Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Saturday sought India’s political support at the UN Security Council to stop Russia’s military offensive against his country during a telephonic call with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who expressed New Delhi’s willingness to contribute towards peace efforts.
During the conversation, Modi conveyed India’s deep concern for the safety and security of its nationals in Ukraine and sought assistance in expeditious and safe evacuation of Indians from that country, Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said in a statement.
Modi expressed his deep anguish about the loss of life and property due to the ongoing conflict and reiterated his call for an immediate cessation of violence and a return to dialogue, it said.
Tweeting about his telephonic conversation with Modi, Zelenskyy said, "spoke with Indian Prime Minister @narendramodi. Informed of the course of Ukraine repulsing Russian aggression. More than 100,000 invaders are on our land. They insidiously fire on residential buildings. Urged India to give us political support in UN Security Council. Stop the aggressor together!”.The Modi-Zelenskyy talks came in the midst of the Russian military advancing towards Ukrainian capital city Kyiv and other prominent areas that prompted Zelenskyy to plead for immediate global support.
“President Zelenskyy briefed the Prime Minister in detail about the ongoing conflict situation in Ukraine. The Prime Minister expressed his deep anguish about the loss of life and property due to the ongoing conflict,” the statement said.
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, it said.
“The Prime Minister also conveyed India’s deep concern for the safety and security of Indian citizens, including students, present in Ukraine. He sought facilitation by Ukrainian authorities to expeditiously and safely evacuate Indian citizens,” the statement said.
India has been particularly concerned about the safety of nearly 16,000 Indians, mostly students, who are stranded in that country.
India is trying to evacuate its nationals through Ukraine’s land borders with Hungary, Poland and Slovakia as the Ukrainian government has closed the country’s airspace following the Russian military offensive.
The telephonic conversation between Modi and Zelenskyy came hours after Russia used its veto power to block a US-sponsored resolution at the UN Security Council that sought to deplore in the “strongest terms” Russian “aggression” against Ukraine.
India abstained from voting on the resolution but issued an ‘Explanation of Vote’ (EoV) that called for “return to the path of diplomacy” and sought immediate cessation of “violence and hostilities”.
“India is deeply disturbed by the recent turn of developments in Ukraine. We urge that all efforts are made for the immediate cessation of violence and hostilities,” India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador T S Tirumurti said in the country’s EoV in the Council.
Earlier Zelensky turned down an offer by the US for evacuating him from Kyiv, the Ukraine embassy in the UK tweeted.
“The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a ride,” Zelensky conveyed to the US, according to the embassy.On Friday, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar held a telephonic conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba.