BRATISLAVA: Tears Of Joy As Students From Ukraine Reach India Via Slovakia

BRATISLAVA: Tears Of Joy As Students From Ukraine Reach India Via Slovakia

BRATISLAVA: Families broke down with tears of relief and joy as a large group of students reached India on Saturday evening, after being evacuated from Ukraine via Slovakia.

Sumit Kumar, one of the students, told NDTV over the phone, “There was an attack at an army base where I was in Ukraine but things had been quiet since then.

But the situation is worse in Kharkiv and Sumy. That’s why my parents were worried.”

“I left for the border on March 3. I managed to cross in 2 hours. There wasn’t a lot of rush. In Slovakia, the Indian Embassy staff helped a lot. We were taken to a hotel, there was a good arrangement of food and everything,” he said.

At a media briefing earlier in the day, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said under the country’s evacuation mission ‘Operation Ganga’, 63 flights have brought back over 13,300 Indians so far.

Out of these 63 flights, 15 flights landed in the last 24 hours bringing back around 2,900 citizens.

The spokesperson said 13 flights are scheduled for the next 24 hours to bring back Indians.

The foreign ministry’s control room, set up following the Russian attack on Ukraine, has attended to over 12,000 calls and around 9,000 e-mails till Saturday afternoon, he said.

Mr Bagchi said India’s main focus now is to evacuate around 700 students stranded in the eastern Ukrainian city of Sumy that has been witnessing bombings and airstrikes.

“Our main focus is now on evacuating Indian students from Sumy. We are exploring multiple options for their evacuation,” he said.

Mr Bagchi also reiterated India’s call to Russia and Ukraine to go for a local ceasefire so that the Indians can be taken out of the conflict zones.

“Our challenge in the evacuation of the Indians from Sumy is ongoing shelling and violence and lack of transportation,” Mr Bagchi said.

Without elaborating, he said India is exploring multiple options for the evacuation of the students.

“We are in touch with all concerned. The best option for us would be a ceasefire that allows our students to get out and we have been strongly pressing both the Russian and Ukrainian sides to allow this kind of a local ceasefire,” he said.

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