PM speaks to Putin, Zelenskyy; seeks safe evacuation of Indians from Sumy at the earliest
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin during which he conveyed his “deep concern” over the safety and security of the Indian students stuck in Ukraine’s Sumy city and sought their evacuation at the earliest.
During the 50-minute telephonic conversation, Modi also suggested that a direct conversation between Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy may greatly assist the ongoing peace efforts.
Official sources said Modi stressed the importance of safe evacuation of Indian citizens from Sumy at the earliest and that Putin assured him of all possible cooperation to safely get them out of the northeastern Ukrainian city.
Around 700 Indian students are stranded in Sumy amid intense fighting between Russian and Ukrainian troops.
“Prime Minister Modi conveyed his deep concern for the safety and security of the Indian students still remaining in Sumy,” the PMO said in a statement.
It said Putin briefed the Prime Minister about the ongoing measures related to “humanitarian corridors” for facilitating the evacuation of civilians including Indian students.
It was the third telephonic conversation between the two leaders after the military conflict began in Ukraine 11 days back.
Earlier, Russian authorities said it would start a ceasefire on Monday and open “humanitarian corridors” in key Ukrainian cities including Kyiv, Kharkiv and Sumy.
The statement said the two leaders discussed the evolving situation in Ukraine and Putin briefed Modi on the status of negotiations between the Ukrainian and Russian teams.
“Prime Minister Modi welcomed the ongoing negotiations between Russia and Ukraine and expressed hope that they would lead to cessation of the conflict. He suggested that a direct conversation between President Putin and President Zelenskyy may greatly assist the ongoing peace efforts,” it said.
The sources said Modi appreciated the announcement of the ceasefire and establishment of humanitarian corridors in parts of Ukraine, including in Sumy.
Earlier in the day, Modi spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and sought his continued support in the evacuation of the Indians stuck in Sumy city.
During the conversation, Zelenskyy briefed the Prime Minister in detail about the “conflict situation” and the ongoing negotiations between Ukraine and Russia.
In the last few days, India has been focusing on the evacuation of its students from Sumy.
On Saturday morning, the Indian students posted a video saying they have decided to leave for the Russian border from Sumy and that the Indian government and the embassy in Ukraine will be responsible if anything happens to them.
Following the video, the Indian embassy in Ukraine requested them not to endanger their lives and conveyed that it will leave no stone unturned to safely evacuate them.
The students relented following the assurance.
The Indian embassy in Ukraine on Sunday said a team from the mission has been stationed in Poltava city to coordinate the safe passage of the Indian students in Sumy to Western borders via Poltava.