New Delhi/Kiev, 5 June-2014(IANS): Around 1,000 Indian nationals, mostly students, are returning home from the restive region of Lugansk in eastern Ukraine after the Indian mission arranged to bring them safely to capital Kiev and the onward journey to India.
The first batch of 500 Indian students arrived safely in Kiev Tuesday, while the second batch of 500 boarded trains from Lugansk to Kiev Wednesday.
According to external affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin, the students from Lugansk region arrived in Kiev “responding to the advisory to leave the region”.
The Indian mission in Ukraine has been facilitating the evacuation of 1,000 Indian nationals, particularly students, in the wake of growing tension in eastern Ukraine between pro-Russian rebels and the Ukraine government.
The embassy said those Indian nationals and students who have booked railway tickets for later dates must travel June 3/4 “and not delay their departure from Lugansk to a later date as the situation may deteriorate further”.
Among the Indian students in Lugansk, there are 350 from Kerala, 300 from Tamil Nadu, 150 from Andhra Pradesh, 60 from Punjab, 25 each from Jammu and Kashmir and Maharashtra, 20 from Uttar Pradesh and 10 from Gujarat.
The total number from the other states is 200, according to an external affairs ministry statement.
There are approximately 2,500 Indian students studying medicine and engineering in Ukrainian universities, according to the Indian embassy website.
There is also a small Indian business community in Kiev.
Ukraine plunged into chaos in late February after the ouster of the previous pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych. Pro-Russian regions in Ukraine, mainly in the east, protested against the interim government, which is pro-West.
The Black Sea Crimean peninsula has broken away from Ukraine and joined Russia.
Unrest has been building up in eastern Ukrainian regions, where the pro-Russian rebels are demanding independence from Kiev and closer ties with Moscow.