An Indian student was killed after being hit by shelling in Kharkiv, a city in eastern Ukraine, the government said Tuesday.
“With profound sorrow, we confirm that an Indian student lost his life in shelling in Kharkiv this morning. The Ministry is in touch with his family. We convey our deepest condolences to the family,” tweeted Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi.
The student has been identified as Naveen Shekharappa Gyanagoudar, 20, from Karnataka. He was a fourth-year medical student at the Kharkiv National Medical University in Kharkiv.
“Naveen was shot dead around 10.30 am Ukrainian time today. He was standing in the queue before a grocery shop when the Russian army fired at people. We have no information about his body. None of us was able to visit the hospital, probably where it is kept now,” said Sridharan Gopalakrishnan, who was Naveen’s hostel mate.
Talking to The Indian Express, Gopalakrishnan, who is from Chennai, said they have now taken shelter at a hostel bunker and that there is no news about an evacuation plan for them. “Only rumours, there was no communication from Indian authorities,” he said.
Kharkiv, which is located barely 40 km from the Russian border, has been witnessing intense hostilities over the past few days. It houses one of the largest clusters of Indian students owing to the number of medical colleges in the area.
The MEA spokesperson added that Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla is calling in the ambassadors of Russia and Ukraine to reiterate India’s demand for urgent safe passage for Indian nationals who are still in Kharkiv and cities in other conflict zones.
“Similar action is also being undertaken by our Ambassadors in Russia and Ukraine,” Bagchi tweeted.
Earlier on Tuesday, India advised its citizens in Kyiv, which is the capital of Ukraine, to leave the city “urgently”.
The Indian Embassy in Ukraine posted on Twitter, “All Indian nationals including students are advised to leave Kyiv urgently today. Preferably by available trains or through any other means available.”