New Delhi: Ukrainian envoy to India Igor Polikha on Thursday sought India’s active intervention to stop the Russian aggression, and said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a powerful global leader whose voice would be heeded by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Addressing the media, the Ukrainian Ambassador Polikha said that Ukraine is “expecting a much more favourable attitude of India to us in this crisis situation. It is a moment of truth and a moment of destiny”.
India has not taken sides in the crisis, and called for diplomacy to resolve the crisis.
“India is a powerful global player and in case of aggression by the totalitarian regime against the democratic country of Ukraine India should assume its global role. Modiji is one of the most powerful and respected leaders of the world,” Ambassador Polikha said in an impassioned address as Russian President Putin ordered military intervention in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.
Polikha said “We are seeking India’s support, pleading with India for support, we are requesting Modiji to speak with President Putin and stop this aggression.” He said India has a special privileged strategic partnership with Russia. “I don’t know how many world leaders he (Putin) will listen to, but the status of Modiji makes me hopeful that in case of his strong voice, Putin will listen.”
“Putin has just launched a full scale invasion of Ukraine. This is a war of aggression. Ukraine will defend itself and win. The time to act is now,” he said. He said that till the last moment, his president was entreating for negotiations with Russia.
Referring to the Indian mythologies and history, he said that India had Chanakya more than 2,500 years ago, when a major part of Europe did not have such high level of diplomatic statecraft.
He also referred to the Mahabharata, and said that it took place before the advent of Christ. “There were active efforts at solving the (Kurukshetra war) crisis by peaceful means. But it was not successful, we are hoping in our case it will be much more successful,” he added.
Referring to the Non Aligned Movement, he said that India for many years has been a leader of NAM, which was created to prevent the world tensions and was based on the principles of peace. “Don’t forget that India was among the architects of the Panchshila, and that is why in the present moment, we are asking, pleading for the support from India,” the envoy added.
He also voiced unhappiness with India saying that it is “monitoring the developments closely” in Ukraine. “We are deeply dissatisfied with this,” he said, adding that though now a few people have been killed in the clash, but when “hundreds are killed what will happen, you cannot say we are following more closely”.
“We are pleading, asking for a strong voice of India in this case” and added that PM Modi should also speak to the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. He also said that 70 countries have voiced support for Ukraine, in the face of Russian aggression.
He said that India has in the past played the role of peacemaker and is active in peacekeeping operations. ”You are among the first nations in times of peacekeeping operations, and that’s why from a peace loving nation of India, we are asking of your strong voice to stop the war.”
He said the situation can spin out of control soon, and then it will not remain a regional conflict anymore, but will involve the entire world. Referring to over 20,000 Indian citizens in Ukraine, including thousands of students in his country, the ambassador said his country has one of the biggest numbers of Indian students.
“Their well-being and safety is our task”, he said, and added that his government tried to help them by abolishing all limits on flight seats. But with the Ukrainian air space closed, he said he had spoken directly to many Indians residing in Ukraine. He said the majority of Indians are hoping for some peaceful solution to the crisis.
“And in this case, it is not just for Ukraine but for your citizens, that the powerful world leader Modiji should exert every pressure to stop this aggression,” he added. “We are seeking your support, seeking and pleading for India, which is a global player and its voice is every time heard in the world, and it should be heard now,” he stressed repeatedly.