Russia did not give any statement that the Russian forces will give free passage to Indian nationals with their flag on their vehicles.
After Russian army invaded Ukraine, videos and images of blasts and attacks flooded the social media platforms. In the backdrop of this, an image is circulating on social media claiming that General Sergey Shoygu, the Russian Minister of Defence has asked Indian nationals stranded in war-hit Ukraine to display the Indian national flag on their vehicles, homes so that Russian Armed Forces can identify them, and ensure their safe passage.
In the screenshot seen above, text in Hindi says, “Russia will not harm Indians in Ukraine who have hoisted the Indian National Flag on their homes or displayed it on their vehicles. In fact, the Russian search and rescue squad will take them to a safe place.”
However, is Russia providing safe passage or ensuring safety of Indian students? Especially, when Indian students in Ukraine are moving to the neighbouring countries awaiting evacuation by the Indian authorities. Let’s find out the truth.
We started our investigation by running a relevant keyword search; however, we did not find any credible news report that corroborated that Russia has advised Indians in Ukraine to put up the Indian flag on their houses and cars.
Next, we also checked the official social media accounts of Indian Embassy in Russia but did not find any notice or statement that corroborated the same.
We also did a relevant keyword search on Google Ukraine and Russia but we could not find any statement by the Russian government that guarantees that their forces would help Indians in moving out of Ukraine.
Moving on we found a new report on Times of India and the Economic Times published on February 26, which stated that Government of India has advised Indian students stranded in crisis-stricken Ukraine to carry the national flag on their vehicles for safety. Reports further claim that the Indian national flag could be displayed on the vehicles moving closer to the Ukrainian borders and into other countries with which the Indian government had been in contact with, for evacuating its citizens.
We found a tweet by the Indian Embassy in Ukraine on 25 February 2022 that posted an advisory mentioning Indian students and nationals in Ukraine must print out an Indian flag on their vehicles and buses while travelling.
According to an ANI tweet who has issued an advisory issued by the Embassy of India, Budapest, Hungary. The advisory stated that the Indian nationals must print out the Indian Flag and paste it prominently on their vehicles.
The Indian government started a Twitter account for the evacuation of Indians from Ukraine, called ‘Operation Ganga‘. Going through this account, we could not find any communication that states that the Russian government declared that their forces would help Indians in moving out of Ukraine or to any other safe location.
We also made a relevant keyword search in Russian language with the words India (индийский ) and flag (флаг) on the Twitter account of the Ministry of Defence Russia, but we could not find any tweet made but them using these two words in 2022.
Fact Crescendo found the claim made along with the viral image on social media to be misleading. General Sergey Shoygu gave the Russian Minister of Defence stating the Indian Nationals will be given free passage by the Russian government if they hoist the national flag on their vehicles and homes no such statement.
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Title:Did Russia promise safe passage to Indians stuck in war who display Indian National Flag on their Vehicles…?Fact Check By: Aavya Ray