Ukraine crisis: Three more IAF C-17 flights to carry out evacuations today

The Indian Air Force\'s first flight carrying 200 people from Bucharest landed at 1.30 am, with MoS for Defence Ajay Bhatt welcoming them

Visakhapatnam: The fourth flight of the Indian Air Force (IAF) C-17 from Bucharest landed at the Hindon Air Base at Ghaziabad at 8.15 am on Thursday. A total of 180 passengers, mostly students, were on board, according to a defence official release here.

The flight is part of the Government of India's massive airlift effort named Op Ganga. Till now, the IAF has brought back a total of 798 passengers from Hungary, Poland and Romania. The defence minister Ajay Bhatt, was present at the tarmac to welcome back the passengers who were evacuated from Ukraine to these neighbouring countries.

On Thursday, the IAF is operating three more flights to various locations in the neighborhood of Ukraine towards the effort.

All three IAF flights were conducted using C-17 military transport aircraft, sources said.

The IAF C-17 heavy-lift transport aircraft have been extensively used for evacuation of stranded citizens of India in the recent past, most notably from Afghanistan. These airplanes have also been utilised to transport oxygen containers in large quantities during the Covid19-19 outbreak last year.

India has been evacuating its citizens through special flights from Ukraine's western neighbours such as Romania, Hungary and Poland as the Ukrainian airspace has been shut since February 24 due to the Russian military offensive.

The second evacuation flight of the IAF with 220 Indians from Budapest landed at the Hindon airbase on Thursday morning, sources mentioned.

A little while after the second, the IAF's third evacuation flight arrived at the airbase from Rzeszow with 208 Indians, they noted, adding the fourth flight is expected to arrive later in the morning.

Four Union ministers have gone to Ukraine's western neighbours to facilitate the evacuation of Indian nationals.

Hardeep Singh Puri is in Hungary, Jyotiraditya Scindia is in Romania, Kiren Rijiju is in Slovakia and V K Singh is in Poland.

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