“I know that the current era is not an era of war, and I have spoken to you on the phone about this,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Russia’s president in a bilateral meeting during a regional security bloc summit in Uzbekistan.
- India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi told President Vladimir Putin on Friday that now is not the time for war.
Openly and publicly challenged by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the war in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday that Russia will strive to stop the conflict “as soon as possible,” according to The Washington Post.
But then he accused Ukraine of refusing to negotiate, even though Putin ordered the invasion and his troops continue to occupy a large swath of Ukrainian territory.
Putin made the remarks during an appearance with Modi in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, where they are attending a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
In a stunning public rebuke, Modi told Putin: “Today’s era is not an era of war, and I have talked to you on the phone about this.”
The rare rebuke showed that Russia’s president is under extraordinary pressure from all sides because of the war in Ukraine.
Internationally, Putin faces calls to end the war not only from traditional critics of him in the West, but also from Asian partners.
And in Russia, where he has cracked down on anti-war dissidents, he is being pummeled by right-wing hawks who are furious at military blunders and are calling for a national draft.
Modi’s comment, as the two leaders faced reporters and cameras, came a day after Putin acknowledged that he had heard “concerns and questions” about the war from Chinese President Xi Jinping at the same conference. . But China’s president did not publicly voice his questions or concerns.
The questions and criticisms from Xi and Modi follow a week in which Russia has suffered heavy military setbacks in Ukraine.
A Ukrainian counteroffensive drove Russian troops out of the northeastern Kharkiv region. And Kyiv is forging ahead, asking allies to supply additional weapons in hopes of tipping the war decisively in its favor.
The Russian military has responded by attacking civilian infrastructure, including the power grid in the Kharkiv region, leaving dozens of settlements without power or running water. Putin called these attacks “a warning.”
“If the situation continues to develop in this way, the response will be more serious,” Putin threatened in comments to Russian journalists later on Friday.
India has called for dialogue since the start of the war, avoiding challenging Russia as an aggressor, and its officials insist their country is a middle power and needs to maintain ties and credibility with both Russia and the West to help bring about peace.
Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky declared on Saturday that peace talks are “impossible” at the moment. “We want to end the war, but the space and the opportunities have changed. Society doesn’t want to talk to terrorists,” he said.