A day after leaving Kharkiv, one of the worst-hit towns by Russian attacks, Indian students, including those from Punjab, are weighing options to move forward to leave the war-torn country as Poland’s border gets crowded.
Also read: Russian forces capture Ukraine’s port city Kherson, houses in Kharkiv bombed
Most of the students, who had left Kharkiv on Tuesday after the death of an Indian MBBS student in a Russian missile attack in the city, reached Lviv on Wednesday morning.
The Indian embassy has asked Indians to consider avoiding the Shehyni-Medyka border crossing, just 82km from Lviv, as it is congested with long queues of refugees. The students are now trying to find other options to enter neighbouring countries for evacuation. Some of them have already started moving towards Hungary and Slovakia, at least 350km away.
The Indian embassy in Poland has issued an urgent advisory to its nationals stranded in Lviv and Ternopil and other western parts of the war-torn Ukraine to travel to the Budomierz border checkpoint at the earliest for a relatively quick entry into Poland. “Alternatively, they are advised to travel south to transit via Hungary or Romania,” it said.
Surviving on biscuits and water, students weigh options
Jaspreet Singh Mann, an MBBS student from Maur in Kotkapura, said: “We boarded a train soon after an Indian student was killed in a missile attack on Tuesday. After 24 hours, we reached Lviv, where the situation is better. We have just got to know that the borders are packed with people fleeing Ukraine. As Poland’s border is crowded, we have decided to board a bus to Uzhhorod near the Slovakia border from where we will try to cross over. We are surviving on biscuits and water.”
Jaspreet’s father Gurjant Singh said he is relieved to an extent as his son is out of the sensitive area. “I’m at a bank to deposit money in Jaspreet’s account as we don’t know what awaits him at the border,” he said.
MBBS student Khushwinder Kaur, 23, who belongs to Faridkot, said over phone that the students had arrived at Lviv and were weighing options following the advisory by the Indian Embassy. A fifth-year MBBS student at Kharkiv National Medical University, she said: “It has been a tough train ride with limited resources. There is uncertainty over the mode of transport to reach the border. Since Poland’s border is jam-packed, we are looking into other options.”
Last batch of Indian students boards train from Kharkiv
The last batch of 100 Indian students of Kharkiv National Medical University left the city via train to reach Lviv on Wednesday morning.
Kotkapura native Abhishek Sharma, 22, who went to Ukraine for MBBS only last month, said: “Among the medical students of Kharkiv National Medical University, we were last to board the train. We were in the basement of hostel number 5 of the university for six days. After the curfew was lifted on Wednesday morning, we reached the station 10km outside the city and boarded the train from Lviv. The special train is likely to take 17 hours to reach Lviv, which is a safe zone,” he said.