The ministry of external affairs told Indians stranded in war-hit Ukraine to not go to the borders directly and coordinate with authorities by moving to western parts of the country and seeking shelter in nearby towns. Close to 8,000 Indian citizens had been evacuated since Russian forces launched an offensive against its neighbouring country on February 24.Foreign minister S Jaishankar spoke to his Polish and Hungarian counterparts on Sunday and stranded Indians were being encouraged to move to western Ukraine. “People should not reach the borders directly. They will have to wait for long to cross over otherwise. Please reach the western parts of and seek shelters in nearby towns,” MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said during a media briefing .

Bagchi further said the evacuation process on the Hungary border was being expanded and a new route has opened through Moldova. “A team is there and will assist the evacuation. This route will help people stuck in southern Ukraine,” he added.

Bagchi also said India will be sending envoys to countries neighbouring Ukraine to oversee evacuation process of Indians. A total 1,396 students had reached India so far in six evacuation flights, he added.

Indians still stranded in Ukraine must remain calm as three more special flights under ‘Operation Ganga’ were scheduled in the next 24 hours, Bagchi said. Two from Bucharest to Mumbai and Delhi, and one from Budapest to Delhi were scheduled and more will be added as and when required, he said.

Bagchi said, “Evacuation efforts are on. Situation on the ground continues to be complex and fluid, some of them quite concerning, but we’ve been able to accelerate our evacuation process. About 8,000 Indian nationals have left Ukraine since we issued advisory, not since conflict began.”Bagchi further said the Centre was focusing on evacuation through land borders. “There has been some improvement in movement in Poland, and arrangement for food has been made on the Polish side, where numbers of Indian nationals are stuck,” he added.


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