Deeply concerned over tensions, says India, but no comment on Russia’s recognition of Ukra...

Deeply concerned over tensions, says India, but no comment on Russia’s recognition of Ukraine states

India does not join U.S., U.K., Germany, other United Nations Security Council countries in criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s declaration

India said it is watching the latest developments along Ukraine’s eastern border and Russia’s recognition of separatist states in the Donbas region “with deep concern”, but stopped short of criticising Moscow’s actions, during a debate at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on February 22. 

Speaking at the start of the emergency session that was called immediately following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s declaration on Monday night, India’s U.N. Permanent Representative called for restraint and diplomatic dialogue.

“The immediate priority is de-escalation of tensions taking into account the legitimate security interests of all countries and aimed towards securing long-term peace and stability in the region and beyond,” said Mr. Tirumurti, repeating New Delhi’s previous position where it had chosen not to join Western calls for action against Russia. In contrast, the U.K., U.S., European countries, and Kenya called Russia’s decision an attack on Ukrainian sovereignty, and promised sanctions and other actions.

UN Secretary General issues strong statement

Separately, U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres also issued a strong statement, saying he was “greatly concerned by Russia’s decision on the status of certain areas of the Donetsk & Luhansk regions of Ukraine”.

“We remain fully supportive of the sovereignty, independence & territorial integrity of Ukraine, within internationally recognised borders,” Mr. Guteres added.

Reaffirming India’s position that the situation must be resolved on the basis of the “Minsk Agreements” of 2014-2015, which had not yet been implemented, Mr. Tirumurti said India welcomed talks under the Trilateral Contact Group including Russia, Ukraine and members of the OSCE in Europe, as well as the Normandy Format of talks between Russia and Ukraine along with Germany and France, and said “constructive diplomacy is the need of the hour”.

Mr. Tirumurti also called the safety of about 20,000 Indians studying and working in Ukraine a “priority” for the government. The government has issued a number of travel advisories asking Indian citizens to leave Ukraine temporarily. Families of Indian diplomats have also been asked to return to India in the light of the situation, and Air India is operating commercial flights to Kiev this week to facilitate their departure. 

“The safety and security of civilians are essential,” Mr. Tirumurti added, calling for “all sides to maintain international peace and security by exercising the utmost restraint and intensifying diplomatic efforts”.

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