An Indian student in Ukraine has refused to leave behind his rescued pet dog and urged the authorities in his country to expedite the procedure for his evacuation along with his four-legged partner.
Rishabh Kaushik, a third-year student of software engineering at the Kharkiv National University of Radio Electronics, has been struggling to get a clearance for his dog ‘Malibu’.
In a video widely circulated on social media platforms, Kaushik can be heard talking about how the Indian embassy in Ukraine and the Centre’s Animal Quarantine and Certification Service (AQCS) in Delhi have been stalling him, “asking for more and more documents”.
“They are saying please send your air ticket. How can I have an air ticket when the Ukrainian airspace is closed?” he said in the video, while accusing officials of dilly-dallying their evacuation even as Russian forces made further advances.
Kaushik further spoke about how he has been hiding in bunkers with Malibu, who he had rescued a year ago in Kharkiv.
“Today morning we all woke up with bombings… even my dog is scared, he’s crying all the time,” he said, adding that he has to come out of the freezing bunkers every now and then to keep his dog warm.
“I am stuck here now in Kiev since my flight was on February 27… I would have been in India right now had the Indian government given me the required NOC (no objection certificate) as per the laws,” he said.
Nearly 18,000 Indian students are believed to be stranded amid the escalating situation as Russia continues to invade Ukraine. Efforts are underway to bring them back.
Flights have been arranged for the evacuation of all Indian nationals in Ukraine as the government chalks out alternative land routes following the closure of the Ukrainian airspace.
At present, evacuations are taking place with the help of Hungary, Romania, Poland and the Slovak Republic. Three special flights have returned to India since Saturday, bringing back hundreds of nationals. Thousands of others are still awaiting their turn.