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Four Portsmouth Polytechnic students trapped in Kiev near the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster at Chernobyl were to be flown to safety from Moscow.

They were on a three month educational trip and had been in Kiev since April 13.

The students’ travel company was told by Russian authorities life in the city would continue as usual despite reports of mass evacuations and 2,000 dead in areas surrounding the stricken plant.

Peter Sweetland, whose daughter Jane was one of the students, said: ‘She says the first they knew of the situation was yesterday, and then only by British officials, the Russians have not given any information or advice.’

The British Embassy was considering how to evacuate more than 100 British students – about 70 in Kiev and 100 in Minsk – from the area.