• Stranded Indian students evacuated from Ukraine by flight IAF C-17
  • A dog was greeted by Indian Union Minister Gen. V.K. Singh at boarding
  • Indian government allows movement of pets across borders as an exception

The pet dog of an Indian student stranded in war-torn Ukraine was evacuated by flight IAF C-17 which took off from Poland's Rzeszow on Wednesday for New Delhi with a total of 208 evacuees on board.

In a heartwarming video posted on Twitter, Indian Union Minister Gen. V.K. Singh was seen welcoming the student and their furry four-legged friend as they boarded the plane.

The dog, Neela, belonged to Yukta, a student in Ukraine from the western Indian city of Pune. "Some of the evacuees brought their four-legged best friends as well," Singh, who shared the video, wrote in the description. "Good to have all of our #IndianStudents aboard on the@IAF_MCC C-17 Globemaster ready to return to the safety of our motherland."

The IAF C-17 joined Operation Ganga, a humanitarian assistance program launched by the Indian government to evacuate 15,000 stranded nationals from Ukraine as Russian invaders continue raining down missiles and bombs on innocent civilians.

The evacuation flights are currently operating out of major cities in neighboring countries, including Bucharest in Romania, Budapest in Hungary, as well as Poland and Slovakia due to the closure of Ukrainian airspace.

A total of 1,156 Indians have been evacuated so far as part of Operation Ganga, according to The New Indian Express.

Another flight from Poland with approximately 800 evacuees from Ukraine is scheduled to land at the Hindon airbase in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh on Thursday.

Indian students who refused to leave their pets behind heaved a sigh of relief after the Indian Ministry for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, and Dairying relaxed the rules, allowing the movement of their pets across borders as a one-time exception.

"Considering unique and extraordinary situations on war-hit Ukraine wherein pre-expert requisite formalities for export of pets into India may not be fulfilled, the import of pet dogs and/or pet cats along with stranded Indians being rescued by the Government of India is being facilitated as a one-time relaxation measure," the ministry said in a statement, according to The Quint.

Singh is currently overseeing and coordinating rescue efforts carried out by the Indian Air Force officials. He had posted another video of himself sharing some light moments with Indian students in Budomierz at the Poland-Ukraine border on Wednesday.

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