India on Saturday said its main focus now is on the evacuation of around 700 Indian students stranded in the eastern Ukrainian city of Sumy which has been witnessing bombings and airstrikes. At a media briefing, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said India hopes to evacuate its citizens from Kharkiv and Pisochyn in the next few hours.
"Our main focus is now on evacuating Indian students from Sumy. We are exploring multiple options for their evacuation," he said. Bagchi also reiterated India’s call to Russia and Ukraine to go for a local ceasefire so that the Indians can be taken out of the conflict zones.
"Our challenge in the evacuation of the Indians from Sumy is ongoing shelling and violence and lack of transportation," Bagchi said. On the overall evacuation mission, he said over 13,300 people have been brought back home in 63 flights.
The spokesperson said 13 flights are scheduled for the next 24 hours to bring back Indians under 'Operation Ganga', the evacuation mission launched following a Russian military offensive in Ukraine.