India at UN on ‘complex situation at borders’ amid Ukraine evacuation efforts

India is doing “whatever it can” for the evacuation of citizens stuck in Ukraine, India’s Permanent Representative to UN, TS Tirumurti, said on Tuesday as the United Nations General Assembly opened a rare emergency session to condemn the “unprovoked” assault on Kyiv. The Indian envoy also highlighyed the “complex situation at the border crosssings”, is hampering the efforts.

“The complex situation at the border crossings is adverserly impacting the predictable movement of people. This important humanitarian necessity must be immediately addressed. I would like to thank all the neighbouring countries of Ukraine who have opened their borders for our citizens and given all facilties to our missions and personnel to evacuate Indian nationals to their homeland,” he told the UNGA. Some videos of tensions erupting at the Ukraine border as people tried to leave were shared on social media, raising huge concerns.

Since Sunday, seven special flights have returned to the country, bringing back Indians who were stuck in the war-hit country via alternative routes as the Ukrainian airspace remains closed. Poland, Hungary, Slovakia Republic and Romania are helping India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has held three high-level meetings in 48 hours over the situation. Four union ministers have been chosen as special envoys to the bordering countries.

On the escalating conflict, Tirumurti told the UNGA that India “firmly believes that there’s no other choice but to return to the path of diplomacy.””Peaceful settlement of disputes has been India’s consistent position,” he said.

Simultaneous session is being held at the United Nations Security Council too over the Ukraine crisis. Speaking at the UNSC, Tirumurti had earlier said: “Given that the safety of Indian nationals is of paramount importance to my government, senior ministers from the government of India are being deployed as Special Envoys to Ukraine’s neighbouring countries. We thank them for their cooperation at this difficult time. We stand ready to help those stranded from our neighbouring countries and other developing countries stranded in Ukraine.”

“India remains deeply concerned at the unfolding developments in Ukraine… Our considered call for an immediate cessation of violence and an end to all hostilities is an urgent imperative. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has advocated this strongly in his recent conversations with leadership of Russian federation and Ukraine. We welcome the commencement of direct talks,” he told the UNSC. Ukraine and Russia began ceasefire talks on Monday; however, the first round saw no headway.

India will also be sending relief as onslaught continues in Ukraine. “There is an urgent and pressing humanitarian situation developing in Ukraine. In such times of conflict, India attaches highest priority to the safety of civilians and particularly – women, children and the elderly. We are of the view that core principles of humanitarian assistance should be fully honoured. My government has also decided to provide urgent relief supplies, including medicines and these are being dispatched tomorrow.”

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