219 Indians stranded in war-torn Ukraine got some relief today as they journey back home to India on the first evacuation flight from Romania.
Thousands of Indians are still stuck in Ukraine as the Russian invasion rages for the third day, and many have made way to border points at Poland, Hungary and Romania, waiting to get evacuated.
In a video clip shared by news agency ANI, the Indian Ambassador to Romania Rahul Shrivastava can be heard reassuring Indians on the Air India flight. He was speaking through the flight's public address system during the last leg of the journey back to India.“Your relatives, friends and family will be waiting with open arms to welcome you… While you embrace your family and you are back in your motherland, you should also remember that you have your friends here waiting to be evacuated and you should tell them and assure them that the entire Government of India is working to get everyone back,” Shrivastava tells a quiet, masked up flight – mostly students.
#WATCH | "...Entire GoI is working day & night to evacuate everyone and our mission is not complete till we have evacuated the last person. Remember this day 26th Feb in your life...," Rahul Shrivastava, Indian Ambassador in Romania to the evacuated Indians from #Ukraine pic.twitter.com/Ro4pBGrB76
— ANI (@ANI) February 26, 2022
He adds: “Our mission is not complete till we have evacuated the last person out of Ukraine.”
“Whenever in life when things get difficult, remember this day. 26th February. When things are difficult, things are not moving, remember, everything will be fine,” he concludes and wishes everyone a safe journey.
The flight breaks out into claps and chant ‘Jai Hind’ after the Ambassador’s reassuring words.
The Air India flight with 219 citizens is on its way and is expected to land in Mumbai at around 6.30 pm. It was earlier supposed to land at 4pm.
Regarding evacuation of Indian nationals from Ukraine, we are making progress.
Our teams are working on the ground round the clock. I am personally monitoring.
The first flight to Mumbai with 219 Indian nationals has taken off from Romania. pic.twitter.com/8BSwefW0Q1— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) February 26, 2022
A second Air India flight is scheduled to land in Delhi later today.
Ukraine’s airspace has been shut for civil operations since Thursday hence all evacuation is being done through neighbouring countries.
India’s foreign ministry has set up camp offices in several cities to assist nationals with evacuation.Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday conveyed that India attaches the highest priority to the safe return of all Indians stranded in Ukraine, especially students.