By Oyintari Ben
Volodymyr Zelensky, the President of Ukraine, said in a phone conversation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday that he needed India’s assistance to put a “peace formula” into action.
The request comes as New Delhi looks to strengthen commercial ties with Moscow after becoming one of the country’s largest oil buyers, defying Western sanctions and giving Russian President Vladimir Putin a crucial financial lifeline while the Kremlin continues an unprovoked war against its neighbour.
Zelensky posted on Twitter, “I announced the peace formula and now I count on India’s assistance in its implementation.”I also expressed my gratitude for the UN’s cooperation and humanitarian assistance.”
The Indian government said that Modi had reiterated his requests “for an immediate end of hostilities” and to “return to conversation and diplomacy” in a statement issued after the call.
India’s support for all peace efforts was also communicated by the prime minister, the statement added.
The G20’s decision to issue a joint statement “in the strongest terms” criticizing Russia’s aggression in Ukraine was also seen to have been significantly influenced by Modi.
India, which has 1.3 billion people, has often stated that its choice to boost imports of Russian energy is to safeguard its own interests as a nation with low income levels.
Reuters reports that last month, Russia sent India a list of more than 500 products, including train, plane, and automobile parts.
According to Russian media, Putin stated on Sunday that he is willing to negotiate “about appropriate solutions” to the conflict in Ukraine.
In response, a Zelensky advisor claimed that while Moscow is still attacking civilians, it “doesn’t want dialogue but attempts to dodge accountability.”