A special Air India flight – that brought back 250 Indians after they were able to leave the war-hit Ukraine – reached Delhi in the early hours of Sunday. Shortly after the flight arrived at the India Gandhi International Airport at 2:45 am, a warm welcome awaited the passengers as Aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia gave them roses. A video of the minister interacting with the passengers inside the plane shows the 51-year-old leader giving them a spirted message.
He assured that “every Indian in Ukraine will be brought back safely”. “Please pass this message to all your friends and all your colleagues that we are with them and we will guarantee their safe passage back (home). Prime Minister Modi is in touch with the Ukrainian President.. the conversations are on to ensure that everyone is brought home safely,” he says in a video.
“Conversations are also on with the Russian government. I assure you… ek ek nagrik ko wapas lakar hi hum chain ki saans lenge ( We will take a sigh of relief only after bringing back every citizen). We welcome you.. I also thank the Air India crew,” he says as the passengers break into an applause.
The national carrier also shared photos of the Union minister and minister of state for external affairs V Muraleedharan receiving the evacuees at the airport.
Ukraine is in the middle of a massive crisis after Russia launched a full-blown invasion on Thursday, leading to constant firing and the loss of lives of hundreds of people. In the wake of the crisis, Ukraine closed its airspace for civil aircraft operations, due to which the evacuation flights are operating out of Bucharest and Budapest.
The first evacuation from Romania carried 219 nationals from Ukraine. It arrived at the Mumbai airport on Saturday evening.
The government officials are assisting Indian nationals at the Ukraine-Hungary border, to reach Bucharest and Budapest, respectively, via road. From there, they are being brought back on Air India flights.
As the situation is escalating in Ukraine, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday spoke to his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy and conveyed India’s deep concern for the safety and security of Indian citizens, including students, present in Ukraine.
During the phone call, he also sought facilitation by Ukrainian authorities to expeditiously and safely evacuate Indian citizens.