Ukrainian president asks India's Modi for UN Security Council support

Published February 26, 2022
A combination photo of  Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (R). — Reuters/File
A combination photo of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (R). — Reuters/File

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky asked Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday for “political support” at the United Nations (UN) after New Delhi abstained from a Security Council vote.

India is currently on the UN's top body but — along with China and the United Arab Emirates — did not vote on a resolution on Friday that deplored Russia's “aggression” against Ukraine and demanded the immediate withdrawal of its troops.

Russia vetoed the resolution using its power as a permanent member of the council.

In a Twitter post on Saturday, Zelensky said he had spoken with Modi and told him that “More than 100,000 invaders are on our land.”

“Stop the aggressor together!” he tweeted.

Despite being a democracy and a member of the Quad grouping with Australia, Japan and the US, India has neither explicitly condemned Moscow's actions, nor called them an invasion.

Instead it has repeatedly referred to “developments” in Ukraine.

India's foreign ministry released a statement later on Saturday, calling it a “conflict situation” and saying that Modi had “reiterated his call for an immediate cessation of violence and a return to dialogue”.

The Indian leader had also asked Ukrainian authorities — who are fighting a Russian assault on the capital Kyiv and other cities — for “facilitation ... to expeditiously and safely evacuate Indian citizens”, the statement added.

New Delhi and Moscow were close throughout the Cold War, a relationship that endures to this day — Putin visited India late last year in a rare overseas trip — with Russia by far India's biggest arms supplier.

Read: US, India cracks? Biden says talks on Russia 'unresolved'

Its position on events in Ukraine has raised concerns in Washington, with White House press secretary Jen Psaki telling reporters on Friday that “we continue to engage with the Indians”.

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