Over 600 Indians Return Home From Ukraine In 3 Air Force Aircraft Today

Ukraine-Russia war: Around 20,000 Indians have left Ukraine's borders since India issued its first travel advisories in mid-February.

Over 600 Indians Return Home From Ukraine In 3 Air Force Aircraft Today

India has been evacuating its citizens from war-torn Ukraine's neighbouring countries.

New Delhi:

Three Air Force aircraft carrying 629 Indians from Ukraine's neighbouring countries landed at the Hindon air base near Delhi early this morning.

India has been evacuating its citizens from war-torn Ukraine's neighbouring countries such as Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland as the Ukrainian airspace has been shut since February 24 due to the Russian military offensive.

"Till date, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has flown 10 sorties to bring back 2,056 passengers as part of Operation Ganga," the IAF statement said.

The three Air Force aircraft - all of them C-17 heavy lift transport aircraft - had taken off on Friday from the Hindon air base, it said.

"These flights evacuated 629 Indian nationals from Romania, Slovakia and Poland. These flights also carried 16.5 tonnes of relief load from India to these countries," the statement added.

Eleven more special civilian flights are also expected to land today with more than 2,200 Indians from Ukraine's neighbouring countries. Additionally, four C-17 aircraft are airborne for Romania, Poland and Slovakia, which are expected to reach late at night and early morning today.

At least 1,000 Indians - 700 in Sumy and 300 in Kharkiv - are still stranded in conflict zones in eastern Ukraine, the government said on Friday, adding that arranging buses to evacuate them was proving to be the biggest challenge right now.

"We will continue Operation Ganga till the last person gets evacuated. Roughly 2,000-3,000 (more Indians) are likely to be there (in Ukraine), the number can vary," Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said at a briefing.

"Our primary focus is to get Indian students out of conflict zones in eastern Ukraine. We are urging both sides (Russia and Ukraine) to find ways so that we can take out our citizens. A local ceasefire would help," he added.

Mr Bagchi said around 20,000 Indians have left Ukraine's borders since India issued its first travel advisories in mid-February.

He said 15 flights landed in India as part of the evacuation mission during the last 24 hours, bringing back more than 3,000 nationals.

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