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India breaks its silence on Russia-Ukraine crisis, calls for ‘peaceful resolution’

New Delhi: Breaking its silence on the Russia-Ukraine crisis, India Friday said it is monitoring developments regularly, and called for a peaceful resolution to the matter.

“We have been closely following the developments relating to Ukraine, including ongoing high-level discussions between Russia and the US. Our embassy in Kyiv is also monitoring local developments,” Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, said at a media briefing Friday.

“We call for a peaceful resolution of the situation through sustained diplomatic efforts for long-term peace and stability in the region and beyond.”

India’s concern about the Russian military buildup on Ukraine’s borders, which has stoked fears of an invasion, is evident from the fact that it came up for discussion during a phone call on 19 January between Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman.

During the call, Shringla and Sherman discussed “a broad range of issues including Russia’s concerning military buildup on Ukraine’s borders and regional issues,” said a statement issued by the US State Department.

On Thursday, India’s ambassador to Russia, Pavan Kapoor, spoke to S.V. Vershinin, Russia’s deputy minister of foreign affairs, about Moscow’s upcoming presidency at the UN Security Council next month.

‘Possibility’ of attack, sanctions on Russia spell trouble for India

India’s reaction Friday came after the White House stated that US President Joe Biden has warned of a “distinct possibility” of a military attack by Russia against Ukraine next month.

Any military action between Russia and Ukraine, which is likely to also involve the US, will have adverse impacts for India, which has strategic relationships with both Moscow and Washington.

According to the White House, Biden’s comments on the potential attack by Russia were conveyed during a phone-call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky Thursday.

“President Biden reaffirmed the readiness of the United States along with its allies and partners to respond decisively if Russia further invades Ukraine. He also underscored the commitment of the United States to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” said a White House statement.

Biden also told Zelensky during the call that Washington is “exploring additional macroeconomic support to help Ukraine’s economy amidst pressure resulting from Russia’s military buildup”.

As the US threatened Russia with more economic sanctions over the Ukraine situation, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said earlier this week that it is the “obligation” of the “Western handlers of the Ukrainian regime” to ensure that Kyiv adheres to the Minsk agreements, signed in 2014 and 2015 in an attempt to end a separatist struggle by Russian speakers in Ukraine. 

US sanctions could also spell disaster for New Delhi, which is on the verge of completing the purchase of S-400 missiles from Moscow. 

Earlier this week, the Indian Embassy in Ukraine had asked all Indians living there to register themselves so that it could disseminate information in a swift manner.

(Edited by Rohan Manoj)

Also read: Biden’s wolf-crying campaign over Ukraine has turned the tables on Putin

Source: The Print

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