The second evacuation flight of Air India from Bucharest, carrying 250 Indian nationals stuck in Ukraine, landed at Delhi airport in the early hours of Sunday, according to government sources. Jyotiraditya Scindia, Minister of Civil Aviation, greeted the evacuees at the airport by handing out flowers.
On Saturday, India began the evacuation of its trapped residents amid Russia’s military incursion in Ukraine, with the first evacuation flight, AI1944, returning 219 persons from Bucharest to Mumbai in the evening. According to authorities, the second evacuation flight, AI1942, carrying 250 Indian people, landed at the Delhi airport about 2.45 a.m. on Sunday.
AI1940, the third evacuation flight of Air India, arrived in Delhi on Sunday after departing from Budapest, Hungary. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar posted photos of the third flight of “Operation Ganga,” which arrived in Budapest with 240 Indian nationals.
“I know you all have been through a very, very terrible period, a very, very hard time,” Scindia remarked to the returnees. But know that the Prime Minister is with you every step of the way, the Indian government is with you every step of the way, and 130 crore Indians are with you every step of the way.”
He stated that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in contact with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and that discussions are taking on to ensure that everyone is safely returned home.
The minister stated that negotiations are also taking place with the Russian government, adding that the Indian government will rest easy only once all displaced Indians have been evacuated from Ukraine.
On February 24, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla stated that over 16,000 Indians, mostly students, were trapped in Ukraine. On Saturday, the Indian Embassy in Ukraine stated on Twitter that Indian people in Ukraine should not travel to any border checkpoints without first consulting with Indian government authorities in Ukraine via the helpline numbers.
According to them, the government is not charging the rescued residents for the evacuation flights. Scindia informed reporters at the airport terminal that over 13,000 Indians are currently trapped in Ukraine.
The Indian embassy in Ukraine stated Saturday night that it is closely following the unfolding situation in the country’s eastern regions and urged Indian people to be patient and safe in the face of a growing military attack by Russian forces. The embassy stated in a series of tweets that it is in close contact with authorities about the safety of the Indian people.
It stated that staying in western Ukrainian cities with access to water, food, lodging, and basic amenities is safer and more prudent than travelling to border checkpoints without fully understanding the situation.