Around 50 Indian nationals are still considered to be in Ukraine, and currently, the government is planning and considering several options amid intense fighting to bring out up to 20 citizens who have expressed a desire to return to the country.
Over 22,500 Indian nations had returned from Ukraine, including on special flights operated from Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia after Russia launched an attack on Ukraine on February 24.
On Thursday, external affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said that about 50 Indian nationals were in Ukraine till about two to three days ago. “Our assessment is that around 15 to 20 people are there who want to leave, and the rest don’t want to leave,” he told a media briefing.
He further said, “These Indian nationals are in isolated pockets, and their number fluctuated amid the rapidly evolving situation. Authorities are in contact with all the stranded Indians still in Ukraine and are helping them to the possible extent.”
“It is a war situation & we will look for options to evacuate them,” Bagchi said, asserting that the options involve routes to Russia from eastern Ukraine & paths leading to the nation’s western borders.
He added some Indian nationals were taken out via Russia as they were in a Russian-controlled territory & it was easier to move them to Crimea & then Moscow.
Bagchi refused to comment on reports that negotiations on concluding the war focused on Ukraine’s “neutrality” & said the Indian side had been clear and consistent that the crisis could only be settled through diplomacy and dialogue. This message was also conveyed in India’s contacts with all parties to the conflict.
“Our basic message has been the need for diplomacy and dialogue, that’s the way forward. The exact contours of what kind of an understanding that can be reached, I would leave it to the protagonists involved, rather than comment on our views of what could be and what is on the table,” he said.