FEBRUARY 26, 2022
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addresses the nation on live TV in Kyiv, earlier this week on Tuesday, barely days before Russia launched a massive military operation against the country. (AP PHOTO.)
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Saturday sought India’s support at the UN Security Council during a phone call with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who repeated his call for an immediate end to violence and return to dialogue.
The phone conversation was initiated by the Ukrainian side, and came two days after Modi spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin hours after he ordered the “special military operation” in support of the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk on Thursday.
Zelenskyy briefed Modi “in detail about the ongoing conflict situation in Ukraine”, and the prime minister expressed his “deep anguish about the loss of life and property due to the ongoing conflict”, the external affairs ministry said in a statement.
Modi “reiterated his call for an immediate cessation of violence and a return to dialogue, and expressed India’s willingness to contribute in any way towards peace efforts”, the statement said.
The prime minister conveyed India’s “deep concern for the safety and security of Indian citizens, including students, present in Ukraine”, and sought facilitation by Ukrainian authorities to “expeditiously and safely evacuate Indian citizens”.
There are close to 16,000 Indian nationals in Ukraine, most of them students, and India has begun evacuating them via neighboring countries such as Romania and Hungary following the closure of Ukraine airspace.
Zelenskyy said in a tweet that he had urged India “to give us political support in the [UN] Security Council”. He added: “Stop the aggressor together!”
He further said in the tweet that he had informed Modi “of the course of [Ukraine] repulsing [Russian] aggression”. He added, “More than 100,000 invaders are on our land. They insidiously fire on residential buildings.”
The statement from the Indian side made no reference to Russia, a close strategic and defence partner of India. People familiar with the matter said Saturday’s phone call should not be perceived as an effort by India to mediate between the two sides. They noted that India had relations with both countries and this was reflected in the prime minister’s conversations with the presidents of both Russia and Ukraine within the space of two days.
During his call with Putin, Modi had said the differences between Russia and NATO can only be resolved through sincere dialogue. He had also appealed for an immediate cessation of violence and sought concerted efforts from all sides to return to the path of diplomatic dialogue.
The Ukrainian side had requested a call to the prime minister even before the start of hostilities, apparently as part of efforts to seek support from key players, but the conversation couldn’t be arranged due to scheduling reasons.
Zelenskyy, who has emerged a popular face of Ukraine’s resistance with his social media posts and videos, had a busy day of calls with several world leaders on Saturday, including French President Emmanuel Macron and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. He also spoke to Swiss President Ignazio Cassis, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.
Courtesy/Source: Hindustan Times