New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke on telephone on Thursday (February 23) with Russian President Vladimir Putin. President Putin briefed Prime Minister about the recent developments regarding Ukraine. The Prime Minister reiterated his long-standing conviction that the differences between Russia and the NATO group can only be resolved through honest and sincere dialogue. Prime Minister Modi also appealed for an immediate cessation of violence and called for concerted efforts from all sides to return to the path of diplomatic negotiations and dialogue.
Modi also sensitised the Russian President about India’s concerns regarding the safety of the Indian citizens in Ukraine, especially students, and conveyed that India attaches the highest priority to their safe exit and return to India. The leaders agreed that their officials and diplomatic teams would continue to maintain regular contacts on issues of topical interest.
When discussing the situation around Ukraine, Vladimir Putin outlined the principal assessments of Kiev’s aggressive actions against the civilian population of Donbass, as well as the long-term destructive policy aimed at scrapping the Minsk agreements. In these circumstances, as well as in connection with the unacceptable military development of Ukraine by the United States and its NATO allies for Russia, it was decided to launch a special military operation, Putin informed.
According to reports, Modi thanked for the explanations and asked for assistance in ensuring the safety of Indian citizens currently in Ukraine. The Russian President said that the necessary instructions will be given. Some issues of bilateral cooperation were touched upon in the context of the Russian-Indian summit held in December 2021 in New Delhi. It was agreed on further contacts at various levels.
Russian forces began military operations in the eastern part of Ukraine on Thursday (February 24) in the biggest attack by one state on another in Europe since World War Two. Ukraine reported columns of troops pouring across its borders from Russia and Belarus and landing on the coast from the Black and Azov seas, and missiles rained down. Russian President Vladimir Putin said his aim was to demilitarise and “denazify” Ukraine.
Earlier Foreign Secretary Harsh V Shringla had emphasised that at the Cabinet Committee Security meeting, PM Modi had stated that the topmost priority of the government is the safety and security of Indian nationals including students in Ukraine. “We will handle the evacuation with utmost precaution. Roadways have been mapped out to evacuate Indian nationals from Kyiv and reach safer places,” Shringla said. He added that a “number of steps have been taken to deal with the emerging situation in Ukraine. We started the registration of Indian nationals in Ukraine about a month ago. Based on online registration, we found that 20,000 Indian nationals were there.”