Mrunal Manmay Dash

As many as 77 students from Odisha who were stranded in war-torn Ukraine arrived at the Biju Patnaik International Airport (BPIA) in Bhubaneswar on Monday by a special flight.

As per reports, the students mostly holed up in Kharkiv- a war ravaged city in the eastern parts of the country- took off from an airport in Poland with the help of the Indian Embassies in Ukraine and Poland and arrived in Delhi on Monday morning. They were then brought to Bhubaneswar by another flight in the evening.

Speaking to reporters, one of the returnees said, “We left our university when the bombardment started. There was nothing to eat during the 24 hour journey from Kharkiv to Lviv. It was quite painful. I am happy that I could finally come back home to my parents.”

Similarly, another student said, “Following the Indian Embassy’s direction, we walked around 10-15 kilometres to the nearest town from Kharkiv. Before that, we were kept in a bunker beneath our hostel in the university for five days.”

Upon arrival at the BPIA, the State government welcomed the students with sweets and beverages.

Earlier, 65 Odia students, who had been stranded in war zone Kharkiv for over a week, were evacuated to safety on Friday, giving a reason for their worried parents back in Odisha to heave a sigh of relief.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday sought the urgent intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to facilitate the continuation of medical education of the students who had to abandon studies in Ukraine due to the ongoing conflict with Russia.

In a letter, Patnaik urged the Prime Minister to intervene, with the National Medical Commission (NMC) and the concerned ministries, over the disruption in studies of thousands of such aggrieved medical students.