- Around 1,500 Pakistanis, including 500 students, are present in Ukraine
Pakistan's Ambassador to Ukraine Gen (retd) Noel Israel Khokhar said on Friday that the government was working to ensure the safe evacuation of all Pakistani nationals stranded in Ukraine, Radio Pakistan reported.
In this regard, the ambassador and Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Chief Executive Air Marshal (retd) Arshad Malik spoke on the phone. The PIA chief assured him of safe repatriation of all Pakistanis from Ukraine.
According to a PIA statement, the national airline has prepared a plan to evacuate Pakistani citizens stranded in the war-hit country.
As part of the plan, all Pakistani students have been advised to gather in Ternopil, from where the Pakistan's Embassy in Ukraine will transport them to Poland by land.
The statement said that the national carrier will operate special Boeing 777 flights to repatriate Pakistani citizens from Poland.
“Flight is being prepared, and will depart as soon as the students arrive in Poland,” the PIA CEO said in a statement.
Earlier, the ambassador confirmed that overall 1,500 Pakistanis, including 500 students, were present in Ukraine, adding that they have been advised to move to safe locations.
Meanwhile, Pakistan's Embassy in Ukraine said in a Twitter post that the airspace of Ukraine remains closed.
The embassy announced that it is in touch with the Pakistani students in Ukraine who could not leave earlier according to the advice given to them.
"As the situation improves, all Pakistani students should move to Ternopil to enable evacuation," the embassy tweeted.
The embassy confirmed that it was fully functional from Ternopil, Ukraine, and provided the contact details if anyone needed to get in touch.
Later, another statement by the embassy said that all Pakistanis in the country were safe.
"The embassy has already gathered 35 Pakistani students in Ternopil and soon they will be evacuated. Other Pakistani students are being transported to Ternopil and will be evacuated at the earliest.
"The capital city, Kyiv, is under attack and Ambassador Dr Noel I. Khokhar has advised all students to follow the guidelines so that they may be transported to Ternopil for onward evacuation," the statement said.
The embassy continued that the students will be evacuated to Poland, adding that it was in close contact with other Pakistan embassies in Romania and Hungary as well as Poland.
Russia launched its invasion by land, air, and sea on Thursday following a declaration of war by President Vladimir Putin, in the biggest attack on a European state since World War Two.
Missiles pounded the Ukrainian capital on Friday as Russian forces pressed their advance and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy pleaded with the international community to do more, saying sanctions announced so far were not enough.