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'Russia to investigate death of Indian student in Kharkiv'

Russia to investigate death of Indian student in Kharkiv
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New Delhi: Russia will investigate the death of the 21-year-old Indian medical student in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, Russian Ambassador-designate Denis Alipov said on Wednesday.

Naveen Shekarappa Gyanagoudar, a fourth-year medical student at the Kharkiv National Medical University, was killed in intense shelling in Kharkiv on Tuesday.

Following the incident, India asked the envoys of both Russia and Ukraine to ensure "urgent safe passage" to Indian nationals who are still in Kharkiv and other conflict zones.

"I want to express our sympathy to the family of Naveen Shekarappa Gyanagoudar and to the entire Indian nation over the tragedy," Alipov said at a media briefing.

"Russia will do everything it possibly can to ensure the safety of Indian citizens in the areas of intense conflict... and a proper investigation of this unfortunate incident," he said.

Naveen hailed from Chalageri in the Haveri district of Karnataka.

On Tuesday night, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said Naveen's body has been identified and taken to a morgue in the university and that Indian authorities are in touch with the local administration in Kharkiv to bring back the mortal remains.

In his first briefing on Wednesday in the wake of the crisis, the Russian envoy also said Russia is launching a "humanitarian corridor" through Russian territory so that Indians have a secure passage and can be evacuated from the conflict zone.

Alipov said Russia is in touch with India on the issue of the safety of Indians and that the safe passage will be put into place "as soon as possible".

"We are working intensely on creating the corridor and secure safe passage for Indians stuck in various conflict zones in Ukraine," he said.

He added that Russia is working on ways and means to provide safe passage to Indians for their secure passage to Russian territory from the conflict zones in Ukraine.

To a question, Alipov said he does not "see any hurdle" in the supply of the S-400 missile systems to India because of the Western sanctions against Russia following the Ukraine crisis.

India has taken an "unbiased" position based on assessment of the situation in Ukraine and not because it is dependent on Russian arms, he added.

"We do coordinate our positions at the UN and inform India about our approach," he said.

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