Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke separately with Ukraine’s president on Monday. Volodymyr Zelenskiy and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in the midst of the ongoing war between the two countries.
In his phone call with Zelenskyy, Modi emphasized the need to evacuate the remaining Indian citizens in Ukraine. The prime minister also thanked the Ukrainian authorities for their assistance in evacuating more than 20,000 Indian citizens from the war-torn country, according to a statement issued by the prime minister’s office.
“President Zelenskyy informed the Prime Minister [Modi] in detail about the conflict situation,” the statement said. “Prime Minister [Modi] expressed deep concern about the ongoing conflict and the resulting humanitarian crisis.”
During his conversation with Putin, Modi expressed concern about the Indian students trapped in the city of Sumy in northeastern Ukraine. Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the Union V Muraleedharan said on Monday that 600 Indian students were still stranded in Sumy, while 3,000 of them are in Ukraine’s neighboring countries, ANI reported.
Putin briefed Modi on Russia’s moves to create humanitarian corridors to help civilians out of besieged cities in Ukraine. However, shortly after the phone call between Modi and Putin, Ukraine rejected the The offer of the Russian army to establish evacuation corridors in the cities of Kyiv, Kharkob, Sumy and Mariupol, Reuters reported, citing a spokesman for Zelenskyy.
Putin briefed Modi on the state of negotiations between Ukraine and Russia. The prime minister expressed his hope that the negotiations would lead to an end to the conflict and suggested that the Russian president should hold a “direct talk” with Zelenskyy.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine that began on February 24 entered its twelfth day on Monday. Putin has described the invasion as a “special military operation” aimed at dislodging the “neo-Nazis” who rule Ukraine.
According to the United Nations human rights office, at least 351 civilians have been killed and more than 600,000 have fled Ukraine since the invasion began. On the Russian side, more than 498 of its troops have been killed, according to the country’s military. A indian student he was also killed during a shelling in the city of Kharkiv on March 1.
India has been evacuating its citizens through Ukraine’s neighboring countries after Kiev closed its airspace to civilian aircraft following the Russian offensive.