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Sharmili Mallick

A sense of relief and fatigue was clearly writ large on the faces of two girl students from Odisha who reached their homes from the war-torn Ukraine recently.

Lozarin Sahoo from Cuttack City was studying at Kharkiv National Medical University in Ukraine. She would have returned home from Ukraine after a few months as she was almost on the verge of completing her studies.

However, things turned upside down for the young medico after Russia announced a ‘special military operations’ against Ukraine on February 24.

With no option left, Lozarin had to abandon her studies and pack for home in the Millennium city of Cuttack.

“I am badly tired and shaken. I am in the last year and my studies would have completed in just about three months. We started hearing about the war much before it was declared by Russia. We even asked our teachers about the exact situation but they refused the news saying it was a just a psychological warfare hyped by media. None of us, including the Ukrainians, thought the war would actually take place,” said Lozarin while speaking to OTV.

Describing her escape from war-zone Kharkiv amid shelling from Russia, Lozarin said, “We were woken from our sleep by the sound of bombs at around 4.30 am on February 24 and immediately shifted to the bunker of my apartment. We (fellow students) lived in the bunker for seven days. As there were constant shelling and bombing in the Kharkiv City, moving from East Ukraine to the West side was a challenging task. So, I and some other Indian students decided to move out of the city on our own and somehow managed to reach the railway station.”

“The railway station was overcrowded. The locals didn’t allow Indians to board the train. We returned and walked for around 10 kilometres. When I was walking, a missile landed next to me. We reached Ternopil and then to the Romanian borders. We stayed in shelter at Romania for two days before we were sent to the airport in a bus,” added Lozarin.

Although Lozarin has safely reached home, she is worried about her future. “Our teachers at the university are saying they will start online classes. However, I hope I should complete the course and get the degree soon so that I can start practicing,” she said.

Meanwhile, Chandrika Mishra of Puri who is a fourth year medico at the Kharkiv National Medical University too reached home after surviving in dire conditions for ten days in war-torn Ukraine.

“We saw bombardment and shelling every day in Kharkiv. One of our batch mates even lost his life in the bombings due to which we lost faith of ever returning home. However, some of us gathered courage and reached the railway station. However, we couldn’t board train as Indians were not allowed. Indian students were even beaten up by the Ukrainian police,” Chandrika told OTV.

“We stayed in a bunker and where food was scarce. No bathroom was available there. We had to walk 20 kilometres from Kharkiv to Pesochin as there were no buses. I had almost lost hope of reaching home and prayed Lord Jagannath every moment to rescue me from the disastrous situation,” said while sharing her sufferings.

The family members of Chandrika heaved a sigh of relief when they saw their daughter finally reaching home.

“We never thought there will actually be a war. I am happy that I back my daughter with the blessings of Lord Jagannath. I would also thank PM Narendra Modi, CM Naveen Patnaik and the India Embassy for the safe evacuation of my daughter from Ukraine,” said Chandrika’s mother.

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