Bhubaneswar: Odia students, who were evacuated from war-torn Ukraine, recounted their horrific experience in the east European country.
The students claimed that they had not imagined that Russian forces would launch a full-scale war against Ukraine.
“We took the Russian invasion threat casually and did not expect that Russian forces would launch a war against Ukraine. The situation deteriorated when Russia declared to launch a war against Ukraine February 23. The government issued an advisory and asked us to move to safer places with adequate essential commodities,” said Subhasmita Priyadarsini, a medical student at Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia, to Orissa POST.
Subhasmita and a few of her friends arranged a bus February 27 to reach Romania border for evacuation. “Vinnytsia turned into a war zone immediately after we left the city. Our problem did not end by reaching the Romania border. We were forced to wait for 24 hours in the bone-chilling cold. We did not get any help from Indian government to reach Romania,” she said while expressing concern over her future. “I am yet to finish my study there. I would face severe difficulties if the war continued for more days. The Indian student, who was killed in Kharkiv, was our senior. His death has saddened us very much,” she added.
Aman Kumar of Balasore claimed that they did not think it proper to leave Ukraine ahead of the Russian invasion as their medical institutes were quite strict about the students’ attendance. “We discussed the issue with our institutes and Indian embassy several times since the beginning of February but could not get any clarity in this regard,” he said.
The Ukrainian government closed the airport February 27. That is why Indian students were forced to arrange buses to reach Romania border, Kumar said.
“We faced harassment from local officers at Romania border and the extreme weather condition also caused innumerable pain to us. We heaved a sigh of relief after entering Romania. At least 400 Odia students are still stuck on the Romania border,” he added.
Odia student Madhusudhan Mishra, who is still stuck in the shelter house in Romania said, “The External Affairs Ministry and the Indian embassy have registered the names of students and assured us to inform the updates regarding the evacuation flights.”
Subhasmita’s father Srikant Patra said, “We were quite apprehensive about her safety in the war-torn country. We are very much thankful to the government to evacuate our children from the war zone.”
Arindam Ganguly, OP