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New Delhi/IBNS: More than 470 Indian students will be evacuated from Ukraine via Romania, the government announced on Friday amid a growing and desperate requests for the rescue of thousands of stranded Indians in the war-torn country.
Air India will operate two flights to the Romanian capital Bucharest on Friday to evacuate Indians stranded in Ukraine.
Indian nationals who have reached the Ukraine-Romania border by road will be taken to Bucharest by Indian government officials for evacuation by the two Air India flights, they added.
“Today afternoon more than 470 students will exit Ukraine and enter Romania through the Porubne-Siret Border. We are moving Indians located at the border to neighbouring countries for onward evacuation,” officials said.
Efforts are underway to relocate Indians coming from the hinterland, the officials added.
Earlier in the day, forty Indian students have walked to the Ukraine-Poland border after they were dropped off by their college bus some 8 km from the border.
The students of a medical college in Lviv, 70 km from the border with Poland, are waiting to be evacuated from Ukraine’s neighbouring countries.
The Ukrainian airspace has been shut since Russia’s attack on Thursday.
There are some 16,000 Indians stranded in Ukraine, mostly students. Many have shared posts on social media from shelters like underground metro stations and basements amid sounds of bombing shells and missile attacks by Russian forces.
Sources earlier said that the two flights could take off Friday. While one of the two flights is expected to take off from Delhi, the other is scheduled from Mumbai.
On Thursday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Vladimir Putin and appealed for an immediate cessation of violence in Ukraine that started after Russia authorized military action against its western neighbour.
PM Modi reiterated his long-standing conviction that the differences between Russia and the NATO group can only be resolved through honest and sincere dialogue.
PM Modi also sensitized the Russian President about India’s concerns regarding the safety of the Indian citizens in Ukraine, especially students, and conveyed that India attaches the highest priority to their safe exit and return to India.
A special Air India flight to Kyiv had taken off Thursday but was recalled mid-air following the closure of Ukrainian airspace for civilian flights.