Moldova new route for evacuation, 1,396 Indians brought back since conflict began: MEA

Updated on Feb 28, 2022 07:44 PM IST

MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said the situation on ground in terms of evacuation from Ukraine remains “complex and fluid”. He urged the stranded Indians to not panic, as the government was making arrangements for adequate flights to bring them back.

MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi briefs the media about Operation Ganga on Monday, February 28, 2022. (Screengrab/MEA YouTube)
MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi briefs the media about Operation Ganga on Monday, February 28, 2022. (Screengrab/MEA YouTube)
Written by Sharangee Dutta | Edited by Sohini Goswami, New Delhi

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Monday a new route through Moldova was identified for evacuation of stranded nationals from Ukraine.

MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said the new route was operational and the ministry’s team were ready to assist those in need. “They will assist in the evacuation of Indians through Romania,” Bagchi said at a press briefing.

Full Russia-Ukraine crisis coverage here

He said aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia will oversee the evacuation process in Moldova, a landlocked country. Among other Union ministers, Kiren Rijiju will be coordinating and looking after the evacuation process in Slovak Republic, Hardeep Singh Puri in Hungary and VK Singh in Poland.

Bagchi further said the situation on the ground in terms of evacuation remained complex, but the process was being expedited. “The situation is fluid…some of them quite concerning. Nevertheless, we have been able to accelerate our evacuation process,” the MEA spokesperson was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

He said about 8,000 Indian nationals have so far left the war-hit nation since the first advisory was issued by the government, while specifying the figures did not mean these many had left the country since Russia invaded Ukraine. As many as six flights under Operation Ganga - India's mission to evacuate its citizens from Ukraine - had brought back 1,396 nationals, he added.

A seventh flight departed from Mumbai earlier in the day and will land in Romania's capital Bucharest at 6.15pm local time (9.45pm IST). This flight is expected to bring back 182 Indians and is scheduled to reach Mumbai at 9.30am on Tuesday.

Bagchi said all the border points of Ukraine with neighbouring countries - Slovakia, Poland, Romania, Hungary and Moldova - are crowded and that included Ukrainians trying to flee the war as well. “We request Indians to go to west Ukraine, but don't reach the border directly as there's a rush. It will take time. Go to nearby cities, seek shelter there. We're making arrangements there, our teams will help you. Don't panic, we have enough flights.”

He further said India will send humanitarian aid, including medicines, to Ukraine.

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