Modi thanks Ukraine's Zelensky for helping evacuate 15,000 Indians amid Russian bombardments

Modi thanks Ukraine's Zelensky for helping evacuate 15,000 Indians amid Russian bombardments
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for 35 minutes over the phone, regarding the situation in Ukraine.
2 min read
07 March, 2022
Students in Bangalore, India, urge Russian President Putin to stop the war in Ukraine and call for the evacuation of stranded Indian students in Ukraine [Getty]

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanked the Ukrainian government for assisting stranded Indians leave the war-hit country, which has faced continual shelling and bombing from Russian forces.

Modi discussed the evolving situation in Ukraine - invaded by Russia on 24 February - with President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday in a 35-minute phone call.

The Indian PM sought Zelensky's "continued support" in helping evacuate the remaining Indians as Russia devastates Ukraine, according to government sources.

It comes after mounting criticism of the Modi government over the slow pace of the evacuation of Indian citizens from Ukraine.

This is the second time Modi has spoken to Zelensky over the past few weeks, the last conversation taking place on 26 February, two days after Russia launched its brutal invasion of its neighbour.

Modi is also expected to speak to Russian President Vladimir Putin later Monday. Modi and Putin have spoken twice since Moscow launched its invasion of Ukraine.

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New Delhi has been forced to walk a diplomatic tightrope due to India's close alliance with the US and military partnership with Russia.

India has called for an end to hostilities but has refused to directly condemn Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

India had at least 18,000 of its citizens in Ukraine before the war, hundreds of which are still stranded in the middle of the war zone.

The Modi government has been roundly slammed for its delayed evacuation plan for its citizens to leave Ukraine, and one Indian has been killed after the Russian shelling of the second city of Kharkiv.

India has so far evacuated 15,000 citizens from Ukraine and is now focused on getting its students out of the north-eastern town of Sumy.