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PM Narendra Modi urges Vladimir Putin to hold direct talks with Zelensky

New Delhi: In a phone call that lasted for about 50 minutes, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to hold direct talks with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky amid the ongoing Moscow-Kiev war, according to sources.

During the conversation, which is the second between Modi and Putin since Russia began its war on February 24, the President briefed the Prime Minister on the status of negotiations between the Ukrainian and Russian teams.

Modi also appreciated the Russian military’s announcement earlier in the day hold fire and open humanitarian corridors in the four Ukrainian cities of Kiev, Kharkov, Sumy and Mariupol.

The Prime Minister further stressed on the importance of the safe evacuation of Indian citizens from Sumy at the earliest, to which Putin assured of all possible cooperation.

Also on Monday, the Prime Minister spoke to Zelensky and expressed deep concern about the ongoing conflict and resultant humanitarian crisis, according to a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office.

“(The) Prime Minister reiterated his call for immediate cessation of violence and noted that India has always stood for peaceful resolution of issues and direct dialogue between the two parties,” it said.

According to the statement, Modi “thanked Ukrainian authorities for their facilitation in evacuating more than 20,000 Indian citizens from Ukraine”, but also expressed deep concern for the safety and security of Indian students still remaining in the war-torn nation and emphasised the need for their quick and safe evacuation.

The first time Modi and Zelensky spoke was on February 26, just two days after Russia launched its military invasion of Ukraine.

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