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IAF ready to airlift stranded Indians from Ukraine: MEA

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Indian Air Force is ready to airlift nationals stranded in Ukraine, along with commercial aircraft, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said on Thursday, adding India is in touch with both Russia and Ukraine as a “stakeholder”.

“Ministry of External Affairs is in touch with the Ministry of Defence. We have told them that we will need provisions for airlift. In that case, the IAF can go along with commercial aircraft… All options are on the table,” said Shringla.

He also said that India’s topmost priority is the safety and security of Indian nationals and their evacuation. There are about 20,000 Indians stranded in Ukraine, most of them are students.

The Foreign Secretary stated that External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar has spoken to his Polish, Romanian, Hungarian, and Slovakian counterparts for setting up a camp at border areas for evacuation of stranded Indian nationals.

He also stated that flight options are available through Dubai and Istanbul and that the Indian Embassy continues to be operational in Ukraine.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed the ongoing attacks in Ukraine with Russian President Vladimir Putin and stated that the differences between Russia and the NATO group can only be resolved through honest and sincere dialogue.

The Russian President briefed Modi about the recent developments regarding Ukraine, while Modi appealed for an immediate cessation of violence, and called for concerted efforts from all sides to return to the path of diplomatic negotiations and dialogue.

The Prime Minister also sensitised the Russian President about India’s concerns regarding the safety of the Indian citizens in Ukraine, especially students, and conveyed that India attaches the highest priority to their safe exit and return to India.

IANS

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