The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday denied reports of Indian students being held hostages in war-hit Ukraine. It stated that it has been in constant touch with Indian nationals in the war-torn country.
"We have not received reports of any hostage situation regarding any student. We have requested support of the Ukrainian authorities in arranging special trains for taking out students from Kharkiv and neighbouring areas to the western part of the country," Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said in a statement.
Bagchi added that India has been coordinating with the countries in the region including Russia, Romania, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Moldova for the evacuation process.
The clarification came after the Russian government claimed that Ukrainian forces are keeping a large group of Indian students as "hostages" in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, which is virtually under Russian control.
A Russian military spokesperson said at a briefing on Wednesday, "According to our information, Ukrainian authorities are forcibly keeping a large group of Indian students in Kharkiv who wish to leave Ukrainian territory and go to Belgorod."
"In fact, they are being held as hostages... Russian armed forces are ready to take all necessary measures for the safe evacuation of the Indian citizens. And send them home from the Russian territory with its own military transport planes or Indian planes, as the Indian side proposed to do," he added.
It may be noted, approximately 8,000 Indians, especially students are still stuck in Ukraine. India has been evacuating its citizens through special flights from Ukraine's western neighbours such as Romania, Hungary and Poland as the Ukrainian airspace has been shut since February 24 due to the Russian military offensive.