India on Thursday urged restraint as the Russia-Ukraine crisis snowballed with Russian President Vladimir Putin announcing “military operation” in Ukraine, essentially signalling the beginning of a war.
Speaking at the UNSC, India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations TS Tirumurti said: “The Security Council had met two days ago and discussed the situation. We had called for urgent de-escalation of tensions and emphasised on sustained and focused diplomacy to address all issues concerning the situation. However, we note with regret, that the calls of the international community to give time to the recent initiatives undertaken by parties to diffuse tensions were not heeded to. The situation is in danger of spiraling into a major crisis.”
He added: “We express our deep concern over the developments, which if not handled carefully, may well undermine the peace and security of the region. We call for immediate de-escalation and refraining from any further action that could contribute to a worsening of the situation. We call on all parties to exert greater efforts to bridge divergent interests. I would like to underline that the legitimate security interests of all parties should be fully taken into account.”
Tirumurti said India has consistently advocated at the United Nations the need for peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with international law and with agreements entered into by parties concerned.
“I underline once again that more than twenty thousand Indian nationals, including students, are located in different parts of Ukraine, including in its border areas. We are facilitating the return of all Indian nationals, including Indian students, as required.”
He added: “We believe that the solution lies in sustained diplomatic dialogue between the concerned parties. In the meantime, we strongly emphasize the vital need for all sides to maintain international peace and security by exercising the utmost restraint.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “military operation" in Ukraine on Thursday and called on soldiers there to lay down their arms, defying Western outrage and global appeals not to launch a war.
Putin made a surprise statement on television to declare his intentions.
“I have made the decision of a military operation," he said shortly before 6:00am (0300 GMT) in Moscow, as he vowed retaliation against anyone who interfered.
He also called on the Ukraine military to lay down its arms.
India had earlier too called for restraint from all sides and stated that the issue could only be resolved through diplomatic dialogue. Tirumurti said the escalation of tension along the Ukraine-Russia border was a matter of ‘deep concern’.