An Indian student has been killed in shelling in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, the foreign ministry said as it urged Russia and Ukraine to secure safe passage for thousands of citizens stranded in the middle of a war. 21-year-old Naveen Shekharappa, a final-year medical student from Karnataka’s Haveri, died when Russian soldiers blew up a government building on Tuesday.
“With profound sorrow, we confirm that an Indian student lost his life in shelling in Kharkiv this morning. The Ministry is in touch with his family. We convey our deepest condolences to the family,”
He added that Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla “was calling in the ambassadors of Russia and Ukraine to reiterate India’s demand for urgent safe passage for Indian nationals who are still in Kharkiv and cities in other conflict zones”. It is imperative that Russia and Ukraine respond to the need for safe passage urgently, said sources.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to the father of Indian student Naveen Shekarappa Gyanagoudar, who died in shelling in war-hit Ukraine, and Modi offered his heartfelt condolences to the family following the tragedy.
As per reports, Naveen was standing in a queue outside a grocery store when he was hit. Later, his friend got a call from a local official that he (Naveen) has died.
Around 16,000 Indian students are still stranded in Kharkiv where Russia has launched a major military offensive.
Many students have shared photos and videos on social media from underground bunkers, metro stations, and bomb shelters, where they have been hiding since the Russian attack started last Thursday. Around 9,000 Indian nationals have left by various special flights.
Several Indian students remain stuck in eastern parts of Ukraine, which is most affected by the Russian military offensive, and they are finding it difficult to travel by road to reach the western borders. Students have also been walking to the borders in sub-zero conditions, hoping to cross over and take a flight home.