New Delhi, Feb 22 (EFE).- A special plane of India’s flag carrier Air India was dispatched from New Delhi to Ukraine on Tuesday to kick off the evacuation of thousands of Indian students and residents from the European country even as tensions have mounted in the region.
“Yes, the first of three flights of Air India to Ukraine left today from Delhi at 7.30 am. It is (supposed) to come back around 10.15 pm,” an AI source told EFE on the condition of anonymity.
The plane, a Dreamliner B-787 capable of carrying 254 passengers, would fly nonstop to Kiev, although the source did not offer details over the distribution of the available seats.
The next two flights, to be carried out by the same model, are set to take off from India on Feb. 24 and 26 respectively.
These flights come after four others announced by the Indian Embassy in Ukraine earlier, which will leave from Ukraine on Feb. 25 (morning and evening), Feb. 27 and Mar. 6.
Moreover, the embassy also told Indian citizens that they could try and take one of the regular flights being operated by various airlines between the two countries.
However, due to the reluctance among students over leaving the country without the certainty that they could resume their university classes online, the embassy issued a statement on Tuesday assuring them that they would contact authorities to explore the possibility of the classes being offered via video-conferencing.
After Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized the self-declared republics of Donestk and Lugansk, situated in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, and ordered troops’ movement to the two enclaves, India said in an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council that it was “deeply concerned” over the developments and called for diplomatic dialog to resolve the ongoing Ukraine crisis.
India’s permanent representative to the UN, TS Tirumurti, said that civilians’ security was paramount and specified that more than 20,000 Indian students and citizens were currently living in different parts of Ukraine – including near its borders – whose safety was a priority for New Delhi. EFE