India today sent out an urgent appeal to all its nationals in Kharkiv to leave immediately for their safety, as Russian action intensified in Ukraine’s second largest city. In back-to-back tweets in all caps, the Indian Embassy — which had to stop operations in Ukrainian capital Kyiv yesterday — said Indians should reach Pesochin, Babaye or Bezlyudovka latest by 6 pm local time (9.30 pm IST).
A second advisory underscored the urgency, saying “for their own safety and security they must leave Kharkiv immediately repeat immediately in the light of the deteriorating situation”.
“Those students who cannot find vehicles or buses and are in railway station can proceed on foot to Pisochyn (11 km), Babai (12 km) and Bezlyudivka (16 km),” it added.
The advisory comes amid a huge shortage of public transport in the war-torn city, which has a population of 1.4 million.
Road transport has not been available in the city over the last few days. Taking a train is also not easy, students stranded at the Kharkiv station have said.
Located in the eastern part of the city close to the Russian border, Kharkiv has been facing intense attack since the invasion started.
Earlier today, Russian paratroopers landed in Kharkiv, triggering clashes on streets, Ukrainian forces said. “There is an ongoing fight between the invaders and the Ukrainians,” the army said in a statement on messaging app Telegram.
News agency AFP reported rocket strikes on buildings housing offices of security, police and universities.
The Ukrainian forces said that on Tuesday, Russians hit a residential block and a government building in the city, killing 18 people. One of the casualties was an Indian student.
Ukraine has said that more than 350 civilians, including 14 children, have been killed in the six days of conflict and the International Criminal Court has opened a war crimes investigation against Russia.