PM holds crucial meet on Ukraine situation; 4 ministers to head to Europe to assess evacuation operation
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a crucial high level meeting on rapidly escalating situation in Ukraine on Monday. The meeting comes as the Indian government is leaving no stone unturned to safely evacuate all Indian citizens from Ukraine.
As per the government sources, the meeting came to a decision that four Union Ministers Hardeep Puri, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Kiren Rijiju and V K Singh will be visiting Ukraine’s neighbouring countries in Europe to help evacuate Indian citizens. The ministers would be visiting as Special Envoys of India.
“The PM said the safe evacuation of students is a priority,” sources said on the second such meeting called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in two days.
Special evacuation flights have been launched by government to bring back nearly 20,000 Indian citizens in Ukraine who are in need of evacuation. Due to closed Ukrainian airspace to commercial flights, the evacuation flights are operating to and from neighbouring countries. Since evacuation operation that started on Saturday, five evacuation flights operated by Air India have brought back 1,156 Indian nationals to Delhi and Mumbai.
However, many Indian students are still left behind in Ukraine who have been forced to find shelter in bunkers amid rapidly plummeting supplies of food and water. These students have been trying to reach the border so as to take Air India’s evacuation flights that have been arranged to operate from neighbouring European countries like Romania, Poland, Hungary and Slovak Republic.
Many students have also been reported to be stuck at Poland border which has prompted authorities to explore other options like train route from Uzhhorod, a city in western Ukraine, to Budapest, the Hungarian capital.
The Indian Embassy in Ukraine had said on Twitter on Saturday that Indian citizens must not move to any of the border posts “without coordinating with government officials, using helpline numbers.” The embassy had said it was difficult to come to help the citizens who reached border checkpoints without prior coordination with them or informing them.