Russia, Ukraine

India now asks families of diplomats to leave Ukraine temporarily

India News

Amid escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine, families of Indian Embassy officials in Ukraine have been asked to return to India, sources said on Sunday. This came hours after India on Sunday, in the second such advisory this week,  asked all its citizens to leave Ukraine temporarily unless their stay there is not absolutely essential.

In the fresh advisory, the Indian embassy in Ukraine asked Indian nationals to leave the eastern European nation temporarily if their stay is not essential.

The advisory came following rising tensions between the NATO countries and Russia over the Ukraine crisis.

“In view of the continued high levels of tensions and uncertainties with respect to the situation in Ukraine, all Indian nationals whose stay is not deemed essential and all Indian students, are advised to leave Ukraine temporarily,” the embassy said.

It said available commercial flights and charter flights may be availed for travel, for an “orderly and timely departure” from Ukraine.

“Indian students are advised to also get in touch with respective student contractors for updates on charter flights, and also continue to follow E embassy Facebook, website and Twitter for any update,” the embassy said.

The language in the new advisory has a more urgent tone than the previous one issued on February 15.

India had on February 15 advised its citizens, especially students, to leave Ukraine temporarily amid ‘uncertainties’, and also asked them to avoid non-essential travel to and within the country.

A statement from the Embassy of India in Kyiv had read, “In view of the uncertainties of the current situation in Ukraine, Indian nationals in Ukraine, particularly students whose stay is not essential, may consider leaving temporarily. Indian nationals are also advised to avoid all non-essential travel to and within Ukraine.

“Indian nationals are requested to keep the Embassy informed about the status of their presence in Ukraine to enable the Embassy to reach them where required. The Embassy continues to function normally to provide all services to Indian nationals in Ukraine,” it had added.

The move comes amid concerns that Russia might invade Kyiv. Though Moscow denies it has any plans to invade Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin has amassed well over 1,30,000 troops near the Ukrainian borders. The US has warned Russia of severe consequences if it does carry out the invasion.

While the Indian Embassy in Kyiv’s own estimates from 2020 says that there are about 18,000 Indian students in Ukraine, the Indian envoy at the UN last month put that number at 20,000.

The majority of them study in medical colleges in Ukraine, which have been a popular destination for the last couple of decades.

The advisory makes it clear that people whose presence in Ukraine is not absolutely essential should leave the country. This also means that since the Kyiv airport is still functional and regular commercial flights are still operating from Ukraine, Indian citizens can make use of the opportunity. The government has facilitated more Air India flights from Ukraine to India.

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