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 The first batch of Indian evacuees from Ukraine reach Romania via the Suceava border crossing, on Friday.
The first batch of Indian evacuees from Ukraine reach Romania via the Suceava border crossing, on Friday.

Amid the ongoing tensions in Ukraine and India‘s attempts to bring back stranded students from the Eastern European country, Union Minister G Kishan Reddy on Saturday said that the Central government is taking all necessary measures to evacuate its citizens from the country.

Speaking to ANI, Reddy said, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to the Ministers and heads of the countries surrounding Ukraine. So if Indian travelling on buses, cars or two-wheelers, reach the border of Ukraine to get into another country, the Indian government has made sure that they are allowed without any problem. For the people who are reaching the border of Ukraine into Romania, the Indian government had taken measures to bring students from there for free of cost.”

“Nearly 23,000 Indian students are getting education there. Nearly 4,000 students have been brought back while the airspace was carrying operations. Nearly 19,000 students are there and it is getting difficult to bring them back as the Airport operations are closed. Indian government held high-level meetings on how to bring the students back home and is moving forward with many plans,” Reddy added.

The Indian embassy in Ukraine issued a fresh advisory in view of increasing Russian attacks on several Ukrainian cities and reports of heavy fighting around the capital Kyiv. The embassy particularly advised those staying in the Eastern part of Ukraine to continue to remain in their current places of residence and stay indoors or in shelters as much as possible.

The Union Minister informed that the government is trying to gather information about the students stranded in Ukraine through social media besides the Indian embassy in the Eastern European country. “We are trying to get the details of the students in Ukraine through social media, not only through the Indian embassy but also through the parents in India. We have sent a message on what sort of measure should be taken in these times,” he said.Highlighting the government’s efforts in the crisis, Reddy said that a task force centre has been opened in Romania adding that the talks are on with the neighbouring countries of Ukraine. “We are sending them all the updates and giving them details on where to go. We have arranged and opened a Taskforce centre and command control room in Romania. The Indian government is in talks with the countries surrounding Ukraine,” he said.

The Minister further informed that the government has asked the students to carry the Indian flag with themselves as Russia has given a word not to take any action against the Indian students. “We have asked the students who are travelling on bikes, cars and buses to carry the Indian Flag. Russian has promised that they won’t take any action against Indian students. So that’s why people who are not carrying pictures of flags, have been sent flags through social media. We have asked them to reach the Ukraine border carrying the Indian Flags,” he said.

The Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) representatives in Delhi have denied the charge of collecting increased airfare from students and families wanting to return urgently from the war-torn country. According to Anju Wariah, GSA (General Sales Agent) representative of Ukraine International Airlines in India, the airline fares have been parallel to Air India’s rates i.e., around INR 50,000-INR 55,000.

Reddy further assured all the students and their families of their safe return to India. “I tell the students and parents that it might take a few days for students to come back but all are safe. They will be stationed in Romania till the flights reach there,” he said. “Both Ukraine and Russia have ties with India. Already the PM spoke to the Russian President and said that war is not the solution and should be dealt with dialogue. We don’t have any enemy countries. If we have any enemy countries, it’s Pakistan,” said Reddy.

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