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India evacuates students from eastern Ukraine

The Indian embassy has begun an emergency evacuation of its citizens from Ukraine’s conflict-stricken eastern regions of Lugansk and Donetsk. Some 1,000 Indian nationals have already travelled to the capital of Kiev, en route back to their home country.

A passenger train pulls into Kiev Central station. Photo: calflier001.A passenger train pulls into Kiev Central station. Photo: calflier001.

This is the largest evacuation of Indian nationals overseas since 2011

The embassy released a circular last week advising citizens: “In view of the security situation in Donetsk and Lugansk regions in eastern Ukraine marked by frequent violent clashes, Indian citizens, particularly students, are strongly advised to leave these regions as soon as possible.”

“In view of the security situation marked by frequent violent clashes, Indian citizens, particularly students, are strongly advised to leave these regions as soon as possible”

Evacuees travelled using train tickets arranged for them by the embassy to Kiev, where embassy officials are assisting them with onward bookings to India.

“Even those Indian nationals and students already holding railway tickets for later dates must travel on 3/4 June and not delay their departure from Lugansk to a later date as the situation may deteriorate further,” the Embassy instructed.

The first train, carrying 450 Indian nationals, arrived in Kiev on Wednesday afternoon and a second, carrying a further 500, is due to arrive on Thursday morning.

The advisory is in place until 16 June.

This is the largest evacuation of Indian nationals overseas since 2011, when ‘Operation Homecoming’ saw the mass evacuation of some 15,000 citizens from Libya following the outbreak of the civil war.

Mykhailo Iziumskyi, Director of the Ukrainian International Education Council, an NGO that provides information on opportunities to study in Ukraine, told The PIE News that the Council has been transferring students from universities in the southern and eastern regions to western and centrally-located institutions “without any problems”.

The move from the Indian government is the latest example of how the conflict in Ukraine, which began at the end of last year, is affecting student mobility.

Earlier this year, education agents reported an increase in interest from adult students to go overseas to learn English in the hopes of increasing their employment prospects.

Iziumskyi was quick to add that “along with the negative processes happening in Ukraine, there are also positive ones which make our country attractive for foreign students.”

“It’s undeniable that there exist problems with terrorism, but they are localised in several regions, and these centres will be soon suppressed”

He noted that Ukraine is in the process of signing the Association Agreement with the EU, which forges closer economic ties with Europe and will enable the 2014 student intake to earn a fully-fledged European diploma.

Iziumskyi said that the Council does not expect incoming international student numbers to fall in 2014-15 due to the situation, adding that year-round admissions may enable Ukrainian universities to balance a potential drop off in the winter and spring of 2014 -2015.

“It’s undeniable that there exist problems with terrorism, but they are localised in several regions, and these centres will be soon suppressed,” he said.

“But on the rest of the territory, especially in the central and western parts of Ukraine (which are closer to Europe not only geographically, but also according to the standards of education) everything is calm, all the institutions work as before.”

 

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