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Students didn't want to leave, as universities refused to conduct online classes: MoS Muraleedharan on Ukraine crisis

Pune (Maharashtra): Refuting reports of delaying the evacuation of stranded Indians in Ukraine, the Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said that the students did not want to leave Ukraine as universities refused to conduct online classes. Speaking to reporters here, Muraleedharan on Wednesday said: "Allegations that we were late to initiate evacuation of our students are not right. Students didn't want to leave as universities were not ready to conduct online classes. We released our first advisory before February 24 for students to leave Ukraine." Union Minister of State for External Affairs also informed that out of the 20,000 Indians stuck in Ukraine, over 6,000 people have been brought back to India so far and the Centre is making all efforts to bring back the remaining. Speaking to reporters here, Muraleedharan said, "Around 20,000 Indians were stuck in Ukraine. Of these, 4000 people returned by February 24. Till yesterday, over 2000 more people have returned. We are trying to bring back the remaining Indians via Romania, Poland Hungary, Slovakia and Moldova."Muraleedharan interacted with parents of students who are stranded in several parts of Ukraine and updated them on the Government's rescue operations under Operation Ganga. Three IAF aircraft have been sent to Romania and Hungary since this morning to evacuate Indians stranded in Ukraine. One more is scheduled for Poland later today. "The evacuation operation will run round the clock. Relief materials are also being sent. The operation is underway in coordination with MEA," Vice Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Sandeep Singh said today. IAF has deployed C-17 aircraft as part of the evacuation efforts in coordination with the Ministry of External Affairs under 'Operation Ganga'. This comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a high-level meeting on Tuesday to review the efforts to bring back Indians stranded in Ukraine and asked the Indian Air Force to join the evacuation efforts under 'Operation Ganga'.

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