Ukraine: India intensifies evacuation operations

New Delhi: Following the death of an Indian medico in Ukraine, the Union government has intensified its evacuation operations to rescue Indians from the war hit country, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi personally monitoring the situation with back to back high-level meetings.

India will operate 26 charters over the next two to three days to bring home Indians who have managed to leave Ukraine and make it to neighbouring countries, according to Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla.

Indian carriers — including Air India, AI Express, IndiGo and SpiceJet — will operate mainly to Bucharest and Budapest. There will be a few flights to Poland and Slovakia also.

Indian Air Force C-17 Globemaster flew out of Delhi today morning to Romania.

Under the Mission Ganga, there are 46 flights till 8 March, of which 29 will take off from Bucharest, 10 from Budapest, six from Poland’s Rzeszow, and one from Slovakia’s Kocise.

There were an estimated 20,000 Indian students in Ukraine when the government issued its first advisory. ‘From that number, approximately 12,000 have since left Ukraine, which is 60 per cent of the total,’ the Foreign Secretary said.

Shringla said all Indian citizens have left Kyiv, the capital city of Ukraine under attack by Russian troops.

‘All of our nationals have left Kyiv. The information with us is that we have no more nationals left in Kyiv, nobody has contacted us from Kyiv since,’ Shringla said.

He said at a high-level meeting on the Ukraine crisis, PM Narendra Modi expressed deep anguish over the loss of life of an Indian citizen in Kharkiv.

‘We remain very concerned over the situation in Kharkiv, Sumy and other conflict zones,’ Shringla said.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) confirmed the death of an Indian student, identified as 22-year-old Naveen Shekhararappa Gyanagoudar, belonging to Karnataka’s Haveri district, in the military shelling in Kharkiv.