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Smriti Irani receives stranded Indians, evacuated from Ukraine in special flight from Poland

New Delhi : Union Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Smriti Irani on Wednesday received the Indians who were stranded in Ukraine after they returned on a special flight from Poland. "Welcome back home! Your families are waiting with bated breath. You have shown exemplary courage...Let's thank the flight crew as well...," Irani told the students on the flight. Irani welcomed the students by speaking in regional languages on their return from war-torn Ukraine. "I am happy to be back in India. I hope other Indians are also evacuated soon. Operation Ganga is really helpful. I thank the Government of India," said Kumar who returned from Ukraine. Russian forces launched military operations in Ukraine on February 24, three days after Moscow recognized Ukraine's breakaway regions - Donetsk and Luhansk - as independent entities. Several countries, including the UK, the US, Canada, and the European Union, have condemned Russia's military operations in Ukraine and imposed sanctions on Moscow. These countries have also promised military aid to Ukraine to fight Russian forces. The US, Canada and European allies agreed to remove key Russian banks from the interbank messaging system, SWIFT, which means that they won't be able to communicate securely with banks beyond Russia's borders. President Putin has also signed a decree on special economic measures against the US and its allies. Fighting in Ukraine has so far pushed more than 500,000 people across the country's borders, according to the UN refugee agency. Speaking at an emergency session of the UN General Assembly on February 28, Russia's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Vasily Nebenzya, had said that Russia has no plans to occupy Ukraine. On February 28, negotiations between delegations of Russia and Ukraine were held in the Gomel Region of Belarus and another round of talks is scheduled for March 2.

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