India on Wednesday advised its citizens in Ukraine to evacuate the country immediately in view of “deteriorating security situation and recent escalation of hostilities” across the war-hit country.

“Indian citizens, including students, currently in Ukraine are advised to leave Ukraine at the earliest by available means,” the Indian Embassy in Kyiv said.

The Indian embassy also urged its citizens to avoid travelling to the European country.

Russia had launched an invasion of Ukraine on February 24, describing its actions as a “special operation” to demilitarise and “de-Nazify” Ukraine. However, Ukraine and several Western countries said this was a baseless pretext for a war of choice by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The advisory came hours after Putin declared martial law in the four regions it had annexed last month from Ukraine – Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.

This has prompted civilians to flee, anticipating the war to escalate. Russian-installed officials in Kherson had told civilians on Tuesday to leave the area as soon as possible in anticipation of an imminent Ukrainian attack, reported Reuters.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak, too, has said that his country will “continue the liberation and de-occupation” of the annexed regions, indicating a rise in hostilities.

Meanwhile, in 10 days since Tuesday, Russia has carried out about 190 mass strikes with missiles, kamikaze drones and artillery in 16 Ukrainian regions as well as the capital of Kyiv, AFP reported, citing a spokesperson for Ukraine’s emergency services, Oleksandr Khorunzhyi.

In these strikes, over 70 citizens have been killed and 240 injured, according to Khorunzhyi. It has also left 1,100 towns and villages in Ukraine without power as Russia is targeting power facilities across the country.

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