New Delhi: India has evacuated around 2,000 of its citizens from Ukraine after the conflict began and efforts are on to facilitate the exit of the remaining stranded Indians through various border transit points to the neighbouring countries, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said on Sunday.
At a media briefing, Shringla said he held separate meetings with the ambassadors of Ukraine and Russia and shared with them the locations of the Indian citizens in Ukraine for ensuring their protection.
The foreign secretary said though the border crossings to Hungary and Romania are functioning, the exit point to Poland has been clogged with lakhs of Ukrainians and foreign nationals trying to leave the strife-torn through it.
“This is a problem area,” he said.
Shringla said that Indians who are near the borders with Hungary, Romania and Slovakia are being guided towards the respective border points in phases.
“We are aware of a number of Indian citizens, particularly students, who continue to be in cities in the east and south-east of Ukraine. Unfortunately, these areas are live conflict areas and it is generally deemed unsafe for people to move around freely. We will try to find suitable evacuation modalities for them,” he said.
The foreign secretary said that around a thousand Indians have already been flown out of Romania and Hungary and another 1,000 have been evacuated from Ukraine through the land routes.
He said approximately 2,000 Indian citizens were in Kyiv and many of them have begun to move to the western part of the country.
Shringla said the Indian embassy in Ukraine suggested that those who are located in the eastern areas including Kyiv should start moving westwards to avoid the areas of increasing conflict and that they should come near the border points.
“We have also contacted the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) in Geneva. Our Permanent Representative in Geneva has spoken to the President of the ICRC,” he said.
“The ICRC is commencing its operation in Ukraine. We have told them to please make sure that as and when they start their operation, they should be cognisant of the needs of our citizens and wherever possible escort them out,” he added.
Shringla said India is going to share with the ICRC the locations of the main areas where Indians are concentrated.
India on Friday managed to set up camp offices in Lviv and Chernivtsi towns in western Ukraine to facilitate the transit of Indians to Hungary, Romania and Poland.
India also positioned teams of officials at Zahony border post in Hungary, Krakowiec as well as Shehyni-Medyka land border points in Poland, Vysne Nemecke in the Slovak Republic and Suceava transit point in Romania to coordinate the exit of Indian nationals from Ukraine.
India is using the land routes to evacuate its citizens as Ukraine has closed its airspace for civilian aircraft following the Russian attack. PTI