MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said India is seeking safe passage for its citizens from both the Ukrainian and Russian authorities and clarified the fresh sanctions imposed on Russia and some of its leaders' post Feb 24 attack on Ukraine is not related to India.
New Delhi: "Operation Ganga carries on. 18 flights coming in today," tweeted External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar.
MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said a total of 18,000 Indian nationals had left Ukraine since the first advisory issued by India. Bagchi also said 30 flights till Thursday evening had brought 6400 Indians back to India.
'Operation Ganga' was launched to bring back citizens from Ukraine, which has come under unprecedented Russian military attack, precipitating a massive global crisis.
The MEA spokesperson also said India is seeking safe passage for its citizens from both the Ukrainian and Russian authorities. "We have been pressing all sides, both Russian and Ukrainian for the safe passage of our citizens. If the Russians have a solution to a corridor. That is great. That is the way to go but as I say we have some indications of a way out from southwest of Kharkiv. We took that. We are continuing to press all sides," he said, replying to a question during a special media briefing.
To a question on SWIFT sanctions, the MEA spokesman said, "Let us see the fine print. Let us see what exactly is happening then we will know how much it impacts us." He clarified the fresh sanctions imposed on Russia and some of its leaders' post Feb 24 attack on Ukraine is not related to India. "It is another country. If and how it impacts us. Then we will see. I have nothing to say at this point," he added.
SWIFT, which stands for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, is a messaging system that allows banks around the globe to securely and quickly communicate about cross-border payments. It is widely used. There are about 11,000 member banks in 200 countries and territories that use SWIFT.
In fact, Financial transactions of Indian banks with Russian lenders have come to an abrupt halt after the expulsion of some Russian banks from the Swift international financial messaging network.
Meanwhile, sources said all students coming from Ukraine must get vaccinated against COVID-19 immediately if not already done so.
In Kota in Rajasthan, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla arranged a call for the parents of a student, who thanked External Affairs Minister Dr Jaishankar for the safe evacuation of their daughter from Ukraine. "It is a very good effort of the central government that many Indian students are able to return home. For this we thank the government," the father of the student told Dr Jaishankar over the phone.
Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, who landed in Hungary to help smoother and faster evacuation of Indians, had an "excellent productive meeting" with Peter Szzijarto, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary.
Hungary has facilitated the repatriation of over 2000 students already and is helping Indians in every way, tweeted Mr Puri.
In the meantime, in response to media queries regarding reports of Indian students being held hostage in Ukraine, MEA spokesperson Bagchi said: "Our Embassy in Ukraine is in continuous touch with Indian nationals in Ukraine. We have not received any reports of any hostage situation regarding any student. We have requested support of the Ukrainian authorities in arranging special trains for taking out students from Kharkiv and neighbouring areas to the western part of the country."
He said the government of India has been coordinating effectively with the countries in the region, including Russia, Romania, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Moldova. "A large number of Indian nationals have been evacuated from Ukraine in the last few days. We appreciate the help extended by the Ukrainian authorities to make this possible," he said.