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Russia-Ukraine crisis: First Air India flight takes off with 219 citizens

The airline will also operate other flights to the Romanian capital and Budapest, Hungary, to evacuate citizens



Photos: @DrSJaishankar/Twitter
Photos: @DrSJaishankar/Twitter
by

A Staff Reporter

Published: Sat 26 Feb 2022, 2:48 PM

An Air India flight took off from Bucharest on Saturday, carrying 219 Indians who had rushed across into Romania from Ukraine. The flight is expected to land in Mumbai at 6.30pm.

NDTV accessed videos and images from inside the aircraft. Rahul Shrivastava, India’s ambassador to Romania, is seen addressing the passengers in the aircraft, telling them to assure their friends back in Ukraine that the government would make all possible efforts to bring them back home.

“Whenever in life when things get difficult, remember this day, 26th February. Remember, everything will be fine,” he told the passengers.

Indian external affairs minister S. Jaishankar tweeted: “219 Indian nationals have taken off from Romania. Our teams are working on the ground round the clock. I am personally monitoring.” He said the government’s teams were working on the ground round the clock.

Air India’s second evacuation flight left Delhi just before noon on Saturday for Bucharest. The airline will also operate other flights to the Romanian capital and Budapest, Hungary, to evacuate Indians who have crossed over from war-torn Ukraine.

The Indian embassy in Ukraine has positioned its teams at check points including Chop-Zahony Hungarian border near Uzhhorod and Porubne-Siret Romanian border near Chernivtsi.

The embassy also said it was becoming increasingly difficult to help Indians who reach border checkpoints without prior intimation. "Staying in western cities of Ukraine with access to water, food, accommodation and basic amenities is relatively safer and advisable compared to reaching border checkpoints without being fully abreast of the situation," it said.

Indians were also advised to carry their passports, cash (preferably US dollars) and other essentials, besides their Covid-19 vaccination certificate to the checkpoints. “Print out Indian flags and paste prominently on vehicles and buses while travelling,” said the embassy.

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