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‘Now is not an era of war’: India’s Modi berates Putin over Ukraine conflict

It is the second dressing down for Putin at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit

David Harding
Friday 16 September 2022 14:45 BST
Vladimir Putin welcomed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi for annual talks

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has publicly scolded Vladimir Putin over his invasion of Ukraine.

Speaking at a regional security bloc summit in Uzbekistan, he told the Russian president that now is not a time for war, with food, fertiliser and fuel security among the major concerns of the world at present.

“I know that today’s era is not an era of war, and I have spoken to you on the phone about this,” Modi told Putin on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation security bloc summit in Uzbekistan.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said he wanted the conflict in Ukraine to end as soon as possible, but that Ukraine was set on achieving its objectives on the battlefield, according to an Indian TV translation of Putin’s comments at a bilateral meeting.

It was the second time Putin has been chastised about his invasion of Ukraine at the summit.

Twenty four hours earlier, he hinted at frictions in Russia’s relations with China by surprisingly admitting Beijing has “questions and concerns” about Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine.

He acknowledged potential disharmony with Xi Jinping in his first face-to-face meeting with the Chinese leader since Russia’s invasion in February.

“We highly value the balanced position of our Chinese friends when it comes to the Ukraine crisis,” the Russian president told Xi at their first meeting since the war began.

“We understand your questions and concern about this. During today’s meeting, we will of course explain our position.”

The public concerns of world leaders comes on top of terrible losses for Russia in recent days on the battlefield in Ukraine. Moscow’s forces have been dramatically pushed back by Ukrainian troops in the north east of the country.

On Friday, Ukrainians alleged they have uncovered mass war graves left after the Russians pulled out of the city of Izyum. Many of those graves contains ordinary citizens, local officials claimed.

Russia has always denied charges of war crimes and targeting civilians.

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