The Centre on Thursday said it has not received any reports of Indians being held hostage in war-hit Ukraine. The Ministry of External Affairs claimed that the Indian embassy in Ukraine has been in touch with the citizens stuck in the country.

“We have requested [the] support of the Ukrainian authorities in arranging special trains for taking out students from Kharkiv and neighbouring areas to the western part of the country,” the ministry said.

The clarification came a day after Russian and Ukrainian authorities accused each other of holding Indians hostage. Thousands of Indians, most of them students, are stuck in Ukraine after it was invaded by Russia last week. The Indian government has asked the students to take land or rail routes into countries neighbouring Ukraine, from where flights have been arranged.

Several students have alleged that they have been assaulted and not allowed to board trains so that they could leave Ukraine.

On Wednesday, Russia alleged that Ukraine was holding back Indian students. The allegation was made in a press handout released by Moscow after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the evacuation of stranded Indian students.

“...According to the latest information, these students are actually taken hostage by the Ukrainian security forces, who use them as a human shield and in every possible way prevent them from leaving for Russian territory,” Russia had claimed in the press release.

However, India’s press release on the conversation did not mention anything on the matter.

Soon after, Ukraine’s foreign ministry made a similar accusation against Russia. Kyiv alleged that students from various countries, including India, Pakistan and China had become hostages of “Russian armed aggression in [Ukrainian cities of] Kharkiv and Sumy”.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Russian Ambassador-designate Denis Alipov said his country was working “intensely” on setting up a humanitarian corridor for Indians stranded in Kharkiv and other areas to safely reach Moscow.

Alipov added that Russia would investigate the killing of Naveen Shekarappa Gyanagoudar, a 21-year-old medical student from Karnataka’s Haveri district who died in Kharkiv amid heavy shelling in the city.