The government is organising evacuation flights from neighbouring countries as the Ukrainian airspace remains shut, people familiar with the development said on Friday.
The Centre is organising evacuation flights for Indians stranded in Ukraine and the cost of the evacuation will be completely borne by the government of India, people familiar with the development said on Friday. On Thursday, with the escalation of the Russia-Ukraine tension following Russia’s invasion into Ukraine, Ukraine shut off its airspace forcing an Air India flight to return from the midway. The ministry of external affairs said the government is considering alternative ways to bring back the Indians, possibly via neighbouring countries of Ukraine.
External affairs minister S Jaishankar on Thursday held talks with Hungary foreign minister Peter Szijjarto about a possible route of evacuation via Hungary. Slovakian foreign minister Ivan Korcok has also expressed willingness to facilitate the evacuation of the Indians through Slovakia.
Indians who are still in Ukraine will have to safely reach the border points where MEA officials have been camping. From there, they will be taken to the nearest airports of the neighbouring countries, this is the plan so far.
A senior government official said Air India is planning to operate two flights to the Romanian capital Bucharest today for the evacuation of the Indians who have reached the Ukraine-Romania border by road. The two Air India flights will depart from Bucharest on Saturday, the officials said. The distance between the Ukrainian capital Kyiv and the Romanian border is approximately 600 kilometres and it takes anywhere between 8.5 to 11 hours to cover the distance by road. The distance from the Ukraine-Romania border to Bucharest is approximately 500 kilometres and it takes anywhere between seven to nine hours to cover the distance by road.
Another evacuation route is being worked out via Hungary. MEA teams are getting in place at CHOP-ZAHONY Hungarian border near Uzhhorod.
(With agency inputs)
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