A special Air India flight brought back 242 Indian nationals from crisis-hit Ukraine on Tuesday night. The plane took off from Ukraine’s capital Kyiv at 6 pm landed in Delhi at 11.40 pm, news agency PTI reported.
A video tweeted by news agency ANI showed the plane’s passengers flashing victory signs as they reached home.
"I am feeling happy to back in my country,” Anil Rapriya said, a 22-year-old medical student, told PTI. "I have just moved to India as Indian Embassy asked us to leave the country given the evolving situation in Ukraine.”
#WATCH | Air India special flight carrying around 242 passengers from Ukraine reaches Delhi pic.twitter.com/ctuW0sA7UY
— ANI (@ANI) February 22, 2022
The Russia-Ukraine conflict escalated on Monday as Russian President Vladimir Putin recognised Donetsk and Luhansk -- two separatist regions in eastern Ukraine -- as independent and ordered the deployment of troops there for “peacekeeping”.
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The United States and its allies criticised Russia’s actions, fearing that they could be a prelude to full-scale invasion.
Many countries have urged their citizens to leave Ukraine. India is operating special flights to evacuate its citizens from Ukraine.
The two other Air India flights are scheduled to fly to Ukraine on February 24 and February 26. The flights will operate to and from the Boryspil International Airport in Kyiv.
Bookings for the flights can be made through Air India booking offices, website, call centre and authorised travel agents, the airline said in a tweet.
The airline has deployed the Dreamliner B-787 aircraft, with a capacity to seat over 200 passengers, for the evacuation effort.
India has also removed the cap on number of Ukrainian flights under the current air bubble agreement to facilitate return of Indians from there.
(With inputs from ANI and PTI)