Indian nationals come out of the IGI Airport after their arrival by an Air India flight from Ukraine amid rising Russia-Ukraine tension, in New Delhi, Wednesday, February 23, 2022.(PTI Photo/Kamal Singh)
New Delhi: Indians returning from Ukraine and their families expressed relief and joy after the special Air India (AI) flight returned to India in the early hours of Wednesday.
A large number of returnees consisted of students studying medicine. Parents were seen waiting at the airport to receive their loved ones.
Rajesh Rana, the father of a medical student at Kharkiv National Medical University, said, "We were trying to get tickets for several days. Finally, my daughter was able to board the Air India plane."
Expressing relief at the return of his daughter, he said, "I was awake entire night, and finally relieved after hearing that she had boarded the flight."
As the flight landed and students deboarded, many of them were delighted to be back in India.
"It feels good to be back home. The preparations at Delhi airport were very good," said Sakshi, a student.
Yash Dewansh, a medical student, said, "There is a panic situation in Ukraine. We are all finally relieved."
Another returnee, Nirav Patel, said, "I obviously feel very good. This is my home country."
The Air India ferry flight had left on Monday for Ukraine to take back Indians who wished to return home. Air India had already announced that a total of three flights from Ukraine to India would operate for Indian nationals, including students, during the state of war in Ukraine.
A parent from Amritsar expressed joy at his daughter's return, saying, "We are very happy that our kid is back with us. We were very nervous."
"Many parents were stressed about the prevailing situation. So, it is very good that we are back with our parents," said Muskan, another student.
Tensions rose dramatically after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered sending Russian Armed Forces to Ukraine's breakaway regions after recognizing their independence in his address to the nation on Monday.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) held a meeting following a request from the United States and allies on Monday.
Condemning Russia's move to recognize regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, the Ukrainian Ambassador to the United Nations demanded Moscow to return to negotiations besides ensuring the immediate and complete verifiable withdrawal of the occupation troops.
India strongly emphasized the need for all sides to exercise the utmost restraint and intensify diplomatic efforts to ensure a mutually amicable solution.