The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday, 3 March denied claims that Russia stopped the war for six hours on Wednesday to facilitate the evacuation of Indians from Kharkiv.
What Had the Indian Embassy Said on Wednesday?
On Wednesday, the Indian Embassy in Ukraine had issued two advisories, urging Indians to leave Kharkiv immediately.
"For their safety and security, they must leave Kharkiv immediately. Proceed to Pesochin, Babye, and Bazlyudovka as soon as possible. Under all circumstances, they must reach these settlements by 18:00 hours Ukranian time today," the first advisory read.
The second advisory, released shortly afterward, reiterated the deteriorating situation in Kharkiv and stressed that Indian nationals must "leave Kharkiv immediately repeat immediately."
Starting Wednesday evening, several claims and reports emerged, saying that Russia had 'stopped' the war in Kharkiv for six hours in order to allow India to safely evacuate stranded Indians from the city.
What Did MEA Say on Thursday?
Addressing the media on Thursday, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi explained, "We got specific inputs that this is a route that is available... we conveyed that to our citizens, and I am happy that many could make it."
However, he added, "Extrapolating that to say that somebody is holding off bombing or this is something we were coordinating is absolutely inaccurate."
On Wednesday, PM Modi had also held a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the second phone call between the two leaders since the Russia-Ukraine war erupted. The first was on 24 February, wherein PM Modi had appealed for an "immediate cessation of violence" between Russia and Ukraine.
What Were the Claims?
A number of people on Twitter started hailing PM Modi and the Indian government, claiming that Russia had stopped the war for India.
The BJP's Maharashtra Twitter handle also made the same claim in a tweet in Marathi.
A number of news outlets had also published reports claiming that the war had been stopped temporarily at PM Modi's insistence, and said that the incident showcased the "power of Indian diplomacy".
The MEA had said on Wednesday that the a total of 18,000 Indian nationals have left Ukraine since the Indian embassy's first advisory was released.
"A total of 18,000 Indian nationals have left Ukraine since our first advisory was released. 30 flights under Operation Ganga have brought back 6,400 Indians from Ukraine so far. In the next 24 hours, 18 flights have been scheduled," MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.