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War in Ukraine: India Issues Advisory for Stranded Citizens, Asks Them to ‘Remain Safe Wherever You Are’

The Indian embassy in Ukraine has asked Indian nationals living in the conflict-hit eastern European nation to "maintain calm and remain safe".

Updated: February 24, 2022 12:46 PM IST

By News Desk | Edited by Rajashree Seal

People board a bus at the Vydubytchi bus station in Kyiv in the morning of February 24, 2022. Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a military operation in Ukraine on Thursday with explosions heard soon after across the country and its foreign minister warning a

New Delhi: With many Indians still stuck in Ukraine, the Indian embassy in the war-torn nation has issued an advisory stating that the “situation is highly uncertain” and advised the citizens to maintain calm and remain safe wherever you are”. The advisory read, “Dear Indians in Ukraine, the present situation in Ukraine is highly uncertain. Please maintain calm and remain safe wherever you are, be it in your homes, hostels, accommodations or in transit.”

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“All those who are traveling to Kyiv, including those traveling from western parts of Kyiv, are advised to return to their respective cities temporarily, especially towards safer places along the western bordering countries,” it said, adding more advisories will be issued for any updates.

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Earlier, official sources in India have informed that the government at the Centre is closely monitoring the rapidly changing situation in Ukraine and their main focus is on the safety and security of Indians. The official source said, “We are closely monitoring rapidly changing situation. Focus is on safety and security of Indians, particularly students.” The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) control room is also being expanded and made operational on a 24×7 basis,  added the source.

The official comments came hours after Russian troops launched their anticipated attack on Ukraine on Thursday, as President Vladimir Putin cast aside international condemnation and sanctions and warned other countries that any attempt to interfere would lead to consequences you have never seen. Big explosions were heard before dawn in Kyiv, Kharkiv and Odesa as world leaders decried the start of an invasion that could cause massive casualties and topple Ukraine’s democratically elected government.

The Indian embassy’s advisory and comments from official sources were issued after an Air India flight took off for Kyiv in Ukraine was turned back for Delhi after the country closed its airspace, following Russian military operations in two breakaway areas. Earlier today, the Air India plane that took off for Kyiv to bring back Indians from the eastern European nation is returning to Delhi due to the closure of Ukrainian airspace amid the Russian military offensive. After the Air India flight had departed from Delhi on Thursday morning, the Ukrainian authorities issued a NOTAM (Notice to Airmen), which stated that flights of civil aircraft within Ukraine “are restricted due to potential hazard for civil aviation”.

Air India and the central government then decided to call back the plane to Delhi, officials said, adding that the plane took an about-turn in the Iranian airspace to return to Delhi. An airline spokesperson said the Air India flight AI 1947 is returning as a NOTAM has been issued at Kyiv. The flight AI1947 will land at about 12.35 pm today. It started from the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) here at around 7.30 am for Boryspil International Airport in Kyiv. Meanwhile, a Ukraine International Airlines flight from Kyiv landed at the Delhi airport at around 7.45 am on Thursday.

“There were 182 Indian nationals onboard the flight and majority of them were students… A couple of more flights have been scheduled,” Anju Wariah, Director at STIC Group, said.

After weeks of rising tensions, Russia on Thursday announced a military operation against Ukraine. Air India’s Thursday flight was scheduled to be the second flight to bring back Indians from the eastern European nation. The first flight, operated on February 22, brought back around 240 people. On February 19, Air India announced that it would operate three flights between India and Ukraine on February 22, 24 and 26.

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Published Date: February 24, 2022 12:39 PM IST

Updated Date: February 24, 2022 12:46 PM IST