The Ministry of External Affairs on Wednesday said that nearly 17,000 Indian nationals have left Ukraine’s border since the first travel advisory was issued by the Indian Embassy in Kyiv and as many as 15 flights were scheduled over the next 24 hours.
Speaking at the special briefing on Operation Ganga, to bring back Indian citizens from Ukraine amid Russia’s military operation, MEA official spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, “I am happy to inform that there has been a sharp increase in the number of Indians who have left Ukraine. We now estimate that nearly 17,000 Indian nationals left Ukraine’s border since our advisories were issued, this, of course, includes some Indians who have not registered with the embassy earlier.”
Bagchi also informed that flights under Op Ganga has increased sharply, saying “Flights under Operation Ganga have also increased sharply. During the last 24 hours, six flights have landed in India taking the total number of flights that have landed in India to 15 and the total numbers of Indians who returned including this flight to 3,352.”
Highlighting the ongoing evacuation operations, he said, “I am also happy to share, as many as 15 flights are scheduled over next 24 hours, some of these are already en route,” adding, “the Indian Air Force aircraft has joined Op Ganga with the first C17 flight from Bucharest expected to return today in Delhi from Bucharest later tonight.”
“Indian Air Force aircraft have joined Operation Ganga with the first C-17 flight from Bucharest (Romania) expected to return to Delhi later tonight. 3 more IAF flights will be undertaken today from Budapest (Hungary), Bucharest (Romania) & Rzeszow (Poland),” Bagchi added.
Giving insight into the present situation in Ukraine, he said that the cities in eastern Ukraine remain areas of concern for India due to continuing violence.
However, he said that there are encouraging reports that some students were able to board trains out of Kharkiv yesterday night, today morning and “we assisted in this process through the student contractors and other partners,” Bagchi said.
Regarding today’s advisories to Indian nationals, he said that India has been in communication with the Russian side regarding the safe passage of our nationals from Kharkiv and other nearby cities.
“The advisory that has been just issued by our Embassy a little while ago and also by us on the need for our nationals to leave Kharkiv immediately is on the basis of information received from Russia. We would urge all our nationals to leave Kharkiv immediately to the safe zones or further westwards using any means available including on foot, keeping safety in mind,” said Bagchi.
He also dealt with the western border of Ukraine, he said, “You would have seen the advisory put out today morning by our Embassy in Warsaw regarding the movement across Poland-Ukraine border, Indian nationals were advised to head to the Budimir’s border point for a relatively quicker entry into Poland avoiding the Shehyni-Medyka border crossing that continues to be congested. I am happy that it is working out quite well, more people are leaving through that. Those who do cross the border on their own can directly proceed to the reception point on Polish site, indicated in an advisory.”
Bagchi also reiterated that India is also trying to make arrangements for shelter and food in towns near the borders.
Moreover, he said that after the arrival of Indian officials at Lviv office, the evacuation process will be strengthened and the Indian embassy will be able to assist people crossing the borders. (ANI)