Air India is planning to operate two flights to the Romanian capital Bucharest on Friday to evacuate Indians stranded in Ukraine due to a Russian military offensive, senior government officials said.
Indian nationals who have reached the Ukraine-Romania border by road will be taken to Bucharest by officials of the Indian government so that they can be evacuated in the two Air India flights, they added. The Ukrainian airspace was closed for civil aircraft operations by the country’s authorities on Thursday morning and therefore, the evacuation flights are operating out of Bucharest.
The two Air India flights will depart from Bucharest on Saturday, the officials said. Air India did not respond to PTI’s request for comments on the development.
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Around 20,000 Indians — mainly students — are currently stranded in Ukraine, the officials noted. The distance between the Ukrainian capital Kyiv and the Romanian border is approximately 600 kilometres and it takes anywhere between eight and a half to 11 hours to cover the distance by road.
The distance from the Ukraine-Romania border to Bucharest is approximately 500 kilometres and it takes anywhere between seven to nine hours to cover the distance by road.
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Meanwhile, Ukraine’s nuclear energy regulatory agency says that higher than usual gamma radiation levels have been detected in the area near the decommissioned Chernobyl nuclear plant, after it was seized by the Russian military.
The State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate said Friday that higher gamma radiation levels have been detected in the Chernobyl zone, but didn’t provide details of the increase.