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Dollar exchange stopped; no way to return: Indian students in Ukraine narrate their ordeal

New Delhi, February 24

Indian students woke up to air raid sirens and a suddenly well-lit sky and soon all hell broke loose on the streets of Kyiv, the capital of war-hit Ukraine, as some of them narrated their ordeal on Thursday with frantic people rushing to petrol stations, banks and departmental stores in chock-a-block traffic.

“Tough times don’t last but tough people do,” Ashna Pandita, a third-year medical student, told PTI from her hostel in Kyiv over phone.

Tweeting a video of a student stranded in Ukraine, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said, “The safety of 20,000 Indians stranded in Ukraine is paramount.”

Government must expedite their evacuation, he added.

Students are not able to exchange their currency as Ukrainian stores have stopped trading dollars. The Indian mission in Kyiv was planning to relocate Indian nationals to the western border and has advised them to keep their passport and necessary documents with them all the time.

“We woke up at 4 AM with a bang as we saw skies lit up followed by air sirens,” said Pandita who studies at Taras Shevchenko National Medical University along with her twin brother Ansh.

Besides Taras Shevchenko, two other universities—Bogomolets and UAFM—house a maximum number of Indian students in various streams.

There was panic in the morning air as “we saw military students studying with us packing their bags to join the forces and there was a clear instruction that no one will be making any video recordings of movement of troops,” Pandita said.

Bunkers in the hostel were opened and all students were directed to move there in case air sirens were sounded. The same drill has been started in all Metro stations.

Aikin Ash Muthoo, also a third-year student from the same college hailing from Jamshedpur, says initially he thought that an electric transformer had blown up but the confirmation of Russia carrying out an attack came from India.

“My parents called up and informed me that there was an attack, news enough to pull me out of the bed to understand the situation as we were preparing to leave for home and were awaiting our turn on Air India flights,” Muthoo said.

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