New Delhi: All Indian students stranded in the war-torn Ukrainian city of Sumy have been moved out and flights under Operation Ganga are being prepared to bring them back home, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Tuesday.

MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said the Indian students moved out of Sumy were being taken to Poltava, from where they will board trains to western Ukraine. Poltava is at a distance of about 175 km from Sumy.

“Happy to inform that we have been able to move out all Indian students from Sumy. They are currently en route to Poltava, from where they will board trains to western Ukraine,” Bagchi tweeted.

“Flights under Operation Ganga are being prepared to bring them home,” he said.

Bagchi, however, did not specify from which border point and when will they be evacuated from Ukraine to board flights for their return to India.

The MEA spokesperson also posted a video on Twitter showing Indian students having refreshments in the backdrop of parked buses.

In a statement, the Russian Embassy here said “thanks to the unprecedented security measures taken by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, 723 people have been evacuated from Sumy through Poltava further to the border with Poland (among them: 576 are citizens of India, 115 of China, 20 of Jordan, 12 of Tunisia)”.

Earlier, the embassy had posted that from 10 am (Moscow time) on March 8, the Russian Federation declares ceasefire and is ready to provide humanitarian corridors, including from Sumy by two routes to Poltava.

Also, the Indian Embassy in Ukraine issued an advisory urging all stranded Indian nationals to make use of “humanitarian corridor” announced in various parts of Ukraine and evacuate using trains, vehicles or any other available means of transport giving due consideration to safety.

Humanitarian corridor for evacuation of stranded people has been announced in various parts of Ukraine from 10 am on March 8. Considering the security situation, establishment of the next humanitarian corridor is uncertain, the advisory said.

“All stranded Indian nationals are urged to make use of this opportunity and evacuate using trains/vehicles or any other available means of transport giving due consideration to safety,” the advisory said.

Meanwhile, Indian Ambassador to Ukraine, Partha Satpathy, met the Mayor of Lviv, Andriy Sadovyi, as well as the governor of that city, Maksym Kozytskyi, and held discussions over the evacuation of Indians.

“Ambassador had discussions with Governor of Lviv, Mr.Maksym Kozytskyi. Ambassador thanked the Governor for arrangements in Lviv and requested continued support for evacuating Indian nationals stranded in Ukraine,” the Embassy tweeted.

With Sadovyi, the Indian envoy expressed thanks for the support received in evacuation efforts.

The MEA had set up camp offices in Lviv and Chernivtsi towns in western Ukraine to facilitate transit of Indians to Hungary, Romania and Poland.

Earlier in the day, Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri had confirmed that the evacuation process for Indian students stranded in Sumy has started and they are being taken in buses to Poltava.

“Last night, I checked with the control room, 694 Indian students were remaining in Sumy. Today, they have all left in buses for Poltava,” Puri told reporters here.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi held discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Monday on ways to start the stalled evacuation process of the Indian students from Sumy, which is being pummelled by the invading Russian forces.

Sumy has been witnessing intense fighting between Russian and Ukrainian troops for days now.

India had been making efforts to evacuate its citizens from the northeastern Ukrainian city, but was facing the challenge of heavy shelling and air strikes.

India has brought back over 17,100 of its nationals from Ukraine so far.

India to resume scheduled international flights from March 27


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