Russian President Vladimir Putin held separate phone calls Wednesday with Israel and India’s prime ministers.
In his phone call with Israeli Premier Naftali Bennett, Putin clarified Russia’s position on the situation in Ukraine “including the need to take Russia’s security interests into account, demilitarize and de-Nazify the Ukrainian state and ensure its neutral and non-nuclear status, as well as to recognize Russia’s sovereignty over Crimea and the independence of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics,” said a statement from the Kremlin, according to Russia’s news agency TASS.
With Indian Premier Narendra Modi, Putin discussed the safe evacuation of Indian nationals in Ukraine, according to TASS.
Read more: Ukraine crisis puts India’s balancing act under pressure!
“Russia is doing its best to organize the urgent evacuation of a group of Indian students from Kharkiv via a humanitarian corridor by the shortest route to Russia,” the Kremlin said, adding “according to the latest reports, in fact, those students have been taken hostage by Ukrainian forces that are using them as a human shield and hampering their evacuation to Russian territory. The responsibility for this lies entirely with the Kyiv authorities.”
Modi-Putin call just wrapped up. Ok so if India buys that Ukrainian forces are holding Indian students hostage and using them as human shields against Russian attacks, then there really is no hope for New Delhi finally criticizing Moscow. pic.twitter.com/dePKBomOfv
— Derek J. Grossman (@DerekJGrossman) March 2, 2022
Russia’s war on Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24, has been met with international outrage, with the European Union, US and UK, among others, implementing tough financial sanctions on Moscow.
Many countries are also supplying Ukraine with weapons and have shut their airspace to Russian airlines and banned Russian state-run media.
Read more: Biden lashes out at Putin and his ‘corrupt’ Russian oligarchs
Russia and Ukraine are set for a second round of peace talks Thursday. The first round was held Monday.
Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk