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Ukraine ‘dissatisfied’ with India’s stand on Russia invasion, ‘pleads’ to Modi to talk to Putin

Ambassador Igor Polikha Thursday said India can use its ‘good offices’ with Russia to ‘make Putin stop’. External Affairs Minister Jaishankar speaks to EU on de-escalation efforts.

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New Delhi: Ukraine has said that it is “deeply dissatisfied” with the position India has taken on the crisis unfurling between Moscow and Kyiv. The country’s envoy to India, Igor Polikha, urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday to speak to Russian President Vladimir Putin, stressing that the situation will also adversely impact all countries in the region, including India.

“India was at the inception of NAM (Non-Aligned Movement)… We have been following statements by India. We are deeply dissatisfied with India’s position,” Ambassador Polikha told reporters gathered outside the embassy in New Delhi Thursday, as Putin announced a special military operation in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.

He added that India can use its “good offices” with Russia to “make Putin stop”, adding that India’s “strong voice” can help prevent what he believed is a “regional conflict” which can engulf the “whole world”.

India has, since the beginning of the month, been urging restraint by all parties and calling for “constructive diplomacy” in order to resolve the escalating tensions, which have now transformed after Putin’s announcement.

So far, the Modi government has not issued any official reaction on Putin’s announcement. However, Thursday afternoon, External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar tweeted that he had received a call from the European Union’s (EU) foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, during which “the grave situation in Ukraine” and “how India could contribute to de-escalation efforts” was discussed.

Also Read: Why Donetsk & Luhansk, Ukraine’s rebel territories recognised by Russia, matter

‘Pleading for India’s support’

At the embassy, Polikha said Ukraine is “asking, pleading for India’s support”. 

“India is a powerful, global player… India should fully assume its global power. Modi ji is a respected leader. India has a privileged partnership with Russia. Don’t know how many leaders Putin will listen to, but it makes me believe that Modi’s powerful voice will make him listen,” the Ukrainian envoy added.

Polikha also said that the Ukrainian army is not as “feeble” as it was in 2014 when Crimea was taken away from Ukraine by Russia.

“We are not the 2014 army that was feeble. The situation has drastically changed. Ukraine is not in panic, it will defend itself,” he said, adding, “We are ready to defend our full territorial integrity. A conflict should not be allowed to escalate to a war.”

“If the largely peaceful Europe (since WWII) allows a slip, it will set an awful example for many other more conflict-ridden regions globally. We can’t afford it. The world must speak in one voice against war,” he further said.

The Ukrainian state border service said Thursday that Russian forces have attacked their country through its Russian, Belarusian and Crimean borders.

Situation highly tense & very uncertain: Indian envoy to Ukraine

The Union Ministry of External Affairs has called for a series of high-level meetings as it plans contingency measures to evacuate Indian nationals from Ukraine.

On Thursday, an Air India rescue flight was turned back to Delhi by Ukraine after Kyiv shut down its airspace.

Indian Ambassador to Ukraine Partha Satpathy issued a letter urging Indian nationals not to panic, but in his letter said that the situation in Ukraine is “highly tense and very uncertain”.

“The air space is closed, railway schedules are in flux and roads are crammed. I would request everyone to stay calm and face the situation with fortitude. The Embassy continues to remain open and operate in Kyiv,” the letter further said.

(Edited by Gitanjali Das)

Also Read: Ukraine crisis: Russia ‘hopes’ sanctions don’t impact S-400 & other defence projects with India


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