Indians Abroad

PM Modi, Vladimir Putin Discuss Evacuation Of Indians From Ukraine As War Intensifies

PM Modi has held a series of meetings since Sunday to direct efforts to bring back Indians safely

New Delhi:

As fighting intensifies in Ukraine, with its second-largest city Kharkiv, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin reviewing the situation in the war-torn country for which India has asked its citizens to go “immediately”. , an official said Thursday night. .

Both leaders discussed the safe release of Indians from the conflict zones.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke on the phone today with Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation. Officials are reviewing the situation in Ukraine, especially in Kharkiv where many Indian students have become,” the statement said.

“They discuss the safe release of Indians from conflict zones,” he added.

Earlier in the day, India asked its citizens to leave Kharkiv immediately to three nearby “even on foot”, while Russia promised to create “humanitarian routes” for the release of Indians. from conflict areas.

Prime Minister Modi also held another high-level meeting on Thursday night over the Ukraine crisis as four European Union ministers deployed to neighboring Ukraine coordinated rescue efforts along with the deployment of aircraft by the Indian Air Force.

In an immediate response, the Indian embassy in Ukraine asked Indians to reach the Ukrainian cities of Pesochyn, 11 km from Kharkiv, Babai (12 km) and Bezlyudivka (16 km) by 6 PM local time ( 9:30 PM IST).

The idea came as Russia carried out attacks on key Ukrainian cities and a day after an Indian medical student died in an attack in Kharkiv.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Arindam Bagchi said at a press conference that the Indian government had asked citizens to leave Kharkiv immediately on the basis of information from the Russian side.

“Students who could not find buses or buses and were at the Railway station could continue on foot to Pesochyn, Babai and Bezlydivka,” the counsel, second of the day, said “Continue immediately. Under all circumstances. conditions, Indians must reach these settlements by 1800. hours (Ukrainian time) today, ”he said.

It is learned that the Russian side informed India about the possible increase in intensity in Kharkiv and suggested that all Indians should leave the city.

While the first comment went out on Twitter around 1:40 PM (5 PM IST) the second came out around 2:40 PM (6 PM IST).

Mr Bagchi said India was also exploring the option to reach the eastern part of Ukraine to assist in the evacuation of Indians but added that it was not easy because the road was not always open.

Separately, Russian Foreign Minister Denis Alipov said his country was working “urgently” to create a “human highway” for safe passage to the Russian-occupied Indian territory trapped in Kharkiv, Sumy and other conflict zones in Ukraine.

“We have received an Indian request for the emergency evacuation of all those stationed (Ukraine) to the territory of Russia and we are currently working on ways and means to launch a project to provide highways to human settlements. protective. to safety in Russian territory, ”he said.

Alipov said Russia was in contact with Indian authorities on the issue of Indian nationals stranded in Kharkiv, Sumy and in the northeastern regions of Ukraine which witnessed a major conflict.

He hopes the humanitarian system will be in place “as soon as possible”.

As India intensified efforts to evacuate its citizens, four C-17 17 Globemaster aircraft of the Indian Air Force with approximately 800 refugees from Ukraine were scheduled to arrive at Hindon airport on Thursday, sources said.

On Thursday morning, a C-17 plane flew to Romania carrying humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

At a media conference, Mr Bagchi said cities in eastern Ukraine were areas of concern and that some Indian students were able to board trains out of Kharkiv last night and this morning.

“We are in talks with the Russians about the safety of our citizens from Kharkiv and other nearby cities,” he said. Ukraine recently.

“We now estimate that almost 17,000 Indians have left the borders of Ukraine since our submissions. This is certainly the case with some Indians who have not registered with the foreign government. already, ”Mr. Bagchi said.

Previously, the MEA had said that 20,000 Indians were in Ukraine when India issued its first proposal in mid-February when tensions between Russia and Ukraine began to grow.

Regarding the evacuation mission, Mr Bagchi said flights under ‘Operation Ganga’ had increased rapidly and six planes had arrived in India in the past 24 hours bringing the total to 15.

He said the total number of Indians who returned on these planes was 3,352. Of these, 1,796 were evacuated by Romania, 430 by Poland and 1126 by Hungary.

Prime Minister Modi has held several meetings since Sunday to direct Indian efforts to bring back the people safely, saying that this is the first priority of his government.

European Union ministers Hardeep Singh Puri, Kiren Rijiju, Jyotiraditya Scindia and VK Singh are in Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and Poland respectively to manage evacuation efforts.

The ministers posted pictures on Twitter in which they were seen interacting and helping former students from Ukraine.

Meanwhile, an Indian national, known as Chandan Jindal, died in Ukraine for natural causes. He was hospitalized for a few days after suffering a ischemic stroke.

Jindal was admitted to Vinnytsia Emergency Hospital in Ukraine, official sources said. His family has asked the government to return his body. He is studying at Vinnytsia National Pirogov Memorial Medical University, Vinnytsia.

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