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PM Modi interacts with Putin and asks for an "immediate removal of conflict" in Ukraine.

During Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday and asked for an "immediate halting of conflict."

In a telephone conversation, Prime Minister Modi stressed that India places "top priority" on the safe exit and return of its citizens from Ukraine.

The Prime Minister's Office has confirmed that Prime Minister Modi called for concerted efforts from all sides to return to the path of diplomatic negotiations and asserted that differences between Russia and the United States are the only way to fix NATO via "honest and straightforward" communication.

Leaders agreed that their officials and diplomatic teams would continue to maintain regular contact on issues of interest on the topic, the Prime Minister's Office said.

According to a Russian reading of the call, President Putin also briefed Prime Minister Modi on Ukraine. Putin outlined basic assessments of Kyiv's "aggressive actions" against the civilian population of Donbass, as well as the many years of "destructive policy" aimed at breaking the Minsk agreements.

In these circumstances, as well as in connection with the unacceptable Russian military development of the United States and its NATO allies on the territory of Ukraine, it was decided to launch a special military operation, the Russian statement said in the conversation.

According to the Russian announcement, Prime Minister Modi "thanks to President Putin for his explanations and requests cooperation in protecting the safety of Indian citizens already in Ukraine."

President Putin said that he would provide the necessary instructions. Some aspects of bilateral cooperation were discussed during the Russian-Indian summit in December 2021. India is urging a de-escalation of tensions, taking into account the legitimate security interests of all countries.

The PM Modi-Putin phone call started only hours after Ukraine's India representative, Igor Polikha, expressed "serious disappointment" with New Delhi's stand on the ongoing situation.

Igor Polikha, Ambassador of Ukraine to India, said PM Modi is among the few global leaders that President Putin listens to and New Delhi can use its proximity to Moscow to control the situation.

"India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi is one of the most trusted leaders in the world." It is unclear how many international leaders Putin will listen to But Modi's stature makes me hopeful that even if Putin listens to Modi's strong voice, he will at least think about it.

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