Ukraine crisis: PM Modi asks Air Force to evacuate stranded Indians

The IAF is likely to deploy several C-17 aircraft as part of Operation Ganga from Tuesday

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked the Indian Air Force (IAF) to evacuate Indians stranded in Ukraine due to the Russian military offensive against that country, sources said on Tuesday.

The IAF is likely to deploy several C-17 aircraft as part of Operation Ganga from Tuesday, they said.

Till now, only private Indian carriers were evacuating Indians from Romania and Hungary, countries with land borders with Ukraine on the western side, as the Ukrainian airspace had been shut since February 24.

India began evacuation of around 14,000 of its stranded citizens on February 26.

In order to scale up the ongoing evacuation efforts under Operational Ganga, PM Modi has called for the IAF to join the exercise, the sources said.

Leveraging the capacities of the IAF will ensure that more people can be evacuated in a shorter time frame, they noted.

The large C-17 aircraft will also help deliver humanitarian aid to war-hit Ukraine more efficiently, they mentioned.

Taking into account the humanitarian requirements in Ukraine, Ambassador of India to United Nations, T S Tirumurti, on Monday, had said that India has decided to provide urgent relief supplies, including medicines to Ukraine, which is expected to be despatched tomorrow.

Tirumurti made these remarks at the UNSC meeting on the humanitarian situation in Ukraine. He said that there is an urgent and pressing humanitarian situation developing in Ukraine.

PM Modi briefs President Kovind on Ukraine crisis

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday and briefed him on various issues, including the Ukraine crisis, official sources said. Sources said Modi briefed Kovind on the crisis and his government's efforts to bring back the Indian citizens stranded in the country.

Meanwhile, An Air India Express flight carrying 182 Indians nationals from war-torn Ukraine landed in Mumbai from the Romanian capital Bucharest on Tuesday morning, an airline spokesperson said.

The AI Express flight IX-1202 from Bucharest via Kuwait touched down the runway at 7.40 am, he said.

This is the second evacuation flight operated to Mumbai from Bucharest to bring back Indians from war-hit Ukraine since February 27.

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