The Indian embassy in Ukraine on Sunday said intense fighting was underway in Kharkiv, Sum and Kyiv and urged Indians in these cities and wherever curfew has been applied to not venture towards railway stations until such curbs are lifted and considerable civilian movement is renewed.
The embassy’s advisory came amid reports that the Ukrainian forces have secured full control of Kharkiv following street fighting with Russian troops in the country’s second-biggest city.
Earlier, it had urged stranded citizens to wait for further development if they feel the situation is not conducive for travel and if they are unable to leave their current location due to any reason.
With fights intensifying between forces of the two countries, the embassy in its latest advisory also asked Indians to travel in groups and those who are alone should identify other fellow nationals and travel together.
It asked Indians to reach nearby railway stations as the Ukrainian authorities are operating special trains for evacuation of people free of cost on a first-come-first-serve basis and for which tickets are not required. “ The schedule can be found at train stations.”
In its earlier message, it had advised Indians to move away from conflict zones to the Western region subject to security situation and the extant regulations.
The embassy said it is closely monitoring the situation, especially along the eastern regions of Ukraine and is in constant touch with the authorities regarding the safety of Indians.
The Indian government has launched an all-out effort to bring back its citizens from the war-hit nation. With the Ukrainian airspace shut for passenger movement, the Indian government has managed to fly three special flights of Air India through neighbouring countries to bring back stranded citizens
Minister of external affairs S Jaishankar spoke to his Hungarian counterpart Peter Szijjarto seeking support for evacuating citizens via Ukraine’s border with Moldova. “Thankful for the evacuation support provided so far. Requested further cooperation on the Hungary-Ukraine border,” Jaishankar wrote in a tweet. “Appreciate his ready response and strong support. MEA representatives will accordingly reach there tomorrow,” he added.
Foreign secretary Harsh V Shringla said the government of India has launched multi-pronged ‘Operation Ganga’ to evacuate citizens stranded in Ukraine. “This evacuation process will be at government cost,” he added.