- Sputnik International, 1920, 25.02.2022
Russia's Special Operation in Ukraine
On February 24, Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine, aiming to liberate the Donbass region where the people's republics of Donetsk and Lugansk had been living under regular attacks from Kiev's forces.

In a First, Indians Stuck in Ukraine Evacuated Through Russia

© AP Photo / Altaf QadriAn Indian student who was evacuated from Ukraine stands for a photograph with his family upon arrival at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, India, Friday, March 11, 2022
An Indian student who was evacuated from Ukraine stands for a photograph with his family upon arrival at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, India, Friday, March 11, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 16.03.2022
The Russian Ministry of Defence revealed on Tuesday that it has been able to evacuate 258,971 people from Ukraine since the start of the special military operation. It also said that 29,291 vehicles have been able to cross over into Russia from Ukraine since last month. Moscow says 7,070 people from 22 nations have yet to be evacuated from Ukraine.
Three Indian nationals stuck in Kherson region have been evacuated from Ukraine via Simferopol and Moscow, from where they flew back to India, the Indian Embassy in Moscow said on Tuesday.
The evacuation marks the first time since the beginning of the Russian military operation on 24 February that Indians have been evacuated through Russian territory.
The Indian announcement came on the same day that Russia’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced that it had taken “full control” over the Kherson region.
India’s External Affairs Minister (EAM) S. Jaishankar said in Parliament on Tuesday that New Delhi had evacuated 22,500 Indian citizens in total from the eastern European country since last month.
Jaishankar said that New Delhi’s “strategy” had been to take out these Indians, who were mainly students, through Ukraine’s western neighbours — Poland, Slovak Republic, Hungary, Romania and Moldova — from where they were flown back to India.
Ukrainian border guards  (File) - Sputnik International, 1920, 03.03.2022
Indian Students Fleeing Kharkov Accuse Ukrainian Forces of Threatening Them
The chief Indian diplomat said that some of these evacuation operations, like the one in Sumy, had been possible only after both Russian forces and Ukrainian fighters agreed to a “credible ceasefire”.

“This [ceasefire] finally materialised due to the personal intervention of the Prime Minister [Narendra Modi] himself with the Presidents of Ukraine and Russia,” Jaishankar said.

Jaishankar recalled that the plan to evacuate around 1,000 Indian students from Ukraine’s second largest city Kharkov through Russia couldn’t materialise as the region was the “epicentre of the conflict”.
“A team from our Embassy in Moscow had also been sent to the Russia-Ukraine border to facilitate the possible evacuation of Indian students through Belgorod and Kursk,” Jaishankar stated.
For its part, India has refused to budge to pressure from its US and Western partners to take sides in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. India has abstained from voting on a UN resolution which labelled Moscow as the “aggressor”.
“We have reiterated at the highest levels of our leadership to all parties concerned that there is no other choice but the path of diplomacy and dialogue,” Jaishankar said on Tuesday.
Russia has said that it would stop its military offensive - aimed at the "demilitarisation and denazification" of Ukraine - if Kiev enshrines a neutral status in its constitution and stops fighting back, Crimea is acknowledged as Russian territory; and the two Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk are recognised as independent states.
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