Putin Loses Critical Ally As India Says No More War

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As Ukrainian troops press forward on the battlefield and push Russian soldiers out of occupied Ukrainian cities like Izium, where Ukrainian authorities have since discovered a mass grave with hundreds of bodies and signs of torture, Russia is facing diplomatic push-back against the country’s violence in Ukraine as well.

During a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which is a group involving Russia, China, India, Iran, and other countries, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi directly criticized the invasion. “I know that today’s era is not of war and we have talked to you many times over the phone on the subject that democracy and diplomacy and dialogue are all these things that touch the world,” Modi told the Russian leader. Modi evidently made these remarks in public at the summit. “We will definitely get a chance to discuss how we can move onto the path of peace in the coming days. I will also get an opportunity to understand your point of view,” Modi added.

Putin responded by blaming Ukraine for the continuation of the war that Russia’s own troops started, as though the Russian military is somehow obliged to occupy portions of Ukrainian land. “I know your position on the conflict in Ukraine, about your concerns that you constantly express,” Putin said. “We will do our best to stop this as soon as possible. Only, unfortunately, the opposing side, the leadership of Ukraine, announced its abandonment of the negotiation process, declared that it wants to achieve its goals by military means, as they say, ‘on the battlefield.’ Nevertheless, we will always keep you informed of what is happening there.” The quotes from Modi are versions included in coverage from CNN, while Putin’s remarks were drawn from The Washington Post.

As recapped by the first outlet, there are longstanding ties between the governments of Russia and India tracing back to the Cold War era, and previously, India’s government largely shied away from outright criticism of Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine. There are more than diplomatic concerns at issue for Putin’s regime: India uses substantial portions of the oil Russia produces, and with essentially only increasing limits on Russia’s economic engagement with the West, including in the energy sector, India’s continued economic ties to Russia are only more relevant for the latter’s economic stability. The U.S. already unveiled a complete halt on many Russian energy imports.