India hopes to put the last of Indian students in Ukraine on flights back home soon

Amiti Sen | | Updated on: Mar 09, 2022
The evacuation from Sumy was especially difficult as India had to separately negotiate with Ukraine and Russia

The evacuation from Sumy was especially difficult as India had to separately negotiate with Ukraine and Russia | Photo Credit: anyaberkut

Centre’s ‘Operation Ganga’ has helped evacuate more than 16,000 Indian nationals till date

The government hopes to complete the evacuation process of the over 600 Indian students, who have been successfully brought out of the north eastern Ukrainian city of Sumy and are now on trains travelling to the western border, by Thursday or Friday. According to sources, the arrival of these Indian students could also bring `Operation Ganga’ to an end.

“Once the Indian students from Sumy are safely on the special flights to India, there would be very few Indian nationals left in the country who are wanting to exit. This would probably bring ‘Operation Ganga’ to an end as there would be no point in continuing to expose so many officials to risk,” the source said.

The Indian Embassy would, however, continue to operate in Ukraine and Indian nationals would be helped in getting commercial flights back to the country. But all Indians wanting to leave the country must try to catch the last of the special flights this week as it might be more difficult for them to return subsequently, the source said.

The Centre’s ‘Operation Ganga’ has helped evacuate more than 16,000 Indian nationals till date from the war-torn country in 86 special flights, the source added.

The evacuation from Sumy was especially difficult as India had to separately negotiate with Ukraine and Russia for creation of a safe corridor so that students could safely be taken out of the border city facing continuous shelling and firing.

On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had spoken to both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, raising concerns on the safety of Indian students in Ukraine and calling for their safe evacuation.

The source said that the body of the Indian student Naveen SG, who was killed in Kharkiv from shelling as he waited in a queue to buy food at a shop, is yet to be taken out of the city.

“It is a difficult situation as the city is under intense attack. But the government is in talks with the Ukrainian authorities so that the body could be brought back,” the source added.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 in response to the country’s growing proximity to the NATO countries as Russian President Vladimir Putin said that it posed security risks to his country.

Over 22,000 Indian nationals have left Ukraine since the first travel advisory was issued by the Indian Embassy in Ukraine in January this year.

Published on March 09, 2022
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