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16 Sep, 2022 18:04

Putin makes Ukraine pledge to India's Modi

The situation is aggravated by Kiev’s refusal to negotiate, the Russian president claimed
Putin makes Ukraine pledge to India's Modi

Russia wants to end the conflict in Ukraine “as soon as possible,” but Kiev refuses to talk, Russian President Vladimir Putin told Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday.

The first in-person meeting of the two leaders since 2019 took place on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

Putin told the prime minister that he is aware of his “concerns” over the conflict in Ukraine and pledged to “do everything to ensure that all of this stops as soon as possible.” 

“Unfortunately, the opposite side, the leadership of Ukraine, has refused the negotiation process. {They} declared that they want to achieve their goals by military means, or, as they say, ‘on the battlefield,’” Putin explained. 

The Indian prime minister, who has been sticking to neutrality about the military conflict in Ukraine, reiterated his calls for peace during the meeting with Putin. Citing the challenges facing the world now, including food security issues and the energy crisis, Modi said that “today’s era is not an era of war.” He also said that he views his meeting with Putin as a chance to discuss progress on “the path of peace.” 

“India and Russia have stayed together with each other for several decades,” he said. The US and its partners, meanwhile, have been calling on New Delhi and on Beijing to take a tougher stance on Russia amid its offensive in Ukraine. 

Kiev and Moscow haven’t returned to the negotiating table since talks in Istanbul in late March fell through. Ukraine’s Western partners, meanwhile, continue supplying it with arms. Moscow, however, insists that it has not given up on the idea of peace talks with Kiev. Earlier this week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made it clear that the longer the process is delayed the harder it would be to come to an agreement. 

In July, Lavrov’s Ukrainian counterpart, Dmitry Kuleba, said that Kiev would only be eager to resume talks after Moscow suffers “defeat on the battlefield.” According to Kuleba, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky is not ruling out “the possibility of negotiations,” but believes “there is no reason” for it at the moment. Kiev’s stance has largely remained the same ever since.

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