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PM Modi Meets Ukraine President Zelensky For First Time Since Russia’s Invasion

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The Ukrainian president is attending the summit following an invitation by Japan.

New Delhi:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Japan’s Hiroshima today. This is the first in-person meeting between the two leaders since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February last year. They have earlier only spoken virtually.

The Prime Minister’s Office shared photographs of the meeting, in which India’s national security advisor Ajit Doval was also present.

PM Modi left for the Japanese city this morning to attend three sessions at the G7 summit as part of his three-nation tour that will also take him to Papua New Guinea and Australia.

The Ukrainian president is attending the summit following an invitation by Japan, the current chair of the powerful grouping.

Ukraine’s First Deputy Foreign Minister Emine Dzhaparova visited India last month, in the first high-level trip to India from Ukraine after the conflict began in the eastern European country. During her visit, Ms Dzhaparova handed over a letter — from President Zelenskyy to PM Modi — to Minister of State for External Affairs Meenakshi Lekhi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has maintained that the Russia-Ukraine conflict can only be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy, and that “India is ready to contribute to any peace efforts.”

Earlier today, in an interview with the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun, when asked about his view on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and how India responds to negative reactions regarding its abstention from voting on UN resolutions and increased oil imports from Russia, PM Modi said India advocates for dialogue and diplomacy to resolve disputes and prioritise the well-being of people affected by rising costs of essentials.

“India abstained from UN General Assembly resolutions to condemn the invasion but remains committed to upholding the UN Charter, international law, sovereignty, and territorial integrity. India supports a peaceful resolution to the Ukraine crisis and is ready to contribute constructively within the UN and beyond,” the prime minister said, according to news agency PTI.

In a phone conversation with President Zelenskyy on October 4 last year, PM Modi said there can be “no military solution” and that India is ready to contribute to any peace efforts. The PM has also spoken to Russian President Vladimir Putin several times since the start of the war.

The Ukrainian leader, who made a surprise visit to an Arab League summit in Saudi Arabia on Friday, is looking to rally the international community to increase sanctions on Russia and pledge further support for Ukraine, according to a report in Al Jazeera.

President Zelenskyy’s visit comes a day after US President Joe Biden informed the G7 leaders in Hiroshima that the US would support the joint allied training of Ukrainian pilots on fourth-generation fighter jets, including the F-16. Once the training gets underway, it would be decided when and how many aircraft would be delivered and who in the coalition would provide them.