Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri enroute to Budapest in Hungary to aid the evacuation of Indian citizens stranded in Ukraine, on Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (IANS)

Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri enroute to Budapest in Hungary to aid the evacuation of Indian citizens stranded in Ukraine, on Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (IANS)

Hardeep Singh Puri, Gen V K Singh and Kiren Rijiju leave for Europe to oversee evacuations

New Delhi, March 1, 2022

Union Ministers Hardeep Singh Puri and Gen V K Singh (Retd) on Tuesday flew to Budapest and Warsaw, respectively, to oversee the evacuation of Indian nationals stranded in Ukraine.

Taking to Twitter, Puri said, "All set to bring back our young students back home safely. Enroute to #Budapest with a refuelling stop in Istanbul with the ever efficient 6E boys & girls."

Puri left by a special flight of IndiGo Airlines for the evacuation of Indian nationals stuck in Ukraine via Budapest.

Union Minister General V. K. Singh is on his way to Poland to energize the government's efforts to facilitate Indians stranded on the Ukrainian side of the Polish border. The Indian Ambassador to Poland is also present near the Polish border points to personally direct the evacuation efforts.

Taking to Twitter Gen Singh said, "Stay where you are, don't move until you are told, and don't panic. Your country will safely evacuate you. Jai Hind. #General_In_Poland."

"My message to all parents, guardians and family members, Your kids will be back with you soon," Singh said.

While leaving for Slovakia, Union Minister Kiren Rijiju said, "Thank you @flyspicejet for joining the efforts to evacuate our fellow Indians especially students who are facing huge difficulties due to war in #Ukraine." PM @narendramodi Ji has given clear instructions to evacuate every Indian back home safely, he added.

He also thanked SpiceJet for operating a special flight for Slovakia to evacuate the Indian nationals in Ukraine via the Slovakia border.

On February 28, the government, in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, decided to send four senior Union Ministers -- Hardeep Singh Puri, Gen VK Singh, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Kiren Rijiju -- to the countries neighbouring war- torn Ukraine to oversee the evacuation of Indian nationals under "Operation Ganga".

Scindia is leaving for Romania and Moldova to oversee the evacuation efforts there.

On Monday, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar spoke to his Polish counterpart to discuss the evacuation efforts while Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Tuesday spoke to the Ambassadors of Russia and Ukraine to reiterate the demand for the safety of Indian nationals who are still in Kharkiv and cities in other conflict zones.

On Tuesday, the Indian Embassy in Kyiv asked all Indians to leave as soon as possible as the situation in the capital city of Ukraine is getting worse. On Monday, the weekend curfew was lifted in Kyiv and the Indian Embassy advised all students to make their way to the railway station for onward journey to the western parts. The Embassy officials were present at the railway station to facilitate and a large number of students were able to board the trains.

To avoid overcrowding and a long waiting time and ease pressure at the border points, the External Affairs Ministry's teams and the Embassy are trying to arrange shelter in nearby towns, particularly Uzhhorod near the Hungary border, Indian officials said.

IANS

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