Over two to three thousand Indian nationals are still stranded in the war-struck Ukraine and the evacuation of around 900 Indian nationals is underway, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Friday.
The spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, Arindam Bagchi said that around 700 Indian nationals are stranded in Sumy and 300 in Ukraine’s second-largest city – Kharkiv. Moreover, the evacuation of over 900 is underway, who are being taken out from Pisochyn via five buses.
Addressing the reporters, the MEA spokesperson said that as many as 20,000 Indians have left Ukraine since the first travel advisory by India in Mid-February and at present, roughly around two to three thousand Indians are still stuck in Ukraine, adding that “Our primary focus is to get Indian students out of conflict zones in eastern Ukraine.”
He further informed that India is urging both sides – Russia and Ukraine to seek a local ceasefire for the safe passage and evacuation of Indians from the conflict zone. “We have been asking for a cessation of hostilities by both sides. Local ceasefire or whatever works to get our people out of the conflict zones,” he said.
Talking about ‘Operation Ganga’, Bagchi said that 15 flights with over 3,000 Indians onboard landed in India in the last 24 hours and more 16 flights are scheduled to take off in the next 24 hours. As of now, 10,300 Indians were evacuated in 48 flights under the mission. Also, India has evacuated a Bangladeshi national as a part of it.
Answering a question related to the claim by Moscow to have arranged 130 buses for evacuation of Indians from eastern Ukrainian cities, Bagchi said that those buses are placed over 50-60 km away from the location of the students. “They are frankly too far away. We do not see a safe and secure way to reach them. I would appeal and urge the parties concerned to have a local ceasefire at least so that the students can go to the buses… the core problem is how we get the students from their location to the buses which are far away,” the spokesperson said.
According to media reports from Moscow, the Russian authorities have arranged 130 buses to take out stranded Indians from Kharkiv and Sumy and make them reach safely to Belgorod – a Russian city.