Business Standard

Russia-Ukraine crisis: India steps up efforts to evacuate its nationals

The Indian embassy in Ukraine said over 470 students will exit Ukraine and enter Romania through the Porubne-Siret border on Friday

Militants of the self-proclaimed Donetsk Peoples Republic stand in front of an apartment building, which locals said was damaged by recent shelling, in the separatist-controlled town of Yasynuvata (Yasinovataya) in the Donetsk region (Photo: Reuters)

Militants of the self-proclaimed Donetsk Peoples Republic stand in front of an apartment building, which locals said was damaged by recent shelling, in the separatist-controlled town of Yasynuvata (Yasinovataya) in the Donetsk region (Photo: Reuters)

Press Trust of India New Delhi
India on Friday was grappling with complexities in evacuating its citizens from Ukraine through land border crossings in view of rapidly advancing Russian troops and chaotic ground situation as External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar discussed the predicament of Indian nationals stranded with his Ukrainian counterpart.
Notwithstanding the difficult ground situation, India managed to set up camp offices in Lviv and Chernivtsi towns in western Ukraine to facilitate the transit of Indians to Hungary, Romania and Poland, official sources said.
India also positioned teams of officials at Zahony border post in Hungary, Krakowiec as well as Shehyni-Medyka land border points in Poland, Vysne Nemecke in the Slovak Republic and Suceava transit point in Romania to coordinate exit of Indian nationals from Ukraine, they said.
The Indian embassy in Ukraine said over 470 students will exit Ukraine and enter Romania through the Porubne-Siret border on Friday and that it is moving them to neighbouring countries for onward evacuation.
It said that the "massive evacuation" operation was organised through the joint efforts of Indian embassies in Ukraine, Poland, Romania and Hungary and that efforts are underway to relocate Indians coming in from the hinterland.
As India stepped up efforts to evacuate around 16,000 of its citizens, mostly students, Jaishankar, during a phone conversation with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba discussed the predicament of the Indian nationals and appreciate his support for their safe return.
"Received call from Ukrainian FM @DmytroKuleba. He shared his assessment of the current situation.I emphasised that India supports diplomacy & dialogue as the way out," Jaishankar tweeted.
"Discussed predicament of Indian nationals, including students. Appreciate his support for their safe return," he added.
India is trying to evacuate its nationals through Ukraine's land borders with Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Ukrainian government closed the country's airspace following the Russian military offensive.
As concerns mounted in India over the well-being of its citizens, Russian diplomatic sources said the Indian nationals stuck in Ukraine should stay calm and remain wherever they are.
The sources said President Vladimir Putin conveyed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday night that the Russian military operation in Ukraine does not represent any threat to the civilian population.
In his telephonic conversation with Putin, the prime minister "sensitised" him about concerns over the safety of the Indian citizens in Ukraine and conveyed that India attaches the highest priority to their safe exit and return home, according to an official statement.
A Russian readout said the President of Russia said that "necessary instructions would be given".
The sources said Russia will definitely extend assistance to India for the evacuation of its citizens from Ukraine if it receives any specific request.
Meanwhile, senior government officials said Air India will operate two flights to the Romanian capital Bucharest on Friday to evacuate those Indians who manage to reach the Ukraine-Romania border.
According to the plan, the Indians will be taken to Bucharest by Indian government officials from the border points for their subsequent return by the two Air India flights.
Earlier in the day, the Indian embassy in Ukraine appealed to the Indians to continue to remain "strong, safe and alert" in "this difficult" and assured them that the Indian government and the mission are working to establish evacuation routes.
"Once above routes are operational, Indian nationals travelling by their own arrangements for transport would be advised to proceed to above border checkpoints, and remain in touch with the helpline numbers set up at respective checkpoints for facilitation through the border," it said.
It also advised Indians to paste printouts of the Indian flag prominently on vehicles and buses while travelling.
The Indian embassies in Poland and Slovakia too issued separate advisories explaining details about their entry into these two countries.
The Indian embassy in Poland asked Indian nationals arriving at the Poland-Ukraine border by bus or taxi to enter through the Shehyni-Medyka border crossing and not by the Krakowiec point.
In a separate development, Russia said it expects support from India at the UN Security Council when the global body takes up a crucial resolution on the Russian military operation in Ukraine.
Russia's Charg d'affaires Roman Babushkin said India has a deep understanding of the reasons that led to the current situation in Ukraine and Moscow is looking for continued support from New Delhi in sync with the special and privileged strategic partnership between the two countries.
The UN Security Council is scheduled to vote on Friday evening on a draft resolution on Russia's military operation in Ukraine as well as the escalating situation in the eastern European country.
"We highly appreciate India's deep understanding of the current situation as well as the reasons that led to it. We expect India to support Russia at the UN Security Council," Babushkin told PTI.
In another development, the heads of missions of European countries in India expressed solidarity with their Ukrainian counterpart, strongly condemning Russia's "unprovoked and unjustified" military attack on Ukraine.
The envoys held a meeting in New Delhi and extended their full support to Ukraine.
Ambassador of the European Union to India and Bhutan Ugo Astuto said the EU and its member states stand in solidarity with Ukraine ambassador to India Igor Polikha.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Don't miss the most important news and views of the day. Get them on our Telegram channel

First Published: Feb 26 2022 | 1:18 AM IST

Explore News