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Despite requests, safe passage of students in war-hit Sumy didn't materialise: India to UNSC

Despite requests, safe passage of students in war-hit Sumy didnt materialise: India to UNSC

New Delhi: India on Tuesday expressed deep concern that despite its repeated urgings to both Russia and Ukraine, the safe corridor for Indian students stranded in the eastern Ukrainian city of Sumy did not materialise.

In his address at the UNSC briefing on the humanitarian situation in Ukraine, India's UN Ambassador T S Tirumurti reiterated the urgent demand for safe and uninterrupted passage for all civilians, including Indian nationals stranded in the war-torn country.

"India is "deeply concerned that despite our repeated urgings" to both Russia and Ukraine, the "safe corridor for our students stranded in Sumy did not materialise," he said.

He noted that India has been consistent in calling for an immediate end to all hostilities.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi again spoke to the leadership of both sides and reiterated India's call for an immediate ceasefire and the need for both parties to return to the path of dialogue and diplomacy, he said.

Ambassador Tirumurti told the UN Security Council that India has managed to facilitate the safe return of over 20,000 Indians from Ukraine amid the ongoing war.

"We have also assisted nationals from other countries, who approached us, in their return to their respective countries. And we will remain open to doing so in the coming days. More than 80 evacuation flights have been crisscrossing the skies to bring them home," he said.

Ambassador Tirumurti underscored it is important that humanitarian action is always guided by the principles of humanitarian assistance - humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence. "These should not be politicised," he said.

Around 700 Indian students are stranded in Sumy, which has been witnessing intense fighting between Russian and Ukrainian troops for days now.

India has been making efforts to evacuate its citizens from the city but with little success due to heavy shelling and airstrikes.

To evacuate its citizens from war-hit Ukraine, the Indian government has launched 'Operation Ganga' under which thousands of stranded people, mostly students, have been evacuated from nations bordering Ukraine's western frontiers. However, the evacuation from the eastern part remains a challenge.

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