Control room set up to help Indians in Ukraine
New Delhi: The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Wednesday set up a control room to provide information and assistance to Indian nationals in Ukraine in view of the prevailing situation in that country over its tensions with Russia.
In addition, the Indian embassy in Ukraine has also set up a 24-hour helpline for the Indians in the eastern European nation.
Separately, the Indian embassy in Kyiv said it has been receiving calls about the non-availability of flights from Ukraine to India and advised Indians not to panic, but book the earliest available and convenient flights to travel home.
"The embassy of India has been receiving several appeals about non-availability of flights from Ukraine to India. In this regard, students are advised not to resort to panic, but book the earliest available and convenient flights to travel to India," it said in a statement.
It said the Ukrainian International Airlines, Air Arabia, Fly Dubai and Qatar Airways are operating flights at present from Ukraine.
"To meet the additional demand, more flights are being planned in the near future, including from Ukrainian International Airlines, Air India, etc. Details on the same would be shared by Embassy as and when confirmed," the embassy said.
The embassy on Tuesday advised Indian citizens, especially the students, to temporarily leave that country in view of the uncertainties of the current situation. It also asked Indian nationals to avoid all non-essential travel to and within Ukraine.
The MEA said a control room has been set up in the ministry to provide information and assistance. The contact details of the control room in Delhi are: Phone +91 11 23012113, +91 11 23014104, +91 11 23017905 and 1800118797 (toll free). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The contact details of the helpline in the Indian embassy in Ukraine are: Phone, +380 997300428 +380 997300483, Email: email@example.com.
Official sources said the government is exploring the possibility of increasing the number of flights between India and Ukraine to facilitate the return of Indians from that country.
Discussions are underway with civil aviation authorities and various airlines on how to increase the number of flights between India and Ukraine, the sources said. According to an official document in 2020, Ukraine had a small but vibrant Indian community and there were about 18,000 Indian students studying in that country. The data is likely to vary in view of the pandemic.
The embassy issued the advisory amid escalating tension between Moscow and the NATO countries over Russia's increasing military build-up close to the Ukrainian border.
The US has already sent extra troops to Europe to support its allies in the backdrop of fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russia has positioned around 100,000 troops near its border with Ukraine besides sending warships into the Black Sea for naval exercises, triggering concerns among the NATO countries about a potential invasion of Ukraine.
Russia has been denying that it plans to invade Ukraine. It withdrew some of its forces from the border on Tuesday.