Aspirations of relief turned into feelings of despair in just a few moments for more than 700 Indian students stuck in war-torn Ukraine's northeastern city of Sumy as a lot of them had to return to their shelters. These buses were set to carry all of them out of the country during the short-lived ceasefire on March 7. Indian authorities had asked the stranded students on Sunday night (March 6) that transportation would be made available for their evacuation and they should leave Sumy 'quietly'.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had officially declared a ceasefire the following morning to open humanitarian corridors for citizens left stranded in the war zones amid Russia's full-scale military invasion of their neighbours.
"The girls were asked to board first. And then they were told to get down. Our local coordinators informed us that firing had started again in the routes through which the students would be evacuated," Assam student Arif Mahfuz Siddiqui, stuck approximately 60km from the Russian border, was quoted as saying by The Times Of India.
Story Of Indians Stuck In Ukraine's Sumy
As per multiple reports, students had packed their bags and waited for nearly three hours in the designated open spot of the Sumy State University campus. However, just four buses came to take them away to Poltava, approximately 165km away in central Ukraine, from where an embassy team would've coordinated their safe return back to India.
After the small window of hope slammed shut on them, all the students returned back to their shelters, where food supplies are running low, and no water or power either.
Operation Ganga Amid Ukraine-Russia War
On February 24, President Putin unleashed a full-fledged attack on his neighbouring country Ukraine. The Indian government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi immediately sprung to action and launched 'Operation Ganga' to bring all stranded Indians home. On Monday, the civil aviation ministry had revealed that as many as 2,135 Indians was brought back on March 6 from war-torn Ukraine after crossing into neighbouring nations via land routes.
Also Read: 'I'll Stay & Protect Them': Indian Doctor Refuses To Leave Ukraine Without Pet Panther & Jaguar