India is sending humanitarian aid, including medicines, to war-hit Ukraine at the request of Ukraine’s Ambassador to India, Igor Polikha, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Monday.
Briefing mediapersons here, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, “India is sending humanitarian aid (to Ukraine.”
He also said that India has decided to send four Union ministers to the neighbouring countries of Ukraine to help evacuate Indian citizens stuck at various border areas.
Bagchi said: “Four Union ministers are going to four countries near Ukraine to help in the evacuation of the Indian students who are stuck there.”
According to the spokesperson, Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia will travel to Romania and Moldova; Kiren Rijiju will be at the border with Slovakia; Hardeep Singh Puri will be at the Hungary border; while former Army chief General V.K. Singh will be in Poland.
They are going as special envoys of Indians to help evacuate those who are stuck on various borders.
Under ‘Operation Ganga’, India is bringing back students who are stuck in the conflict zones as well as in non-conflict zones in Ukraine.
The decision to send four ministers to oversee smooth evacuation was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narender Modi.
Replying to a query over students being asked to pay exorbitant amounts for evacuation, the spokesperson dismissed it as rumour and said: “No one is paying any money for these evacuation flights. The government is not changing any money to bring them back.”
He also stated that till now, six evacuation flights have landed in India with almost 1,386 Indian nationals.
A flight from Budapest landed earlier on Monday with 240 Indians. It is estimated that when Operation Ganga was launched, around 15,000 Indians were left in Ukraine.
After Ukraine closed its airspace, India identified four land evacuation points through Poland, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia.
Talking about military help in evacuation like what happened in Afghanistan, Bagchi said the situation is different in Ukraine as compared to Afghanistan when India had sent military aircraft to evacuate Indians after Afghanistan was taken over by Taliban forces in August last year.
“We are evacuating through commercial flights and we are open to using military aircraft if the need arises. Sending military aircraft there involves more countries,” he added.