The Ministry of External Affairs on Friday set up camp offices in Lviv and Chernivtsi towns in western Ukraine to facilitate transit of Indians to Hungary, Romania and Poland, people familiar with the development said. It is learnt that the camp office in Lviv would be able to coordinate the evacuation of Indians to Poland and Hungary while the one at Chernivtsi would facilitate exit to Romania. The people cited above said additional Russian-speaking officials are being sent to these camp offices to coordinate the transit of the Indians from Ukraine.
"Officials there are assisting Indian citizens who reach these cities, and will facilitate their departure from Ukraine through adjoining border crossings," said a source. The sources said the first batch of Indian students has now left Chernivtsi for the Ukraine-Romania border. India is focusing on evacuating the Indians through Ukraine's land borders with Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Romania as the Ukrainian government closed the country's airspace following the Russian military offensive. Government officials said Air India is planning to operate two flights to Romanian capital Bucharest on Friday to evacuate some of the Indians. Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla had said on Thursday that there were around 20,000 Indians in Ukraine and of them, nearly 4,000 have returned to India in the last few days.
In a related development, the Indian embassy in Ukraine said efforts are on to evacuate the Indians through Romanian and Hungarian border crossings. In an advisory, the embassy said Indian teams are being deputed at the Chop-Zahony check post on the Hungarian border as well as at Porubne-Stret on the Romanian border around Chernivtsi in Uzhhorod. "In this difficult situation, the embassy of India requests Indians to continue to remain strong, safe and alert. The embassy is also working round the clock to support the Indian community in Ukraine," it said. "The government of India and the embassy are working to establish
evacuation routes from Romania and Hungary," it said. At a media briefing on Thursday night, Shringla said the government is according the topmost priority to the evacuation of Indians and that teams of Indian officials were on their way to the Zahony border post in Hungary, Krakowiec land border in Poland, Vysne Nemecke in Slovak Republic, and Suceava land border in Romania. "We have also asked some of our officers to go across and set up camp offices in Ukraine close to the border to the places we have identified --Lviv, which is close to Poland, and Chernivtsi which is close to Romania," he said.