Union Ministers to visit Ukraine's neighboring nations to evacuate Indians
Union Ministers Hardeep Singh Puri, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Kiren Rijiju, and General (Retd) VK Singh will reportedly travel to the neighboring countries of Ukraine to help evacuate Indians from the country, sources told PTI. Ukraine was invaded by Russia on Thursday, triggering intense fighting in the country. Last week, India said roughly 20,000 of its nationals remain stuck in Ukraine.
Decision taken at meeting with PM Modi
The four ministers will be traveling to Ukraine's neighboring countries as "special envoys," sources told PTI. The decision to send the ministers was taken earlier on Monday during a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar and Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal were among the ministers who were present during the meeting.
Evacuation of Indians remains 'top priority'
PM Modi had asserted India's commitment to evacuate Indian nationals on priority at another meeting on Sunday. It was at that meeting that India decided to step-up coordination with Ukraine's neighboring countries to evacuate people, the sources said.
Complex situation impacting evacuation efforts: India
India reiterated its priority to safely evacuate its nationals at Sunday's United Nations Security Council meeting. However, India said that its evacuation efforts had been "adversely impacted by the complex and uncertain situation at the border crossings." India has asked its nationals to approach western Ukrainian borders (Russia has invaded from the east). Efforts to evacuate them through Ukraine's neighboring countries are underway.
Important contacts for Indians in Ukraine
Operation Ganga: 5th flight evacuating Indians from Ukraine reaches Delhi
Earlier on Monday, a fifth flight carrying Indian nationals from Ukraine landed in New Delhi. The Air India flight was carrying 249 Indian nationals from Bucharest in Romania, which shares its border with Ukraine. India has set up several 24x7 control centers to conduct rescue operations for Indians from Ukraine through Poland, Romania, Hungary, and the Slovak Republic under 'Operation Ganga'.
What's happening in Ukraine?
Russian forces had launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Thursday morning. The invasion has triggered intense fighting between the two neighboring countries, sparking global tensions and fears of a third world war. Ukraine's Interior Ministry has reported 352 Ukrainian civilian deaths in the fighting including 14 children. The Russian Defence Ministry on Sunday acknowledged Russian casualties, however, did not release any figures.