Indian students attempting to leave the besieged city of Kharkiv in war-torn Ukraine are facing tremendous difficulty, first hand accounts suggest.

According to NDTV, which interviewed some Indian students currently stranded in the Kharkiv railway station, reported that Indians were being excluded from evacuation efforts.

One Indian student, Pragun, told the media outlet, “Right now it’s shelling on our head. It’s too bad a situation. There is no bunker nearby. It’s fully open. We had a train in front of us but they are not allowing us. One or two gates opened for Ukrainian people. Just for them. And for us there are guns, bullets but no trains.”

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“We took a lot of risks to reach here and 1,000 plus Indians are stuck in the railway station. We are waiting for the trains. They (Ukrainian guards) are firing, they are kicking us. They are not letting us enter. I heard the gunfire myself. I want to tell the Indian government, if something happens to us here, please take care of our family,” Pragun further said.

Another student, Himanshu Raj Mourya, told NDTV that there were around 700-800 Indian students stranded in Ukraine, adding that ordinary Ukrainians were preventing them from leaving the country.

“Ukrainians are not letting us board the trains. They are firing guns. They are threatening us and scaring us off. Girls are being beaten,” Mourya said, adding, “We don’t know how we will get to the three places the government has asked us to reach. There is shelling going on. There is a lot of danger. We don’t know these three locations they have asked us to get to.”

A third student who was not named told NDTV that he had been waiting for several hours at the railway station, but had not been allowed to board a train.

“One train came and went. We were asked to deboard. I don’t know why. It’s getting colder and snowing. We don’t know if we will be allowed on the next train either. There are so many students here. There are girls with us,” he said.

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The news comes hours after the Indian government issued an urgent advisory to Indians in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, to leave immediately.

The Indian Embassy in Ukraine instructed Indians to reach Pisochyn, Babai, or Bezlyudivka for evacuation at 6pm local time, on foot if need be. At the time of writing this, it was unclear what steps would be taken for Indian citizens who are unable to make it to the extraction points.

Since the Russian invasion began, at least two Indian students have died in Ukraine: one was killed by Russian artillery fire, while the other died of illness.