Russia’s Putin tells India’s prime minister he understood New Delhi’s concerns about the conflict in Ukraine after Modi urged diplomacy.
Russian President Vladimir Putin told India’s Narendra Modi that he understood New Delhi’s concerns about the conflict in Ukraine and wanted it to end “as soon as possible,” according to a readout of a bilateral meeting released by the Kremlin.
The Indian prime minister told Putin on the sidelines of a regional security bloc summit in Uzbekistan on Friday: “I know that the current era is not an era of war, and I have talked to you on the phone about this.” He said that democracy, diplomacy and dialogue hold the world together.
But Putin said Kyiv had rejected negotiations and was determined to achieve its own goals “on the battlefield.”
“I know your position on the conflict in Ukraine, your concerns that you constantly express,” he told Modi on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.
“We will do everything we can to stop this as soon as possible. Only, unfortunately, the opposite side, the leadership of Ukraine, announced its rejection of the negotiation process and declared that it wants to achieve its goals by military means.”
New Delhi and Moscow have longstanding ties dating back to the Cold War, and Russia remains by far India’s largest arms supplier.
Russia currently controls about a fifth of Ukraine after sending its armed forces into its neighbor’s territory from various directions in February.
Moscow says its “special military operation” was necessary to prevent Ukraine from being used as a platform for Western aggression and to defend Russian-speakers.
Kyiv and its Western allies dismiss these arguments as baseless pretexts for an imperial-style war of aggression and have urged Russia to withdraw unconditionally.
On September 6, Kyiv launched a counteroffensive that caught Russian forces by surprise. The lightning advance resulted in Ukrainian forces retaking some 8,000 square kilometers (3,090 sq mi) of territory in the Kharkov region.
Putin had made similar comments to Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Thursday, saying he understood Beijing’s concerns about the conflict.
Russia is trying to forge closer ties with China and India as Moscow faces isolation and onerous sanctions from the West for its invasion of Ukraine.
Both countries have stepped up their purchases of Russian energy, trading at a discount on world markets as Western countries buy less, and discussed building closer economic ties.
“Our trade is growing, thanks to your additional supplies of Russian fertilizers to Indian markets, which have increased eightfold. I am hopeful that this will be of great help to the Indian agricultural sector,” Putin told Modi.
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