Russia-Ukraine Crisis: Evacuees Breathe A Sigh Of Relief Upon Returning Home


Amid the war-like situation between Russia and Ukraine, India has been evacuating its citizens through special flights from Romania, Hungary and Poland as the Ukrainian airspace has been shut down since February 24.

For one such evacuee, Siya Das, 19, it was a perilous journey from strife-torn Chernivtsi in western Ukraine through Bucharest in Romania and onto Mumbai. However, even after landing safely at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA), her journey was far from over. She still had another 2,700 kilometres to cover to reach her hometown in Guwahati.

Recalling her experience, Siya shared, “My landing in Mumbai from the war-ravaged country was a great relief. During my flight, I was preparing myself in my head for the next course of action once I landed. I saw real heroes working silently and helping fellow Indians with all their means with no strings attached. Mine was a long tiring journey but the pride of being an Indian is at its peak.”

Siya is one of the over 500 Indians who have arrived in Mumbai. There were also a few who came to India with their furry friends after the compassionate decision to include companion animals in the evacuation was announced.

Supriya Kumar, 23, a medical student who came to India with her one-year-old pet dog Coco, shared, “I will always be indebted to the authorities who ensured that Coco accompanied me. With relaxed measures, the airport authorities extended their thorough support allowing me to come back home with my pet.”

Narrating another ordeal, Anushka Choudhary, 21, a medical student, said, “From crossing the Ukrainian-Romania border, reaching the airport in Bucharest, to catching our flight, everything felt very uncertain and scary, till the aircraft took off. We were pleasantly surprised when we landed in Mumbai as the arrangements felt like a homecoming. The airport authorities also arranged onward flights for me and many others.”

From Union ministers going to Ukraine’s neighbours to energize and oversee the evacuation of Indians through its border crossings to the pilots flying them back home, the airports had to ready themselves to make it easy for fellow citizens after all that they had to face. A special corridor was blocked at the terminal of CSMIA for Indian students who had been flown home from Ukraine.

The youngest returned from the war zone so far was a baby boy all of 25-days-old. However, his entry wasn’t that smooth for he lacked an essential thing—a passport. “How do we go about getting a passport where things are so volatile when you have bullets and missiles flying all over the place. We managed to get on board the flight but when we arrived, we found that this was a problem,” shared Kuntart Makwana, 28, upon his arrival to India.

However, Mumbai Airport officials stepped in to ensure that the little one didn’t face further hassles. A CSMIA spokesperson said, “Only when we thought we were fully prepared for the smooth arrival of every Indian who was coming back, came a little baby without the necessary documentation. Our hearts went out to the little boy, and we did everything in our capacity to make it easy for the parents and the newborn while they were in discussion with the Immigration team. We also arranged for their stay, and we are delighted to inform you that the baby has safely reached his hometown, Ahmedabad.”

Also Read: Russia-Ukraine Crisis: District Control Room To Assist Mumbai Citizens, Students Stranded In Ukraine

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