One hundred and thirty buses are ready to evacuate stranded Indian students and other foreigners from war-torn Ukraine's Kharkov and Sumy cities to Russia's Belgorod Region, a top Russian military general said on Thursday.
The remarks by Russian National Defence Control Center head Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev comes a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin and discussed the safe evacuation of Indians from the conflict areas in Ukraine.
Approximately 8,000 Indians, mainly students, are stranded in Ukraine, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla had said on Tuesday.
"A total of 130 comfortable buses are ready to depart to Kharkov and Sumy from the Nekhoteyevka and Sudzha checkpoints in the Belgorod Region since 6 AM today in order to Rescue Indian students and citizens of other foreign states," Colonel-General Mizintsev was quoted as saying by the state-owned TASS news agency.
Mizintsev said that places for temporary accommodation and rest have been set up at the checkpoints. The refugees will be provided with hot meals; mobile clinics have also been set up there with a stockpile of medicine, he said.
"The evacuees will be then transported to the city of Belgorod for subsequent departure to their homeland by air, including via Russian military airplanes,” the General said.
On Thursday, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi in New Delhi said India has been coordinating effectively with the countries in the region including Russia, Romania, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Moldova for evacuation of Indians from Ukraine.
India has been evacuating its citizens through special flights from Ukraine's western neighbours such as Romania, Hungary and Poland as the Ukrainian airspace has been shut down since February 24 when Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a special military operation in Ukraine.
India had asked Russia to facilitate the safe passage of Indians from various conflict zones after the killing of an Indian student in shelling in Kharkiv (Kharkov) on Tuesday.