A statement has been filed today by the Assistant Solicitor General before the Kerala High Court in the Writ Petition filed by the Kerala High Court Advocates' Association and parents of a student studying in Ukraine seeking repatriation of students from Kerala stranded in Ukraine.

On Monday, the Center had informed the Bench of Justice N. Nagaresh that the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) was in constant touch with the embassies of Ukraine and its neighbouring countries and that discussions have also been held with the Russian Ambassador on the issue of evacuating the students safely.

The statement filed on behalf of the Center states that around 20,000 Indian nationals were in Ukraine and most of them are pursuing studies in medicine. It is stated that around 4,000 Indian nationals returned to India by utilizing commercial flights.

The statement states that "Operation Ganga" under which the Indian nationals are being evacuated from Ukraine's neighbouring countries of Romania, Hungary and Poland is completely at government cost. It is stated that under "Operation Ganga", more than 2,000 Indian nationals have been brought back to India.

As per the statement, around 6,000 Indian nationals have already crossed the borders of Ukraine and are presently in the neighbouring countries of Romania, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Moldova. "These Indian nationals are being taken care of by the Government of India, at its cost, till they reach India under 'Operation Ganga' ", the statement says.

It is stated that an estimated 7000 to 8000 Indian nationals remain in Ukraine, mainly in the east of the country, for which efforts are being made by the government to bring them back as soon as possible.

"The Embassy of India in Kyiv arranged place on the trains for Indian nationals after taking up the matter with the local authorities. This helped in moving out most of the Indian nationals out of Kyiv to the relatively safer western borders of Ukraine from where they will cross the borders with the neighbouring countries and then will be brought back to India by the "Operation Ganga" flights", says the statement.

As per the statement, "The Union Minister for External Affairs has also spoken to Foreign Ministers of Russia, Ukraine, Romania, Poland, Hungary, Slovak Republic and Moldova. In addition to the Passenger flights, Indian Air Force Flights are also being sent to these countries including 2 flights to Romania and 1 flight each to Poland and Hungary on 2nd March for evacuation. More IAF flights would also be sent in coming days".

The Center says that it is advisable for Indian students to stay wherever they are for safety. "The situation in Kharkiv is volatile and under heavy shelling. It is advisable for our students to stay put wherever they are for their physical safety. As and when the situation improves, the students in Kharkiv will be evacuated on priority in a suitable manner".

It is stated that the Government of India is in touch with the students and their families through 24x7 Control Rooms set up in the Ministry as well as helplines established by our Embassies in Kyiv and in neighbouring countries of Poland, Romania, Slovak Republic and Romania.

The Center has sought dismissal of the Writ Petition and says that it is taking all necessary measures for repatriation of the Indians in general, and students in particular.

Click here to read/download the Statement