Indian nationals in Lugansk have been asked to travel on the trains in which seating has been reserved for them – Train No. 134 leaving Lugansk on June 3 at 1955 hrs and Train No. 126 on 4 June at 1350 hrs. A large number of Indian students study in the state. 350 of them are from Kerala, 25 from Tamil Nadu, 150 from Andhra Pradesh and 60 from Punjab. Latest in the bloody unrest that has gripped eastern Ukraine, eight people were reported killed in an explosion at Lugansk’s regional administration building on Tuesday. Ukrainian forces have being fighting the rebel militia to seize control of key installations in the Lugansk region. India last week issued an advisory, asking its nationals to leave Donetsk and Lugansk regions in eastern Ukraine which are witnessing frequent violent clashes between pro-Russian separatists and government forces. In the advisory, it also asked citizens in other parts of eastern and southern Ukraine to remain vigilant about their personal safety and security.
Though not matched in scale, this is the biggest evacuation of Indian nationals overseas since the Libyan civil war in 2011, which was code-named ‘operation homecoming’. India had 18,000 nationals working in Libya at the time, and both the navy and Air India took part in the massive evacuation of some 15,000 nationals, and the rest had decided to stay put.