Modi pitches for direct talks between Putin and Zelenskyy

By Shweta Aggarwal

Leveraging India’s good equations with the two warning nations, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to the leaders of Russia and Ukraine and urged them to have direct talks to end the conflict that has unleashed a full-blown humanitarian crisis.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi held telephonic talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on March 7 for around 50 minutes and discussed the status of negotiations between Kiev and Moscow and the speedy evacuation of Indian students stuck in the war zone in Sumy.

President Putin briefed PM Modi on the status of negotiations between the Ukrainian and Russian teams. PM Modi urged the Russian leader to hold direct talks with Ukraine President Zelenskyy and resolve the crisis that has killed hundreds of people and wounded thousands. PM Modi expressed his appreciation over the announcement of the ceasefire and the humanitarian corridors in parts of Ukraine including Sumy. The Russian leader assured of all possible evacuation of Indian citizens.

Earlier, PM Modi spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and discussed the “evolving situation” in the country. Prime Minister Narendra  Modi expressed “deep concern” about the festering humanitarian crisis in the war-scarred country and called for quick and safe evacuation of the remaining Indian students in Ukraine.

President Zelenskyy updated PM Modi in detail about the conflict situation and the ongoing negotiations between Ukraine and Russia. PM Modi “expressed deep concern about the ongoing conflict and resultant humanitarian crisis,” said a statement by India’s external affairs ministry.

PM Modi reiterated his call for immediate cessation of violence and underlined that India has always stood for peaceful resolution of issues and direct dialogue between the two parties.

The Indian leader thanked Ukrainian authorities for their facilitation in evacuating more than 20000 Indian citizens from Ukraine. There are still over 700 Indian students stuck in Sumi. The Indian government has accelerated efforts and is in touch with both Russia and Ukraine to bring them back home safely.

“PM Modi’s call for direct talks between the leaders of Russia and Ukraine signals a potential mediatory role by India in resolving the crisis,” said Manish Chand, CEO & Editor-in-Chief, India Writes Network and India and the World magazine. “President Zelenskyy had appealed to PM Modi for his intervention. Even Western leaders have urged PM Modi to leverage India’s robust relations with Russia,” said Chand, also President, Centre for Global India Insights (CGII), a think tank focused on global affairs.

The Russian military has declared a temporary ceasefire and decided to open humanitarian corridors in several Ukrainian cities, including the capital Kyiv on March 7. Many Ukrainian cities have reported deaths and widespread damage as the two sides prepare for a third round of peace talks, likely March 7.

 

 

 

 

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