UPDATED – ‘Please help us’: Indian student refuses to leave Ukraine without pet dog

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UPDATE March 3: Indian engineering student Rishabh Kaushik, who had been stranded in Ukraine’s capital city since February 27, has now crossed over to Hungary with his beloved pet dog and nine other friends.

The SJA Alumni Association of Dehradun posted the update on their social media platforms that Kaushik, a former Josephite, had “reached Hungary along with his Buddy and 9 friends”.

The alumni association specially thanked PETA for taking up the Kaushik’s cause with Parshottam Rupala, Minister for Fisheries and Animal Husbandry and Dairying, which resulted in a one time relaxation for carrying pet dogs and cats along with stranded citizens.

“We salute to his outstanding tenacity, perseverance and persistence to move out of war zone along with his Buddy his pet “Malibu” and his 9 friends to whom he provided the similar support in these extraordinary tough times,” they wrote.
“Let’s all keep him in our prayers with a wish and hope that he reaches safely providing immense relief and happiness to anxious parents, family and friends.”


March 1: While thousands of Indians and other foreign nationals are stranded in Ukraine, Rishabh Kaushik, an Indian engineering student at Kharkiv National University has refused to leave the country in the midst of war.

Kaushik, 21, made headlines after he posted a video on Instagram sharing struggles he faced while trying to leave Ukraine with his pet dog – Malibu.

The third-year engineering student who was in Ukraine’s capital city, Kyiv, because of his flight on 27 February, said that he had been in contact with the Indian embassy and AQCS [Animal Quarantine and Certification Service] in Delhi since February 18, before Russia had encroached Ukraine’s borders.

“I’ve been emailing them everything, I’ve shared my passport details, my dog’s passport, all his certificates; but they still keep asking for more,” Rishabh shared his ordeal through an Instagram video.

“Ukraine is in the midst of a war. Nothing is operational; chemists, food stores, supplies, are out of food and water.

“There is nothing here. People are taking [supplies] to the bunkers.”

Rishabh said that he left an underground bunker because it was too cold and had trouble keeping his dog warm.

In the video, he said he rescued his dog last year in February as a puppy.

He also mentioned that the Indian embassy in Ukraine was not answering his calls.

“I would have been in India right now if the Indian government had given me the NOC (no objection certificate) as per their laws.

“I asked them if I could get airlifted with my dog and they asked to send an air ticket.

“How can I have an air ticket when the airfields are closed?” he said in the video.

The Indian student stuck in Ukraine with his dog describes how he and others have woken up to air sirens and bombings in Kyiv at 4:30 in the morning.

“My dog is really stressed, he is sacred about all the bombings happening around. He is crying.

“Indian government, please help us if you can,” he pleaded in the video.

“There is fake news spreading everywhere. The Indian Embassy here is not helping us. We don’t have updates from anyone right now.”


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A post shared by Rishabh Kaushik (@666_trix_)

Another student from Haryana, Neha, has also refused to leave Ukraine. The 17-year-old medical student stayed back to support her landlady and her three children, a family friend Savita Jhakar told Indian Express.

Savita said Neha’s landlord joined the Ukrainian army while his wife and three kids took shelter in a bunker, where Neha is also staying. “[Neha’s mother] tried to evacuate her from there by contacting the embassy… the girl did not want to return leaving three children and their mother alone in this time of crisis,” Savita wrote.

“Despite all efforts by her mother, the girl is adamant to stay there. I wonder what gives her the courage to stand by that family in these difficult times. She knows that she can also lose her life in these circumstances but she is more concerned about the life of the three small children than her own,” the post said.

The Indian government today announced that four Union ministers will be sent to oversee the evacuation of Indian nationals from Ukraine. Union Minister Hardeep Puri will go to Hungary, Jyotiraditya Scindia will oversee the evacuation process in Romania and Moldova, Kiren Rijiju will travel to Slovakia, and Gen (retd) V K Singh is leaving for Poland, the Indian daily reported.

Plans were also announced for more flights to bring back students not just from India but also from neighbouring and developing countries, and send relief supplies to Ukraine as a humanitarian gesture.

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