NEW DELHI: India was grappling on Friday with complexities in evacuating its citizens from Ukraine through land border crossings due to the rapid advance of Russian troops and the chaotic situation on the ground as the External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar was discussing the ‘difficult situation’ of stranded Indian nationals with his Ukrainian. counterpart.
Despite the difficult situation on the ground, India managed to set up camp offices in the cities of Lviv and Chernivtsi in western Ukraine to facilitate the transit of Indians to Hungary, Romania and Poland, official sources said.
India has also positioned teams of officials at Zahony border post in Hungary, Krakowiec as well as Shehyni-Medyka land border points in Poland, Vysne Nemecke in Slovak Republic and Suceava transit point in Romania for coordinate the exit of Indian nationals from Ukraine, they said.
External Affairs Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi said the first group of evacuees from Ukraine had reached Romania via the Suceava border crossing and Indian authorities would now facilitate their journey to Bucharest for their journey. to India.
Bagchi also shared on Twitter visuals of Indians crossing the border from Romania to Ukraine.
Senior officials said Air India will operate two flights to the Romanian capital Bucharest on Friday to evacuate Indians. Other flights are expected to operate in the coming days.
Earlier, the Indian Embassy in Ukraine said more than 470 students will leave Ukraine and enter Romania through Porubne-Siret border on Friday and transfer them to neighboring countries for further evacuation.
He said the ‘mass evacuation’ operation had been organized through the joint efforts of Indian embassies in Ukraine, Poland, Romania and Hungary and that efforts were underway to relocate Indians coming from behind. -country.
As India stepped up its efforts to evacuate about 16,000 of its citizens, mostly students, Jaishankar in a phone conversation with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba discussed the plight of nationals Indians and appreciated his support for their safe return.
“Received a call from Ukrainian FM @DmytroKuleba. He shared his assessment of the current situation. I stressed that India supports diplomacy and dialogue as a solution,” Jaishankar tweeted.
“I discussed the plight of Indian nationals including students. Appreciate his support for their safe return,” he added.
India is trying to evacuate its nationals through Ukraine’s land borders with Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Ukrainian government has closed the country’s airspace following the Russian military offensive.
As concerns grew in India over the well-being of its citizens, Russian diplomatic sources said Indian nationals stranded in Ukraine should remain calm and stay wherever they are.
The sources said President Vladimir Putin told Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday evening that the Russian military operation in Ukraine poses no threat to the civilian population.
In his phone conversation with Putin, the prime minister ‘sensitized’ him to concerns over the safety of Indian citizens in Ukraine and indicated that India attached the highest priority to their safe exit and return, according to an official statement.
A Russian reading said the Russian president said “necessary instructions will be given”.
The sources said that Russia would certainly assist India in the evacuation of its citizens from Ukraine if it received a specific request.
The Indian Embassy in Ukraine called on Indians to continue to remain “strong, safe and alert” in “this difficult situation” and assured them that the Indian government and the mission were working to establish escape routes.
“Once the above routes are operational, Indian nationals traveling by their own means of transport would be advised to proceed to border checkpoints and keep in touch with the hotline numbers set up at the checkpoints. to facilitate border crossing,” he said.
He also advised Indians to stick Indian flag prints prominently on vehicles and buses while traveling.
Indian embassies in Poland and Slovakia have also issued separate notices explaining the details of their entry into those two countries.
The Indian Embassy in Poland has asked Indian nationals arriving at the Polish-Ukrainian border by bus or taxi to enter through Shehyni-Medyka border post and not Krakowiec point.
In a separate development, Russia said it expects India’s support at the UN Security Council when the world body adopts a crucial resolution on Russia’s military operation in Ukraine.
Russian Chargé d’Affaires Roman Babushkin said India had a deep understanding of the reasons that led to the current situation in Ukraine and that Moscow was looking for continued support from New Delhi in sync with the special and privileged strategic partnership between the two countries.
The UN Security Council is due to vote on Friday evening on a draft resolution on the Russian military operation in Ukraine as well as on the escalation of the situation in this Eastern European country.
“We highly appreciate India’s deep understanding of the current situation as well as the reasons leading to it. We expect India to support Russia in the UN Security Council,” Babushkin told PTI.
In another development, the heads of missions of European countries in India expressed their solidarity with their Ukrainian counterpart, strongly condemning Russia’s “unprovoked and unjustified” military attack on Ukraine.
The envoys held a meeting in New Delhi and gave their full support to Ukraine.
European Union Ambassador to India and Bhutan Ugo Astuto said the EU and its member states stand in solidarity with Ukraine’s Ambassador to India Igor Polikha.