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PTI

Caught between a rock and a hard place is the situation of many Indian nationals, including Malayalis, trapped in Ukraine as they are allegedly not being allowed through at the Polish and Slovakian borders and have no place to go in view of the Russian offensive.

Turned away at the Polish and Slovakian borders, after travelling hundreds of kilometres from their respective colleges and standing in long queues for hours, prompted many students, in desperation, to resort to making video calls to media outlets to let the Indian authorities know the problems they are suffering.

Their desperate messages appear to have reached some ears too as Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan shot off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi inviting his attention to this problem.

The Kerala CM also raised the issue in his discussion with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar who, according to the CMO, assured that there are Indian officials at the borders who can deal with the problem of Indians not being allowed through.

However, one set of students, who are stuck at the Slovakian border for several hours now, in their video call to a news channel said that Indians were being turned away and Ukrainian women and children were being given priority there.

The students, many of them women, claimed that the border authorities were not letting them through as they have not received any communication from the Indian Embassy about allowing Indian nationals through.

Earlier in the day, a student had shared visuals of alleged Ukrainian army personnel assaulting Indian students at the Polish border and preventing them from going through.

Subsequently, several video messages of stranded Indian students complaining about being not allowed through at the Polish borders, went viral.

Meanwhile, Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president and MP K Sudhakaran also wrote to Jaishankar drawing his attention to the request by around 250 students from National Medical University in Odessa, Ukraine, seeking the Indian Mission's intervention to secure permission to cross the checkpoint in Moldova enroute to Romania for boarding an Air India evacuation flight.

"The students have arranged buses to reach the Moldovan border and I would appreciate it if you would kindly look into the matter with utmost priority," Sudhakaran has said in his letter.

In the evening, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla held a press meet where he said that he spoke with the Ukrainian Ambassador on the border issue and he came to know that the Ukrainian Immigration authorities have been informed about the problem and they are working on it.

"But you have to understand their preoccupations are elsewhere. It is a conflict zone. Please bear with us. We are working on it. We will do everything to get our people out. Our team is working flat out," he told reporters.

He further said that he is aware Indian nationals trapped in Ukraine are facing difficulties, but the government was doing everything possible to provide them with every assistance and also evacuate them at the earliest.
 

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