Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday asked Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “political support” at the UN after New Delhi abstained in a Security Council vote.
India is currently part of the UN’s top body but, along with China and the United Arab Emirates, failed to vote on a resolution on Friday deploring Russia’s “aggression” against Ukraine and demanding 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 spoke with Modi and told him “over 100,000 invaders are on our land.”
“Stop the mugger together!” he tweeted.
Despite being a democracy and a member of the Quad group along with Australia, Japan and the United States, India has neither explicitly condemned Moscow’s actions nor called them an invasion.
Instead, he repeatedly referred to “developments” in Ukraine.
India’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement later on Saturday, calling the situation a “conflict situation” and saying Modi had “reiterated his call for an immediate cessation of violence and a return to dialogue”.
The Indian leader also called on Ukrainian authorities – who are fighting a Russian assault on the capital Kyiv and other cities – to “facilitate…to quickly 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 on a rare foreign trip – with the Russia, by far India’s largest arms supplier.
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His stance 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.”