By: Sattwik Biswal
THE Indian embassy in Ukraine on Monday (28) advised all Indian students stranded in Kyiv to reach the railway station in the Ukrainian capital for their onward journey to the western parts of the war-torn country.
It said the weekend curfew in Kyiv has been lifted and they can go to the railway station to get out of the city.
“Weekend curfew lifted in Kyiv. All students are advised to make their way to the railway station for onward journey to the western parts. Ukraine Railways is putting special trains for evacuations,” the embassy tweeted.
External affairs minister S Jaishankar, meanwhile, said the sixth flight under India’s evacuation mission ‘Operation Ganga’ left for Delhi from Budapest with 240 Indian nationals.
“Sixth #OperationGanga flight from Budapest. To Delhi with 240 Indian nationals,” he tweeted.
Foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Sunday (27) said the main concern for India is ensuring the safety of its nationals stuck in areas witnessing intense fighting including in Kyiv that has around 2,000 Indians.
India has already evacuated over 2,000 of its citizens from Ukraine and more than 1,000 of them have been brought back home on chartered flights from Hungary and Romania.
The areas in the east of Ukraine including Kharkiv and Sumy are the conflict zones and India has been focusing on taking out its citizens from these areas to the country’s western region for their subsequent evacuation through border crossings to Hungary, Romania, Poland and Slovakia.
“The Ministry of External Affairs, under the direct supervision of the external affairs minister, and the overall guidance of the prime minister is doing everything possible to make sure that the safety, security and the interests of our citizens in Ukraine are given the highest priority,” Shringla said.
India on Friday managed to set up camp offices in Lviv and Chernivtsi towns in western Ukraine to facilitate the transit of Indians to Hungary, Romania and Poland.
India 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 the Slovak Republic and Suceava transit point in Romania to coordinate the exit of Indian nationals from Ukraine.
India is using the land routes to evacuate its citizens as Ukraine has closed its airspace for civilian aircraft following the Russian attack.
MEA activates dedicated Twitter handle
Moreover, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Sunday (27) activated a dedicated Twitter handle, “OpGanga Helpline” (@opganga), to assist in the evacuation of Indian nationals from war-torn Ukraine.
The mission to evacuate the stranded Indians from Ukraine has been named as “Operation Ganga”.
India has already set up round-the-clock “control centres” in Poland, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia to assist in the evacuation of Indian nationals from Ukraine through border-crossing points with these countries.
The helpline numbers of the control room in Poland are: +48225400000, +48795850877 and +48792712511. Those requiring help can also write an email to [email protected], according to the MEA.
The helpline numbers of the control room in Romania are: +40732124309, +40771632567, +40745161631 and +40741528123. The email address for contacting the control room in Romania is [email protected]
The MEA said Indians can contact the control room in Hungary on phone numbers: +36 308517373, +36 13257742 and +36 13257743. It also has a WhatsApp number: +36 308517373 for assistance
The helpline numbers of the control room in Slovakia are +421 252631377, +421 252962916 and +421 951697560. The email address is [email protected]