Four Union ministers are likely to fly to countries bordering war-torn Ukraine to coordinate government’s evacuation efforts amid reports of thousands of Indian students stranded at the borders in freezing temperature.
The decision was taken at the high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 28 morning. This was a second meeting in last 24 hours chaired by PM Modi on the Ukraine crisis.
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Sources said the ministers who will travel to countries surrounding Ukraine as 'Special Envoys of India' include Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, Law Minister Kiren Rijiju and MoS Civil Aviation General (retd) VK Singh.
Minister Scindia will look after Romania and Moldova, Rijiju will go to Slovakia, Puri will go to Hungary and Gen (Retd) Singh will be in Poland to manage the evacuation of Indians stuck in Ukraine, the government sources said.
The high-level meeting was attended by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, apart from Scindia and VK Singh.
#WATCH | Prime Minister Narendra Modi calls a high-level meeting on the Ukraine crisis. Some Union Ministers may go to neighboring countries of Ukraine to coordinate the evacuations.#RussiaUkraineCrisis pic.twitter.com/yqTFYwspxo
— ANI (@ANI) February 28, 2022
Ukraine continued to fight on fifth day of Russian invasion on February 28. Ukraine has claimed that 3,500 Russian troops have been killed since Moscow's onslaught began last week, adding that over 200 soldiers were taken as prisoners of war.
A large number of Indians, including about 15,000 students, are stranded in Ukraine following Russia's attack on the eastern European country. A large number of students who were trying to flee the war-torn country have been sharing disturbing details of the ordeal they have been facing on the borders.
READ: Russia-Ukraine conflict | Indian students in Ukraine recount ordeal on Poland border, many not allowed to leave, others beaten up
Many students alleged that they were not allowed to cross into Poland while others said they were beaten up by the authorities at the Shehyni-Medyka border point connecting Ukraine with Poland.
The students revealed, through audio clips and videos seeking help, that they were specifically stopped at the border while trying to enter Poland. After repeated pleas, while some girls managed to cross the border into Poland, most of them were forced to return to their towns in freezing temperature, they said.
India is evacuating its people stranded in Ukraine through bordering Hungary, Poland, the Slovak Republic and Romania as the Ukrainian airspace was shut down following the Russian bombing of several cities, including the capital Kyiv.
The first evacuation flight, AI1944, bringing back 219 people from Bucharest to Mumbai landed on February 27 evening.