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Pradeep Pattanayak

In a heart-warming turn of events, some of the Odia students who were stuck in war-torn Ukraine reached Odisha on Monday following their arrival in New Delhi last night. 

The safe return from the conflict zone naturally brought rounds of happiness to their anxious families and huge relief for the parents who spent sleepless nights watching the horrors of the dangerous war unfolding before television screens 24x7.

These students too feel all the more lucky to have been shifted to the safety of their homes from the war zone. But, they, at the same time, they feel sorry for their friends who are still living under the shadows of war.

Archita Satpathy, who lived in a city on the western borders of Ukraine before returning to India on Sunday, shared her life’s most dreaded hours during a conversation with OTV. 

“The Russian soldiers started attacking from the eastern borders of Ukraine. So, the situation in our city was not so disturbed. There were no sounds of siren either. Yet we were in a state of panic,” said Archita. 

Archita said around 600/700 Indian students were in the western part of Ukraine. Some of them have already returned to India while many others, including her cousin sister Ayusha Satapathy, are still waiting for their turn to be evacuated. “My cousin is taking shelter in the basement of the flat where she was staying. I am concerned about her safety and some of my friends who are still in Kiev which is on the target of the Russian soldiers,” she said. 

Bijaylaxmi Nayak, who worked as a teacher at an International school in Ukraine, returned to India along with her daughter Sagnika well before the Russian invasion. The mother-daughter duo said they are praying for the safe return of all the stranded students to India. 

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday interacted with the Odia students on their return from Ukraine. After hearing the ordeal they underwent in the war-torn country, Patnaik said, “Welcome back to India. We are so relieved that you are back. We are also working towards the return of other students from Odisha as soon as possible.” 

The students also thanked the CM and requested him to take steps for the early evacuation of the marooned students.

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