‘Melting snow for drinking’: Indian student describes plight in Sumy

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NEW DELHI: After a bomb exploded in the Ukrainian city of Sumy on Thursday evening, Malavika Manoj, a third-year medical student from Kerala studying at the Sumy State University, was forced to melt snow to quench her thirst, she said.

“We had stored some water but it got over. Today we took snow from outside and melted it,” Malavika, one of the 600 students who are stranded in Sumy, told HT.

She said that they can hear the sirens and airstrikes. They rushed to the bunkers with their passports on Thursday when they got air alarms due to airstrikes.

“There is no electricity. I am not using the phone much because the battery will go down. Communication may end any time,” she said.

According to reports, not a single Indian student from Sumy State University, located close to the Russian border, has been evacuated so far.

Malavika explained that the students received information that efforts by Indian authorities for their evacuation through the Russian border, just 65 km away, were underway. However, to travel 65 kilometre, the students need permission from the Ukrainian government.

“The Indian embassy in Ukraine and the Ukrainian government still have not given the permission or clearance to travel. Without the clearance, if the students travel and if something happens, then nobody will take responsibility. So, we cannot travel without permission,” Malavika said. She added that now they are waiting for information on the clearance to travel.

On Thursday, Russian National Defence Control Centre head colonel-general Mikhail Mizintsev said his country was ready with 130 buses to help Indian students exit Ukraine through its borders.

Appealing to the Indian government, Malavika said, “Only request is to evacuate soon because we cannot survive without water and food for long.”

In a video shared on Twitter by a student stranded in Ukraine, a group of 100 Indian students in Sumy, requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi for help to evacuate them amid the Russian invasion.

“We request Narendra Modi ji, please take us out of here, or else we will be killed. If we walk out from here on our own, we will be killed. We request the government of India, please help us,” an Indian student said in the message. He also said that there is no food or water. He mentioned that they haven’t had water to drink since the night before.

The government said on Friday that the highest attention is being paid to evacuate Indians stuck in Kharkiv and Sumy as these cities are witnessing ferocious fighting between the Russian and the Ukrainian forces. According to government reports, nearly 4000 Indian nationals stranded in war-torn Ukraine have been evacuated in the last 24 hours.


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