New Delhi: The world plunged into one of its serious crises in the new century after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine, provoking widespread global reactions and sanctions from most western powers, including the US.
The Indian government announced that it is closely monitoring the situation, and urgent "contingency plans" are being put into operation. A key government official said that alternate evacuation routes are being activated due to airspace closure.
"Additional Russian speaking officials have been sent to our Embassy in Ukraine and are being deployed in countries neighbouring Ukraine," the source maintained. It has been announced that the Indian Embassy in Ukraine is functional, and its advisories "should be followed carefully".
NATO has warned that Russian forces in Belarus could reach 30,000, including Speznaz special operations forces, SU-35 fighter jets, S-400 air defence systems, and Iskander missiles, which can carry nuclear weapons and have a range of 500 km.
According to western estimates, half of Russia's air force is now deployed near Ukraine, and Russian warships have been conducting training exercises in the Black Sea.
The Government of India on Thursday afternoon asserted that the fast-changing Ukraine situation is being monitored closely, and the focus as of now is on the safety of Indian nationals.
The source said, "We are closely monitoring the rapidly changing situation. Focus is on safety and security of Indians, particularly students."
The Ministry of External Affairs control room is being "expanded and made operational on 24×7 basis".
After Russian President Vladimir Putin authorised what he called a special military operation, Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said in a tweet that Russia had launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine and was targeting cities with weapons strikes.
Earlier in the day, some Indian nationals and students arrived at Delhi airport.
"We received a message about the emergency situation in Ukraine for about a month or so, the Indian embassy also advised us to take precautionary step, so we landed back home," said a 24-year-old student, who returned from Ukraine in the wake of Russia inspired conflict in that country.