Indian Student Killed In Shelling In Ukraine's Kharkiv

New Delhi- In first Indian casualty in the war in Ukraine, a student from Karnataka was killed in shelling in Kharkiv city on Tuesday morning.

External Affairs Ministry confirmed the death of the Indian in a tweet.

"With profound sorrow we confirm that an Indian student lost his life in shelling in Kharkiv this morning," it said. The ministry said it is in touch with the family of the student.

"We convey our deepest condolences to the family," it said.

The student was a native of Karnataka's Haveri district, a state government official said.

"A student Naveen Shekarappa Gyanagoudar, a native of Chalageri in Haveri district, died in the shelling," Karnataka State Disaster Management Authority Commissioner Manoj Rajan told PTI.

The MEA said Foreign Secretary is calling in ambassadors of Russia and Ukraine to reiterate its demand for "urgent safe passage" to Indian nationals who are still in Kharkiv and in other cities conflict zones. "Similar action is also being undertaken by our ambassadors in Russia and Ukraine," the MEA said.

The Kharkiv city is witnessing increasing fighting between the Ukrainian troops and Russian forces.

Official sources said the deteriorating situation in Kharkiv is a matter of grave concern and that the safety and security of Indian nationals in that city is of utmost priority for the government.

They said India has already taken up up with the Russian and Ukrainian embassies the "pressing" requirement of safe passage to Indian nationals, including students, from Kharkiv and other cities in conflict zones.

"This demand has been repeatedly made of Russia and Ukraine since the beginning of this conflict on February 24. It has been conveyed to both their ambassadors in New Delhi as well as taken up in their capitals," said a source.

The sources said the preparations for evacuation of Indians from the Indian government side have been in place for sometime now.

"An Indian team has been positioned in the Russian city of Belgorod, close to the Ukrainian border. However, the conflict situation in and around Kharkiv and nearby cities has been an obstacle," the source said.

"Therefore, it is imperative that Russia and Ukraine respond to our need for safe passage urgently," it said

The sources said in places where the conflict has not endangered movement, Indian authorities have been able to evacuate the citizens. They said India will continue to make utmost efforts to ensure the return Indian citizens stranded in Ukraine.

Union Minister Hardeep Puri is going to Hungary, Jyotiraditya Scindia will oversee the evacuation process in Romania and Moldova, Kiren Rijiju is traveling to Slovakia and Gen (retd) V K Singh will oversee the evacuation along the transit points with Poland.

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