Sundargarh: Two medical students from Sundargarh who managed to escape from Ukraine and reach home safely have shared their nightmarish experience in the war-torn country.
Smiti Kujur, daughter of Kinjirikela health centre officer Franklin Kujur, and Sakit Sohaib Khan from Rourkela were two of the thousands of Indian students stranded in Ukraine.
Their dream to study medicine in Ukraine took an unusual turn after Russia invaded Ukraine. The two medical students recalled the horror they had to go through in Ukraine to reach back home safely.
Speaking about her ordeal, Smiti said, “I had gone to Ukraine January 26 to study medicine. I was a first year medical student at Ukraine’s Uzhhorod National University where at least 600 Indian students were studying.”
“We were just trying to adjust with Ukraine culture and language, when the war broke out. Initially, we thought the war would not have much impact. But, we were wrong. So, amid the ongoing war, we decided to fly back home, but ticket prices skyrocketed from Rs 23,000 to Rs 30,000 to 1 lakh. Later, Indian government launched ‘Operation Ganga’ to airlift Indians stranded in Ukraine. As Ukraine’s airspace is closed, flights are being operated from neighbouring Poland, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia. With the help of our University, at least 240 students arranged five buses and managed to reach Hungary border. “We had to spend 20-30 hours on Hungary border for verification of visa and other documents,” she said.
“Later, we were taken to Hungary’s Budapest Airport from where we flew to Delhi. I then flew from Delhi to Jharsuguda Veer Surendra Sai Airport from where I was received by my family,” she added.
Meanwhile, many students have shared that they had to walk 100- 200km in the chilly weather to reach borders of other countries as officials had failed to provide any transportation to shift them to safety.
Many students were not allowed to board trains and Ukrainian guards thrashed them. They were also pushed away from many trains.
There are still hundreds of students stuck in Ukraine. On the other hand, two Indian students have lost their lives in the war.