Russia and Ukraine conflict
The Russia and Ukraine conflict has given Indian parents reasons to bring back their children away from the growing tensions. Source: Sergei Supinsky / AFP

On February 15, the Indian embassy in Kyiv issued advice to its nationals, including Indian students in Ukraine, to “consider leaving temporarily” amidst the growing Russia and Ukraine conflict. “Indian nationals are also advised to avoid all non-essential travel to and within Ukraine,” it stated.

Families of Indian students in Ukraine have claimed that answers from the Indian embassy came too late. They alleged that the embassy failed to respond to questions like if it’s advisable to stay or leave Ukraine, or which parts of the country are safe for Indian nationals to take refuge.

Many parents have proceeded to extract their children home, reports said. Those who are slated to travel to Ukraine in the next few days are reportedly suffering from anxiety. “What we saw was no communication from the Indian embassy or government from Jan. 25 till Feb. 15,” parent Himanshu Dhoria told Al Jazeera. “There was no engagement whatsoever.”

How the conflict affects Indian students in Ukraine

Data from the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine has shown that the country became a popular study abroad destination for both Indians and international students alike in the last nine years, increasing 42% from 2011 to 2020. Ukraine has over 76,000 international students currently — there are over 18,000 Indian students in Ukraine, making up nearly a quarter of the total cohort. Indians make up the largest international student group in Ukraine.

Education in Ukraine co-founder and CEO Tetiana Kaminska told The PIE News that opportunities in the country are a “worthy alternative” to prestigious universities in Europe and North America, especially for students from the Asia Pacific region, Africa, and the Middle East. Ukraine is also one of the “most preferable destinations” for aspiring students who want to study general medicine, paediatrics, pharmacy, dentistry, and surgery abroad.