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In the first Indian casualty in the war in Ukraine, a medical student from Karnataka's Haveri district was killed in intense shelling in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv on Tuesday.

Following the incident, India asked the envoys of both Russia and Ukraine to ensure "urgent safe passage" to Indian nationals who are still in Kharkiv and in other cities in the conflict zones.

The victim was identified as Naveen Shekarappa Gyanagoudar, a native of Chalageri in the Haveri district of Karnataka who was studying at a medical college in Ukraine, according to Karnataka State Disaster Management Authority Commissioner Manoj Rajan.

"With profound sorrow we confirm that an Indian student lost his life in shelling in Kharkiv this morning," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said on Twitter at 2:58 PM.

"The Ministry is in touch with his family. We convey our deepest condolences to the family," he said.

Naveen's uncle Ujjanagouda said he was killed when he stepped out of his bunker to exchange currency and fetch some food.

President of European Council Charles Michel spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and expressed sadness over the death of the Indian student.

He said European countries are wholeheartedly helping in the evacuation of Indian citizens from Ukraine

The Ukrainian and Russian ambassadors were called into the MEA and were conveyed to ensure the safety of the Indians stranded in Ukraine.

The MEA said India has reiterated its demand for "urgent safe passage" to Indian nationals who are still in Kharkiv and in other cities.

"Similar action is also being undertaken by our Ambassadors in Russia and Ukraine," Bagchi said.

The Kharkiv city is witnessing increasing fighting between the Ukrainian troops and Russian forces.

Earlier in the day, the Indian embassy in Ukraine asked stranded Indians in Kyiv to leave the capital city urgently.

In an advisory, it asked the citizens to leave Kyiv by available trains or any other means.

"All Indian nationals including students are advised to leave Kyiv urgently today. Preferably by available trains or through any other means available," the embassy said.

The advisory came amid increasing fighting between Russian forces and Ukrainian troops around Kyiv.

Official sources said the deteriorating situation in Kharkiv is a matter of grave concern and that the safety and security of Indian nationals in that city is of utmost priority for the government.

They said India has already taken up with the Russian and Ukrainian embassies the "pressing" requirement of safe passage to Indian nationals, including students, from Kharkiv and other cities in conflict zones.

"This demand has been repeatedly made of Russia and Ukraine since the beginning of this conflict on February 24. It has been conveyed to both their ambassadors in New Delhi as well as taken up in their capitals," said a source.

The sources said the preparations for the evacuation of Indians from the Indian government side have been in place for some time now.

"An Indian team has been positioned in the Russian city of Belgorod, close to the Ukrainian border. However, the conflict situation in and around Kharkiv and nearby cities has been an obstacle," the source said.

"Therefore, it is imperative that Russia and Ukraine respond to our need for safe passage urgently," it said.

The sources said in places where the conflict has not endangered movement, Indian authorities have been able to evacuate the citizens.

They said India will continue to make utmost efforts to ensure the return of Indian citizens stranded in Ukraine.

Union Minister Hardeep Puri is heading to Hungary, Jyotiraditya Scindia will oversee the evacuation process in Romania and Moldova, Kiren Rijiju is travelling to Slovakia and Gen (retd) V K Singh will supervise evacuation along the transit points with Poland.

"BWF has strengthened its measures against the governments of Russia and Belarus by suspending athletes and officials representing these countries from participating at any BWF-sanctioned international tournaments until further notice."

The BWF said it supports a united and coordinated approach within the sports movement in handing down sanctions against Russia and Belarus.

BWF had already cancelled all its sanctioned tournaments in Russia and Belarus with immediate effect.

It further said that the enforced non-participation of badminton athletes and officials from Russia and Belarus commences at the YONEX GAINWARD German Open 2022 to be held from March 8 to 13.

"A small number of Russian athletes competing in two back-to-back international Para badminton tournaments in Spain in Weeks 9 and 10 of the calendar will be allowed to participate as they have already arrived on location," BWF said.

"This is on the premise that it is not possible on short notice to enforce the suspension of players due to organisational reasons as per the IOC EB's latest resolution. These players, however, will compete as neutral athletes, with no national flags or anthems."

The world body said it remains committed to supporting the people of Ukraine, and the Ukrainian badminton community, as part of the sports movement's mission to promote peace and solidarity between all people.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine last week triggered global condemnation and the country is being suspended from international sporting events.

Most recently, Russian teams were suspended from all international football, including qualifying matches for the 2022 World Cup.

This was after the IOC Executive Board issued an "urgent recommendation not to organise any sports event in Russia or Belarus."

IOC EB also strongly urged International Sports Federations and organisers of events to "do everything in their power to ensure that no athlete or sports official from Russia or Belarus be allowed to take part under the name of Russia or Belarus." 

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