Putin alleges Ukrainian ‘neo-Nazi’ units preventing foreigners from leaving

He also alleged that around 3000 Indian students were taken as hostages by Ukrainian “neo-Nazis” units.

Amid heavy fighting with the Ukrainian army, Russian president Vladimir Putin on Friday said neo-Nazi units of Ukraine are preventing foreign nationals, including Indians, from leaving the war zone. He also accused these units of using civilians as human shields. Putin said at a press conference on Thursday that Russia has evidence that neo-Nazi groups are using foreign mercenaries from countries including Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. “Also, they use civilians as shields, hiding behind their back and we have evidence, pictures of how they use heavy weaponry in residential areas.” He claimed that the Ukrainians were using civilians as human shields. Putin said, “This is how gangsters behave. From kindergartens, from schools, they put their guns and tanks, cannons and they take foreign citizens as hostages from thousand of students studying in Ukraine universities”.

He also claimed that around 3,000 Indian students were kidnapped by Ukrainian neo-Nazi units. They held 576 Indians hostage, including some in Sumy. Neo-Nazis attacked Chinese students who wanted to go back to China after visiting Ukraine. Two of them were wounded. Meanwhile, the Indian government on Thursday said that the India embassy in Ukraine is in constant touch with its stranded citizens and added that no reports of students being held hostages in the war-hit nation had been received so far.

The government’s remarks were made in response to media queries following the claims of the Russian Embassy in India on Wednesday that Indian students had been kidnapped by Ukrainian security forces to be used as a human shield.

The reports of Indian students being kidnapped by pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine were false. Many Indian students left Kharkiv with the help of Ukrainian authorities.

“There has been no report of any hostage situation involving any students.” We have asked for the support of the Ukraine authorities in organising special trains for evacuating people from Kharkiv and nearby areas to the west of the country.

Bagchi further said the MEA has been working effectively with the countries in its region, including Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia, and thanked Ukrainian authorities for their help during the evacuation of Indian nationals.

(The headline and picture of this story may have been reworked slightly by the Business Standard staff.)

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