Russia-Ukraine Crisis: Students Surviving In Bunkers, Families Tense in India

There are around 20,000 Indians studying across various universities of Ukraine.

My Report
4 min read

Video Producer: Maaz Hasan
Video Editor:
Prashant Chauhan

As Russia's aggression over Ukraine reaches onto the streets of the capital city, Kyiv, missile blasts are heard in several parts of the country. For the third day in a row, Russian missile continues to pound Ukrainian cities.

There are around 20,000 Indian students stuck in Ukraine amidst the Russian invasion of the country. Families of these students are extremely tense about the uncertainty that looms over the lives of these students.

We went to meet the family of Shivam Singh in Ghaziabad. He is a medical student studying at Ukraine's Uzhhorod National Medical University. For the Indian medical students stuck in Ukraine, it is a double whammy. Their studies have been disrupted and now they are worried about their exit route.


Shivam's mother, Rajini, unable to hold back her tears, has been staring at the door and the phone, hoping for better news.

"All of us in the family are disturbed because of our son. All of us are hoping that he comes back home soon. For us, the tensions are mounting, hoping nothing wrong happens to him. I spoke to him last night around 11 pm (24 February). He said that all the money he had has been exhausted and he doesn't have anything to eat and is locked in one place."
Promod Kumar, Shivam's Father

On further conversations with the family, Rajini told us that they can't transfer the money to their son as banks have been closed in Ukraine.

There are around 20,000 Indians studying across various universities of Ukraine.

Shivam's family in Ghaziabad

(The Quint)

"He doesn't have much to eat. He had exhausted the money and food because he was supposed to come back. He was supposed to leave on 24 February. A train from his place takes 15 hours to the airport. He had his flight on 26 February and by 27 February, he would have been here. Now, everything is in the hands of God. Let's see how he comes back."
Rajini, Shivam's Mother

The family is also very tense because, amidst the news bombings, Shivam is unable to contact the Indian Embassy in Ukraine. In a video that was earlier sent by Shivam, he says that he is helpless and the situation is getting worse.

"I had come to Ukraine to study medicine. Things have turned very bad here. Fear has gripped us. I am trapped. My family is worried. My relatives and family are very far from here. I am unable to get any kind of help. I request all of you to help me get back to India as soon as possible. I don't have the resources to get in touch with the Indian authorities."
Shivam Singh, Indian Student In Ukraine
There are around 20,000 Indians studying across various universities of Ukraine.

Shivam Singh is a student of Uzhhorod National Medical University

(Screengrab of the video released by Shivam)


The situation of Bhati family from Jodhpur is the same. Their daughter, Neha Bhati, a medical student studying at the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, has been living inside a bunker for the last three days.

Her father is very worried because her supplies have almost exhausted and she is unable to contact the Embassy as well.

"The conditions over there are getting bad. She said, she is living in the bunker and she doesn't have much to eat. She doesn't even have proper drinking water. She said till the time she is inside the bunker, she is safe. Blasts can be seen/heard outside the bunker. I spoke to her at 6 in the morning (25 February). There was a blast around her building and the nearby buildings collapsed. She has not been able to connect with the Indian Embassy and she hasn't been able to get any help. The helpline numbers are also unable to provide any help."
Naresh Bati, Neha's Father

Her mother, Santosh Bhati, has not been able to control her tears even though she has been in constant touch with their daughter. She hopes that the Indian government would be able to evacuate their child safely.

There are around 20,000 Indians studying across various universities of Ukraine.

Neha's family talking to her on video call

(The Quint)

"It's been over 24 hours and I don't think the government has done much. They might have been trying but I guess Russia is holding its position very strongly. Russia isn't giving any chance so that the kids can be taken out."
Santosh Bati, Neha's Mother

Neha had also earlier released a video, with her friend Surbhi Srivastava, pleading for help from Indian Embassy.

"We are trying to contact the Indian Embassy but we are unable to contact them. So, we don't know what to do next. Because we are unable to connect to the embassy we don't know what steps we need to take. Please Indian Embassy, please help us right now! We need it!"
Neha Bati And Surbhi Srivastava, Students
There are around 20,000 Indians studying across various universities of Ukraine.

Neha Bati and Surbhi Srivastava, students of Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv

(Screengrab of video released by the students)


Both, students and their families hope that the situation will be normal soon and they will be able to meet each other. "We are very worried, what else can we do from here? We can't do anything. We can just pray that our children are safe," says Rajini

(Indian government has launched a 24-hour helpline to assist Indian students who are stuck in Ukraine amid its ongoing war against Russia. The helpline numbers are: +911123012113, +911123914104, +911123017905 and 1800118797

Additional helpline numbers for Indians stuck in Ukraine: +38 0997300428, +38 0997300483, +38 0933980327, +38 0635917881, +38 0935046170.

One can also send emails at this address:

(All 'My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)

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