Air India to send two flights to Ukraine to evacuate Indians
With Ukraine defending against Russian invasion, the Modi government has escalated move to evacuate Indian nationals trapped in the war-torn country. Air India is sending two flights at 2 am on Saturday to airlift the Indian citizens from Ukraine via Bucharest. The Indian evacuation teams have reached the Romanian borders, which is roughly 12 hours drive from Ukrainian capital Kyiv. With the airspace closed for civilian flights, the Indian nationals will be boarding flights at Bucharest to return home safely. Meanwhile, several Indian nationals have taken refuge in the Indian embassy in Kyiv. There were reports of shelling around the embassy premises, but no damage has been done.
Ever since Vladimir Putin's forces invaded Ukraine, the Indian government has been on its toes. The Ministry of External Affairs set up a 24x7 control room in the national capital to monitor the entire evacuation process.
The Indian embassy in Kyiv has been issuing advisories to the citizens, mostly comprising students to stay calm wherever they were, assuring them of working on an evacuation arrangement via alternative route. Add to this, the embassy had also advised the Indian nationals to take shelter in the nearest bomb shelter or bunkers in case of shelling in the vicinity.
The external affairs ministry has also shared contact details of officials who can be approached by Indian citizens after cross the Ukrainian border with respective countries. . As flights have been suspended, entering these countries through land route by crossing the border remains the best option for Indians who want to leave Ukraine now. On Thursday, MoS external affairs V Muraleedharan had assured families of stranded Indians that efforts were on a war-footing to bring their near and dear ones from the conflict-hit eastern European nation. "The MEA is taking steps to bring back about 18,000 Indians including students from Ukraine. As the air space in Ukraine is closed, alternative arrangements are being made for the evacuation of Indian nationals. The central government will ensure the safety of all Indians," the minister had said.
Remember, the Indian embassy in Kyiv in its advisory issued on February 15 had urged all Indians to leave Ukraine as soon as possible.
"All Indian students should leave Ukraine in view of the escalating military tension with Russia. In view of the uncertainties of the current situation in Ukraine, Indian nationals in Ukraine, particularly students whose stay is not essential may consider leaving temporarily," the embassy had said.
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