Amid escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine, Indian students, largely those studying medicine, on Tuesday night arrived in New Delhi from the eastern European country and said they were happy to be back in their home country.
A total of 242 Indian students were reunited with their parents after India started evacuation operations of Indian citizens living in Ukraine and its adjoining areas. India has deployed Dreamliner B-787 aircraft for carrying out this special operation under which flights were made operational from Kharkiv in Ukraine to New Delhi.
Nirav Patil, a first-year MBBS student studying in Ukraine, said, "The situation is normal around the area where I live. As the university has started online sessions, there is not much to worry as before." Another student Krishna said, "I live 900 km away from the Ukraine-Russia border. We are around five to six students, who are residents of Gujarat. Our parents were getting quite worried. This is why we had to return to India."
Anil Rapriya, 22, a fourth-year MBBS student at the Kharkiv National Medical University (KNMU) in Kharkiv city, just after landing at Delhi airport, said, "I am feeling happy to be back in my country". "There is nothing to panic there. I have just moved to India as the Indian Embassy asked us to leave the country temporarily given the evolving situation in Ukraine," he told PTI on phone soon after landing.
In recent weeks, tensions have been escalating between Ukraine and Russia, and on Monday, Russia recognised the independence of two separatist regions in eastern Ukraine. On Tuesday, the Indian embassy in Kyiv again asked Indian students to temporarily leave the country amid the rising tensions.
A group of medical students arrived in a batch at the Delhi airport, taking Turkish Airlines from Kyiv to Istanbul and then to Qatar, and then from there to Delhi via Qatar Airways. Kirtan Kalathiya, Nirav Patel, Vinit Patel from Bhavnagar and Krish Raj from Surendra Nagar in Gujarat were among the students who also arrived at Delhi from Ukraine.
Several Indian students still stuck in Ukraine
Several government officials were sent by the Rajasthan government to the Delhi airport to bring back students hailing from the state who returned from Ukraine.
However, there are several Indian students who have not returned to India.
Many students who have returned to India are worried about their studies, while some said they had recently seen a tank used in a war in the city where they lived.
Swati, who is a second-year MBBS student, on returning to Delhi, said, "The situation is normal in Ukraine and I was living a completely normal life there. The people residing there are not worried at all about the Russia-Ukraine tensions."
"The reason for many students like me returning to India is because of my parents. They were quite mentally disturbed and were worried about my well-being. Now since I have returned back home, our studies will suffer too. But the university where I was studying will start holding online classes. I have exams scheduled for next year."
Another student Tanvi, who is an MBBS student, arrived in Delhi and spoke about the tense situation in Ukraine, saying, "The situation is pretty worse in Ukraine, I am quite distressed. Children studying here are living in fear, every day different kind of news is coming to the fore as one is not able to come to judge which ones to believe. At the same time, air tickets have also become quite expensive."
At Delhi airport, many Indian students who had just arrived from Ukraine were seeing thumbing the Instagram page of Kyiv Post on their mobile phones, while others said, they were trying to avoid any kind of news.
Russian President Putin on Monday signed decrees to recognise Ukraine's regions of 'Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics' as "independent", escalating the tension in the region and increasing fears of Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.
(With agency inputs)