The Tamil Nadu government on Thursday tasked three MPs and an MLA to go to Hungary, Romania, Poland and Slovakia to coordinate with Indian embassies to evacuate students of the state stranded there due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, reported The Hindu.

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MPs Kalanidhi Veerasamy, Tiruchi Siva and MM Abdulla along with MLA TRB Rajaa will go to these countries bordering Ukraine. Four Indian Administrative Service officers will also join the MPs and the MLA.

On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered security forces to attack Ukraine by air, land and sea. Ukraine has defied the odds to hold a number of cities under fire, but the battles have intensified in recent days.

Several Indians, mostly medical students, are trapped in Ukraine. Tamil Nadu is the first Indian state to assist in the evacuation efforts, reported NDTV.

The decision to depute the legislators was taken by Chief Minister MK Stalin at a Secretariat meeting on Thursday morning.

Stalin directed officials to coordinate with the Union Ministry of External Affairs to rescue Tamil Nadu students “through the Russian side” as many of them have been living in the eastern parts of Ukraine. The chief minister also told the officials to maintain contact with the students and update them about the steps being taken to rescue them.

Till Thursday morning, the state control room for evacuating Tamil Nadu citizens from Ukraine received 3,025 phone calls and 4,390 emails, reported The New Indian Express. Based on this information, the state government has sent the details of 2,223 students to the Union Ministry of External Affairs.

The Union government has also sent ministers Hardeep Singh Puri, Kiren Rijiju, Jyotiraditya Scindia and VK Singh to Romania, Moldova, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland to aid in the evacuation of the Indian citizens.

Scindia has been deputed to Romania and Moldova, Rijiju to Slovakia, Puri to Hungary and Singh to Poland.

On Wednesday, Stalin had said he was “saddened” that the Indian government has left the stranded students on their own.

“It is the responsibility of the Indian Government to safeguard the life of every Indian passport holder,” he said in a tweet. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office should reign in their ministers from issuing unwarranted statements and put in their efforts for evacuating every Indian safely.”

Many of the students have criticised the Indian government’s rescue efforts and described their ordeal on social media.

In his tweet, Stalin also referred to the remarks by Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi, claiming that about “90% of Indians who study medicine abroad fail to clear qualifying exams in India”.

A large number of students go to Ukraine from India to study because it is cheaper to pursue medical education there. Besides, the number of seats for medical courses is also higher in Ukraine than in India.