An Air India plane, which flew to Kiev in Ukraine on Thursday morning to bring back Indians from the Eastern European nation, is returning to Delhi due to the closure of Ukrainian airspace amid Russian military strikes.
After an Air India flight took off from Delhi on Thursday morning, Ukrainian authorities issued a NOTAM (Notice to Airmen), stating that civil aircraft flights within Ukraine are “restricted due to the potential threat to civil aviation”. “. Air India and the central government then decided to recall the plane back to Delhi, officials said, adding that the plane almost took a turn in Iranian airspace to return to Delhi. An airline spokesperson said Air India flight AI 1947 is coming back as NOTAM has been issued in Kiev.
The flight to Kiev’s Boryspil International Airport started at around 7.30 am from Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) here. Meanwhile, a Ukraine International Airlines flight from Kiev landed at the Delhi airport at around 7.45 am on Thursday. Anju Varia, director of STIC group, said, “There were 182 Indian nationals in the flight and most of them were students. Few more flights have been scheduled.” The Group is the General Sales Agent (GSA) for Ukraine International Airlines in India.
Dissatisfied with India’s stand: Ukraine’s envoy
Ukraine is “deeply dissatisfied” with India’s position on the crisis triggered by the Russian military offensive, Ambassador Igor Polikha said on Thursday and sought New Delhi’s support in de-escalating the situation. He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is one of those whom President Vladimir Putin listens to and New Delhi can use its proximity to Moscow to bring about peace. His remarks came a day after the deputy chief of the Russian mission, Roman Babushkin, said India is playing an important role as a responsible global power and it takes a “free and balanced” approach to world affairs. agencies
Stay safe wherever you are: Embassy of India
People’s movement in Ukraine is now difficult and those hearing air sirens and bomb warnings should find nearby bomb shelters, the Indian embassy in Kiev said in a fresh advisory to Indians there. “We know that air sirens/bomb warnings are being heard in some places. If you encounter such a situation, Google Maps has a list of nearby bomb shelters, many of which are located in underground metros,” it said. “While the mission is identifying possible solutions to the situation, please be aware of your surroundings, stay safe, do not leave your homes unless necessary and carry your documents with you at all times.”
India in search of alternative routes
India on Thursday was strengthening contingency plans, including activating alternate air routes to evacuate its citizens from Ukraine. “The focus is on the safety of Indians, especially the students,” a foreign ministry source said. An estimated 15,000 Indians are in Ukraine. The helpline numbers of the Indian Embassy in Kiev are: +38 0997300483/428, +38 0933980327, +38 0635917881, +38 0935046170.
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