India sets up control room to help nationals based in Ukraine

India sets up control room to help nationals based in Ukraine

European Ambassadors in India attend solidarity event against ‘aggressive acts’

European Union will respond in a ‘united’ manner if Ukraine is subjected to aggression, said an official here on Wednesday. The comments came soon after a group of European Ambassadors attended an event in solidarity with Ukraine as India set up emergency helpline to assist and evacuate nationals based in Ukraine. 

“We stand by the basic principles that underpin European security, and if there is an aggressive act, we are prepared to respond. We have prepared a package of measures. Any action we take — which will be united action — will be severe and commensurate,” said the official ahead of External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar’s scheduled visit to Munich Security Conference where the tension between Russia and Ukraine is expected to dominate. Diplomats, however, emphasised that all efforts are being made to resolve the tension peacefully. 

“The military tension with Russia will be resolved peacefully. Diplomacy will prevail,” said Ambassador Igor Polikha of Ukraine addressing an event to mark the Day of Unity of Ukraine as per an announcement by President Volodymyr Zelensky. A number of India-based European diplomats attended the event expressing solidarity with Ukraine. Belgium’s Ambassador François Delhaye said Europe is not detached from the developments on Ukraine-Russia borders. 

“What is happening in Ukraine is not a matter for eastern Europe alone. It affects all of Europe. We cannot stay indifferent. Belgium is the capital of EU. Brussels — it is also where NATO is located. We want peace and development and we are pursuing this with diplomacy and firmness,” said Mr. Delhaye extending support to Ukraine. Adam Burakowski, Ambassador of Poland, also addressed the event and described Ukrainians as “brothers”.

“We support the territorial integrity of Ukraine. Poland will always be with Ukraine,” said Mr. Burakowski in the meeting which was also attended by the envoys of Georgia, Estonia, Lithuania among others. The military tension appeared to reduce a bit on Wednesday amid reports that Russia had begun to withdraw troops from Crimea following President Putin’s speech on Tuesday where he explained the Russian position. 

“Some of our troops are retreating after completing the military exercises. Confrontation is in the interests of those who want to limit the Russian–European cooperation, first of all in energy security, and divert attention from other problems,” said charge d’affaires of Russian Embassy Roman Babushkin who highlighted that the Russian “proposals on security guarantees” are a response to the “enhanced NATO and anti–Russian military activities in Europe and Ukraine, including targeted drills and deployment of nuclear capable missiles.”

In view of the simmering tension, India on Wednesday set up control rooms and emergency phone numbers for students and professionals based in Ukraine. Informed sources also said negotiations are under way to increase the number of flights to help in evacuating the Indian citizens.

Official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs Arindam Bagchi said the Indians and their relatives can reach out to the following numbers in case of requirement.

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