The first batch of students to return home to Kerala after Russia invaded its smaller neighbour, they were received by relieved family members and government officials at the airports in the State.
Fifty-six students arrived via New Delhi and 26, via Mumbai, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s office said. The students, almost of them pursuing their medical courses in Ukranian universities, expressed relief at having reached home safely, but said others were still stranded in Ukraine, awaiting evacuation.
On Saturday, the State government had announced free air tickets for them to Kerala from Mumbai and New Delhi. During the course of Sunday, they landed at the Kozhikode, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram airports.
Two evacuation flights operated by Air India which arrived in New Delhi on Sunday morning had 56 Keralite students on board. Seats were found for them on board flights to Kochi, Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram.
Twenty-five students arrived in Thiruvananthapuram on board two evening flights from New Delhi and Mumbai which arrived via Chennai and Hyderabad.
Industries Minister P. Rajeeve was present at the Cochin International Airport and Ministers V. Sivankutty, G. R., Antony Raju and NORKA Roots vice chairman P. Sreeramakrishnan at the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport to receive the students.