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NEW DELHI: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky asked Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday for “political support” at the UN after New Delhi abstained from a Security Council vote.

India is currently on the UN’s top body but — along with China and the UAE — did not vote on a resolution Friday that deplored Russia’s “aggression” against Ukraine and demanded the immediate withdrawal of its troops.

Russia vetoed the resolution using its power as a permanent member of the council. In a Twitter post on Saturday, Zelensky said he had spoken with Modi and told him that “More than 100,000 invaders are on our land.”

“Stop the aggressor together!” he tweeted.

Despite being a democracy and a member of the “Quad” grouping with Australia, Japan, and the United States, India has neither explicitly condemned Moscow’s actions, nor called them an invasion.

Russian troops ordered to advance in Ukraine

Instead, it has repeatedly referred to “developments” in Ukraine. India’s foreign ministry released a statement later Saturday, calling it a “conflict situation” and saying Modi had “reiterated his call for an immediate cessation of violence and a return to dialogue”.

The Indian leader had also asked Ukrainian authorities — who are fighting a Russian assault on the capital Kyiv and other cities — for “facilitation... to expeditiously and safely evacuate Indian citizens”, the statement added. New Delhi and Moscow were close throughout the Cold War, a relationship that endures to this day — Putin visited late last year in a rare overseas trip — with Russia by far India’s biggest arms supplier.

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