Amid the escalating conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi on Friday said India has requested Ukraine authorities for special trains to help evacuate stranded Indians in the war-torn country, but haven't heard anything from them yet.
"Highest attention on the eastern #Ukraine particularly Kharkiv and Pisochin. We have managed to get some buses there. 5 buses already operational, more buses later in the evening; 900-1000 Indians stranded in Pisochin & 700+ in Sumy. We are concerned about Sumy," said Bagchi. "We had requested #Ukraine authorities for special trains but haven't heard anything yet. Meanwhile, we are arranging buses," he added.
The MEA spokesperson informed that over 20,000 Indians have left the Ukraine border since the embassy issued advisories. "There are more people, but it's reassuring to see that these many people have left Ukraine," he said. He further said that 16 flights scheduled for the next 24 hours, including Indian Air Force's C-17 aircraft, to bring back the stranded Indian nationals.
Bagchi further urged Ukraine & Russia to have a local ceasefire so that India can evacuate its people.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said that India is working round the clock to ensure the safety and evacuation of the Indian citizens in conflict-ridden Ukraine.
Addressing a rally in Uttar Pradesh's Mirzapur, PM Modi said that the Centre had earlier brought back Indian citizens struck across the world.
Referring to the massive evacuation program called "Vande Bharat Mission" when a huge number of Indians were brought back to India during the COVID-19 pandemic, PM Modi said, "Millions of our Indians were stranded all over the world during COVID. India helped every one of its citizens to come back by running Operation Vande Bharat. Thousands of Indians were trapped in the crisis in Afghanistan, so we carried out Operation Devi Shakti and rescued many Indians from there."
"India is working day and night to bring back every citizen, our students, trapped in the war. We have brought thousands of children safely from Ukraine by running 'Operation Ganga'," he added while elaborating about the efforts of the government in bringing back Indians safely from Ukraine amid Russia's military operations.
PM Modi said, "Indian planes are constantly flying to bring those still stuck there. The campaign is associated with Maa Ganga's name, I am sure that that campaign will be successful."
Centre under Operation Ganga is making all efforts to evacuate Indian nationals stuck in conflict-hit Ukraine. According to MoS External Affairs Meenakshi Lekhi, over 9,000 citizens have been brought back to India from Ukraine so far.