Students evacuated from Sumy returning to India on Friday Jaishankar

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New Delhi, March 11

 External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said stranded Indian students who were evacuated from the besieged Ukrainian city of Sumy are returning to India on Friday.

Taking to Twitter, Jaishankar said the evacuation of the students from Sumy "was particularly challenging".

"Operation Ganga, undertaken at the direction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has delivered due to both leadership and commitment.

"We are thankful to all those who facilitated its objectives. Our particular gratitude to the authorities in Ukraine and Russia as well as the Red Cross for the evacuation assistance," the Minister said.

The neighbouring countries of Ukraine — Romania, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Moldova — "gave us exceptional support" during the evacuation, Jaishankar said, conveying his "sincerest thanks" to the nations.

"We are grateful to NGOs, individual volunteers, corporates, our airlines and the Indian Air Force who worked so tirelessly in this exercise."

Referring to the "contributions of his four ministerial colleagues, Jyotiraditya M. Scindia, Kiren Rijiju, Hardeep Singh Puri, and General (Retd.) V.K. Singh", Jaishankar said that their "presence on the ground made a big difference".

The Minister also lauded the "efforts of the Indian Embassy in Ukraine and Team MEA (Ministry of External Affairs) for their dedicated efforts in a difficult conflict situation".

On Tuesday, the Indian students from Sumy were evacuated and transported to Poltava via a humanitarian corridor. The following day, they were sent to Lviv and from there they crossed into Poland on Wednesday and Thursday.

They will arrive in India aboard three flights, including the Indian Air Force's C-17 Globemaster.

Sumy, a city in northeastern Ukraine, has come under heavy shelling and bombing by Russia which began its military invasion of Kiev on February 24.

Nearly 700 hundred Indian students were stuck in the city amidst the Russian attacks.

On Tuesday, Russia and Ukraine announced a ceasefire and provided a humanitarian corridor.

The previous day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to the Presidents of Russia and Ukraine and requested them to provide a safe passage to evacuate the remaining Indian nationals.


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