The Indian
government, on Thursday, removed pandemic-related air bubble curbs in flights
between India and Ukraine. The decision comes after an escalation in tensions
in the former Soviet colony which the US and other Western nations believe may
be heading towards an invasion. Indians, especially students, living in Ukraine
have been asked to leave the country amid rising threats from Russia.

On Thursday, India’s
Ministry of Civil Aviation removed restrictions on flights and seats in air
bubble arrangement. Any number of flights and charter flights can now operate,
the ministry said in a statement.

An air bubble
arrangement is made between two nations under which international carriers may
operate within respective territories.  

The decision comes
after the Indian embassy in Ukraine received reports that people seeking to get
out of the country are having trouble obtaining flight tickets.

“Embassy of India
has been receiving several appeals about non-availability of flights from
Ukraine to India. In this regard, students are advised not to resort to panic,
but book the earliest and convenient flights to travel to India,” the Indian
embassy in Kyiv tweeted Wednesday.

The Indian embassy
further wrote that more flights are being planned between India and Ukraine. The
number of Indian students in Ukraine is estimated to be nearly 18,000,
according to media reports.

Earlier this week,
the Indian embassy in Ukraine issued an advisory asking Indian nationals to
keep the embassy informed about the status of their presence in the country.

Also Read | EXPLAINER: What are the key parts of Ukraine’s peace deal?

Tensions between
Russia and Ukraine have been rising for several months now. While Ukraine says
it is wary of an invasion, Russia remains steadfast that the military action it
has taken is owing to security concerns. Russia has sought several guarantees
from the US-led Western bloc in exchange for a de-escalation in Ukraine,
including a promise to not make Ukraine a part of the North Atlantic Treaty
Organization (NATO).