaders discussed the evolving situation in Ukraine, Putin briefed PM Modi on the status of negotiations between the Ukrainian and Russian teams. India welcomed the ongoing negotiations between the two sides and expressed hope that they would lead to cessation of the conflict.

Russia Ukraine Putin

"He (PM Modi) suggested that a direct conversation between President Putin and President Zelenskyy may greatly assist the ongoing peace efforts," said the Indian PMO.

PM Narendra Modi, according to Moscow, expressed readiness to render any assistance possible to achieve an early resolution of the conflict.

Earlier in the day, PM Modi had spoken to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, expressing deep concern over the safety and security of Indian students still stuck in the conflict zone.

India said that it remains deeply worried about its remaining citizens in the warzone. Russia had declared a ceasefire Monday morning, opening humanitarian corridors for the evacuation of civilians from Kyiv, Mariupol, Kharkiv and Sumy in eastern Ukraine,

The Indian authorities estimate over 700 of its citizens are still stuck in Sumy which has witnessed intense violence over the past few days.

"Prime Minister thanked Ukrainian authorities for their facilitation in evacuating more than 20000 Indian citizens from Ukraine. He expressed deep concern for the safety and security of Indian students still remaining in Ukraine and emphasized the need for their quick and safe evacuation," said the PMO.

Zelenskyy also briefed PM Modi in detail about the conflict situation and the ongoing negotiations between Ukraine and Russia.


"The Prime Minister expressed deep concern about the ongoing conflict and resultant humanitarian crisis. Prime Minister reiterated his call for immediate cessation of violence and noted that India has always stood for peaceful resolution of issues and direct dialogue between the two parties," the PMO added.

Also Read: India fully focused on Sumy evacuation in Ukraine after thousands return via Hungary

After safely evacuating thousands of its students from the country, India is now completely focused on bringing out its citizens from Sumy, a city in the Ukrainian northeast on the border with Russia.

An Indian team is also stationed in Poltava to coordinate the safe passage of Indian students stranded in Sumy to western borders.

"Confirmed time & date will be issued soon. Indian students advised to be ready to leave on short notice. Be safe, be strong," tweeted the Indian embassy in Ukraine on Sunday night.

The Indian government had been strongly pressing both the Russian and the Ukrainian sides to allow a local ceasefire, just to get a corridor for the students.

Ukraine Ceasefire

Russia said that today's ceasefire decision was taken at French President Emmanuel Macron's personal request to Russian President Vladimir Putin during their phone call on Sunday.

As reported by IndianNarrative.com last week, Putin and Macron had on March 3 discussed safely evacuating the stranded Indian students in Ukraine's Kharkov during their phone call lasting an hour and a half.

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The Russian President had 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 had taken place after PM Modi had spoken to Putin for the second time in a week last Wednesday with the discussion centering around the safe evacuation of the Indian nationals from the conflict areas in Ukraine.