File photo of Indian students trapped in Sumy, Ukraine, making an appeal in early March for evacuation from the country invaded by Russia. (IANS/Twitter)

File photo of Indian students trapped in Sumy, Ukraine, making an appeal in early March for evacuation from the country invaded by Russia. (IANS/Twitter)

Indian students evacuated from Sumy in Ukraine to return home on Friday: Jaishankar

New Delhi, March 11, 2022

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar today said stranded Indian students evacuated from the Sumy region of Ukraine would return to India later in the day.

"Their evacuation was particularly challenger," he said on Twitter.

The Minister said "Operation Ganga", undertaken at the direction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to evacuate stranded Indian nationals, including thousands of students, had "delivered due to both leadership and commitment".

"We are thankful to all those who facilitated its objectives. Our particular gratitude to the authorities in Ukraine and Russia as well as the Red Cross for the evacuation assistance," he said.

Jaishankar said the neighbours of Ukraine -- Romania, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Moldova -- provided India exceptional support in this effort and conveyed his sincerest thanks to them.

He also expressed gratitude to NGOs, individual volunteers, corporates, airlines and the Indian Air Force who worked tirelessly in this exercise.

The minister alsoappreciated the contribution of his ministerial colleagues -- Jyotiraditya Scindia, Kiren Rijiju, Hardeep Singh Puri and General (Retired) V K Singh, whose presence on the ground in Ukraine's neighbouring countries made a big difference.

"Applaud our Embassy in Ukraine and Team MEA for their dedicated efforts in a difficult conflict situation," he added.

IANS adds:

On Tuesday, the Indian students from Sumy were evacuated and transported to Poltava via a humanitarian corridor. The following day, they were sent to Lviv and from there they crossed into Poland on Wednesday and Thursday.

They will arrive in India aboard three flights, including the Indian Air Force's C-17 Globemaster.

Sumy, a city in northeastern Ukraine, has come under heavy shelling and bombing by Russia which began its military invasion of Kiev on February 24.

Nearly 700 hundred Indian students were stuck in the city amidst the Russian attacks.

On Tuesday, Russia and Ukraine announced a ceasefire and provided a humanitarian corridor.

The previous day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to the Presidents of Russia and Ukraine and requested them to provide a safe passage to evacuate the remaining Indian nationals.

NNN

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