Moscow [Russia]: Amid heavy fighting with Ukrainian forces, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday said that nationalist “neo-Nazis” units of Ukraine are preventing foreigners, including Indians from leaving the war zone and are using them as human shields.
In a video address, Putin on Thursday said, “The fact that we are fighting neo-Nazis is proved by how the hostilities are going, nationalist neo-Nazi’s units are using foreign mercenaries from the Middle East. Also, they use civilians as human shields, hiding behind their backs and we have facts, pictures of how they deploy heavy weapons in residential areas.”
He alleged that Ukrainian forces are taking them hostage. Putin said, “That’s how gangsters act, from the kindergartens, from hospitals, they put their guns, tanks, cannons and they are taking foreign citizens as hostages from thousands of students studying in Ukraine colleges.”
He also alleged that around 3000 Indian students were taken as hostages by Ukrainian “neo-Nazis” units.
“They kept more than 3,000 Indian citizens as hostages, including 576 people in Sumy. Neo-Nazis opened fire at Chinese students who wanted to leave Kharkiv, two of them were wounded,” said Putin.
Meanwhile, the Indian Government on Thursday said that the Indian embassy in Ukraine is in continuous touch with its stranded citizens, adding that it has not received any reports of students being held hostage in the war-hit country.
The government’s remarks came in response to media queries after the claims of the Russian embassy in India on Wednesday that the Indian students have been taken hostage by Ukrainian security forces to use them as a human shield.
Refuting the reports of Indian students being held hostage, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi informed that many students left Kharkiv yesterday with the cooperation of Ukrainian authorities.
“We have not received any reports of any hostage situation regarding any student. We have requested for the support of the Ukrainian authorities in arranging special trains for evacuating students from Kharkiv and neighbouring areas to the western part of the country,” he added.
Bagchi further said that the MEA has been coordinating effectively with the countries in the region, including Russia, Romania, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Moldova, and expressed gratitude towards Ukrainian authorities for their help in the evacuation of Indians.