Nearly 200 Indians flown back from Ukraine as Russia launches surprise 'military operation'
- Four more had been scheduled between February 25 and March 6
- Explosions were heard in Mariupol in the eastern part of the country earlier today
- Many of those being flown back from Ukraine are medical students
"A special flight of Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) landed at Delhi Airport from Kyiv, at 7:45 am today, with 182 Indian citizens, including students," an airline official told news agency ANI.
This is the airline's first evacuation flight from Ukraine capital Kiev.
A second flight from Ukraine - an Air India plane - is expected to land later today, after it took off from the Boryspil International Airport in Kyiv.
According to ANI, the plane took off shortly before the Ukrainian government issued a NOTAM (notice to airmen) restricting the movement of civil/passenger flights within its airspace.
Earlier, on Tuesday around 240 Indians were flown back from Ukraine on an Air India Boeing aircraft. The flight took off from Kyiv and landed at the Delhi airport late that night. That was the first of four scheduled evacuation flights, with the others pencilled in for February 24 and February 26.
As many as four more had been scheduled between February 25 and March 6.
Many of those being flown back from Ukraine are medical students. The government has already issued multiple warnings to Indian nationals in Ukraine, urging them to leave as soon as possible.
Explosions were heard in Mariupol in the eastern part of the country earlier today, shortly after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a 'military operation', triggering fears of a full-blown armed conflict in the area that could pull in the major western powers.