As tensions between Russia and Ukraine persist with threat of Russian invasion on the former Soviet state, the Indian government on Wednesday urged citizens, especially students, in Ukraine not to panic over reports of people not getting flight tickets.
India's embassy in Ukraine said it has received several reports saying that people are not getting flights; however, it asked Indians living in Ukraine not to panic as more flights are being planned.
The embassy did not specify by when exactly the additional flights would be operational. It said details would be shared by the embassy "as and when confirmed." It also said that at present, Ukrainian International Airlines, Air Arabia, Fly Dubai, Qatar Airways etc. are operating flights.
"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 available and convenient flights to travel to India," the embassy said.
Meanwhile, Ministry of External Affairs of India spokesperson Arindam Bagchi tweeted out that amid the panic and tension, a control room has been set up at MEA India to provide information and assistance.
Russia has massed about 150,000 troops east, north and south of Ukraine, sparking Western concerns it was planning an attack. Moscow denies it has any such plans and this week said it was pulling back some forces and weapons, though it gave few details. Those claims have been met with skepticism from the US and its allies — even as they seemed to lower the temperature following weeks of escalating East-West tensions.
On Wednesday, the Russian Defense Ministry released a video showing a trainload of armoured vehicles moving across a bridge away from Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula that Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014. A day earlier, the ministry reported the start of a pullback of troops following military exercises near Ukraine.
But NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg threw cold water on those statements, saying the military organisation does not see any sign that Moscow is decreasing its troop levels in and around Ukraine.
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