Teams from the Indian embassies in Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Romania have been sent to posts located along their borders with Ukraine to facilitate the exit of Indians, the foreign ministry said on Thursday evening.

As Ukraine has closed its airspace for civilian aircraft following an attack from Russia, India is looking at evacuate its citizens from war-struck countries through land routes. About 20,000 Indians were living in Ukraine, of which 4,000 have already left the country.

At a press conference, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said that External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will speak to his counterparts in Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Romania. Jaishankar is also expected to speak to Ukraine’s foreign minister.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will speak to Russian President Vladimir Putin later on Thursday night, Shringla said.

“We will handle the evacuation with utmost precaution,” the foreign secretary said. “Roadways have been mapped out to evacuate Indian nationals from Kyiv and reach safer places.”

Shringla added that in a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security held earlier on Thursday evening, Modi asserted that the topmost priority of the government is the safety and security of Indian nationals including students in Ukraine.


Earlier on Thursday, India had urged its citizens travelling to Ukraine’s capital Kyiv to return to their cities temporarily after Russian forces unleashed an attack on the country on the orders of Vladimir Putin. India also asked its citizens in Ukraine to “maintain calm and remain safe”.

“Dear Indians in Ukraine, the present situation in Ukraine is highly uncertain,” an advisory from the Indian embassy in Kyiv said. “Please maintain calm and remain safe wherever you are, be it in your homes, hostels, accommodations or in transit.”

In another advisory issued on Thursday afternoon, the Indian embassy advised those living in areas where sirens and bomb warnings have been sounded, to move to “bomb shelters”. The Google Maps app has a list of such shelters, the advisory said.

The embassy also asked Indians living in Ukraine to carry their documents with them at all times.

Partha Satpathy, India’s ambassador to Ukraine, said the Indian government and the Indian embassy were working to find a solution to this “difficult situation.”

He said that those stranded in Kyiv should get in touch with friends, colleagues and other members of the community close by for temporary lodging. Satpathy said the embassy has already urged the Indian diaspora to assist and help those stranded.

Meanwhile, the Indian embassy in Ukraine has provided accommodation to nearly 200 students living in Kyiv

Earlier in the day, the Indian embassy said that special flights scheduled between New Delhi and Kyiv were cancelled as Ukraine has closed its airspace. It added that alternative arrangements were being made for the evacuation of Indian nationals.

There are around 20,000 Indians in Ukraine, according to Indian envoy to the United Nations, TS Tirumurti.

Earlier today, Russian forces fired missiles at several cities in Ukraine after President Vladimir Putin launched a “special military operation” at dawn, despite repeated warnings from world leaders that a war would bring a catastrophic loss of life. Explosions were audible in some of the country’s largest cities, including Kyiv, the capital.

In its advisory, the Indian embassy specifically asked those travelling to Kyiv to return to their cities temporarily, “especially towards safer places along the western bordering countries”.

On Thursday, a Ukraine International Airlines flight from Kyiv landed at the Delhi airport, PTI reported. Those on board were mostly students who returned after the Indian embassy in Kyiv issued multiple advisories on February 22 and February 20, asking them to leave Ukraine temporarily.

Tensions between Russia and Ukraine have been simmering for more than two months, with weeks of diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis failing. Russia has amassed more than 1,00,000 troops on its border with Ukraine.

The Kremlin had earlier consistently maintained that it has no plans to invade but has for long considered the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s eastward expansion an existential threat. In a televised address, Putin on Thursday repeated that Ukrainian membership of the United States-led Atlantic military alliance was unacceptable.