Ukraine crisis: IAF's 4 evacuation flights with 798 Indians land in Hindon airbase
New Delhi: The Indian Air Force said its four evacuation flights with 798 Indians from the Romanian capital Bucharest, Hungary's Budapest and Polish city Rzeszow landed at the Hindon airbase on Thursday morning.
Its first flight carrying 200 people from Bucharest landed at 1.30 am. The second flight brought back 210 Indians from Budapest on Thursday morning.
A little while after the second, the IAF's third evacuation flight arrived at the airbase from Rzeszow with 208 Indians.
"The fourth flight of the Indian Air Force C-17 from Bucharest landed at the Hindon airbase in Ghaziabad at 8:15 am. As many as 180 passengers, mostly students, were on board," the IAF noted in a statement.
All four IAF flights were conducted using C-17 military transport aircraft.
Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt was present at the tarmac to welcome back the evacuees, the statement noted.
"Today, the IAF is operating three more flights to various locations in the neighbourhood of Ukraine towards the effort," it mentioned.
India has been evacuating its citizens through special flights from Ukraine's western neighbours such as Romania, Hungary and Poland as the Ukrainian airspace has been shut since February 24 due to the Russian military offensive.
"The IAF C-17 heavy-lift transport aircraft have been extensively used for evacuation of stranded citizens of India in the recent past, most notably from Afghanistan.
"These aeroplanes have also been utilised to transport oxygen containers in large quantities during the COVID-19 outbreak last year," the IAF mentioned.
Four Union ministers have gone to Ukraine's western neighbours to facilitate the evacuation of Indian nationals.
Hardeep Singh Puri is in Hungary, Jyotiraditya Scindia is in Romania, Kiren Rijiju is in Slovakia and V K Singh is in Poland.