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Approximately 12,000 Indians have left Ukraine so far, Shringla

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New Delhi, Mar 1: An estimated 20,000 Indian citizens in Ukraine had left before Russia unvasion, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Tuesday said, stating 60 per cent have left the country since the first advisory was issued by the government.

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Approximately 12,000 have left Ukraine so far, Shringla

Addressing the media about the evacuation of Indians including students from Ukraine, he said India remains very concerned about the situation in Kharkiv and other areas which are currently in the conflict zone. "We had an estimated 20,000 Indian nationals in Ukraine at the time we issued our first advisory. Approximately 12,000 have left Ukraine so far, which means 60 per cent of the people have left the country. Of the remaining 40 per cent, roughly half remain in the conflict zone in Kharkiv and the other half have either reached the western border of Ukraine or are heading towards the western border. They are generally out of conflict areas," Shringla said as per ANI in a special briefing on 'Operation Ganga' to bring back Indian citizens from the conflict zone of Ukraine by the Ministry of External Affairs.

Talking about the high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Ukraine situation on Tuesday evening, Shringla said, "The meeting began with the expression of deep regret and condolence of the tragic death of India student Naveen Shekharappa who was studying in Ukraine. We remain very concerned about the situation in Kharkiv and other areas which are currently in the conflict zone," he said.

The Foreign Secretary he had called the Ambassadors of Russia and Ukraine and reiterated strongly India's demand for urgent safe passage for all Indian nationals."We have sent a team of our officers in our mission in Moscow to the border region of Russia adjoining. This team is currently in Belgorod which is not far from Kharkiv. The function of the team is to examine all the options in terms of the route out the accommodation for our people, the transportation option. Essentially the team is in place and ready to see whatever we can do to extract our students and citizen from the Kharkiv, Sumi area," he said. "Evacuation of Kharkiv is now our top priority," Shringla added.

According to him, 26 flights have been scheduled to bring out Indian citizens from 26 flights. "Apart from Bucharest and Budapest, airports in Poland and the Slovak Republic will also be used," he said.

Mentioning humanitarian assistance to Ukraine at the request of the Ukrainian Government, Shringla said, "A flight left this morning having the first tranche of humanitarian assistance to Ukraine through Poland. The consignment comprised of medicines, medical equipment and other relief materials." "Another flight tomorrow will carry the second consignment also through Poland and besides medicines, a number of other items are also there for humanitarian use in Ukraine," he said.

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