Speaking inside the aircraft, the minister ‘welcomed home’ the returnees in four regional languages, namely Malayalam, Bengali, Gujarati, and Marathi.
The video was shared by news agency ANI. Watch it here:
“Welcome back home! Your families are waiting with bated breath. So I won’t take much time. we are grateful that our preayers have been heard. You have shown exemplary courage in the most challenging of times. Let’s thank the flight crew as well,” Irani said, followed by a ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ as she received cheers from the people occupying the passenger seats.
Nearly 16,000 Indian students are stranded in Ukraine still. A total of 1,377 citizens were brought back to India in the last 24 hours. “Six flights have now departed for India in the last 24 hours, includes the first flights from Poland. Carried back 1,377 more Indian nationals from Ukraine,” Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar tweeted.
After the Indian embassy in Ukraine urged nationals to flee the Kyiv on Tuesday, citizens swiftly moved out either in trains or by making other arrangements. Harsh Vardhan Shringla, India Foreign Secretary, told the media that no Indian is left behind in Kyiv.
Evacuation operations in Ukraine are being conducted by Operation Ganga. Operation Ganga will see 26 flights being operated between India and Ukraine over the next three days. However, since the Ukrainian airspace is closed, these flights will have to be run from airports in Romania, Hungary, Poland and the Slovak Republic.
Indian students in Ukraine have been desperately seeking evacuation. Videos circulating on social media show Indians in difficult conditions at railway stations, border posts and bunkers, NDTV reported.