New Delhi, Feb 27 (UNI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said that ensuring safety of Indian students stranded in Ukraine and their evacuation is the government’s top priority. The Prime Minister chaired a high level meeting today to discuss evacuation of stranded Indians from Ukraine. The meeting lasted for over two hours and it was discussed to further enhance cooperation with neighbouring countries of Ukraine to expedite evacuation, sources said. External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and other officials were present in the meeting. A presentation was made in the meeting before the Prime Minister on the country’s evacuation effort for stranded Indians in Ukraine so far. The PM chaired the meeting soon after he returned from Uttar Pradesh where he went for campaigning for the ongoing elections. Minutes after the Prime Minister’s meeting, Embassy of India in Poland announced to arrange 10 buses at Shehyni on the Ukraine side of the border that will take Indian citizens to other border checkpoints for transit entry into Poland. “The buses will be operational from 28th February, 2022 onwards and will drive through the other border checkpoints like Krakowiec and Budomierz, and will drive them to the residential accommodation nged the Embassy at Rszeszow, Poland. This will reduce the crowding at Shehyni and also provide Indian citizens a safe environment away from the cold,” said the advisory issued by the Embassy. The Prime Minister chaired the meeting amid reports which suggest that Ukrainian forces have mistreated Indian citizens at various Ukrainian borders. India has also set up a dedicated Twitter handle namely (@OpGanga) to assist in the evacuation of Indians from Ukraine. The handle is disseminating information for Indian citizens in Ukraine desiring to be evacuated via neighbouring territories along with the necessary dos and don’ts. The government has been operating special flights to evacuate Indian nationals from Ukraine via alternate routes as the fighting between the Russian and Ukrainian forces spread and intensified. “Wherever there is a crisis in the world, we have left no stone unturned to bring our citizens back safely. In Operation Ganga we are also bringing back thousands of Indians from Ukraine. The government is working day and night to bring those who are still there to their homes with full security,” the PM said addressing a rallies/" 1014 target="_blank">political rally in UP. Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said that under Operation Ganga, thousands of our citizens have been flown out of Romania and Hungary and another thousand have been evacuated from Ukraine through the land routes. “Thousand of students crossed over from Ukraine into zones conducive for their evacuation by air route back to India,” he said. India has set up 24×7 control centres to assist in the evacuation of Indian nationals through the border crossing points with Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovak Republic. As per the estimates, nearly 13 thousand Indians are still stranded in Ukraine. There are reports that many of them are hiding in conflict zones where the fighting between the Russian and Ukrainian forces has intensified. UNI ASU SHK0105

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