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New Delhi: Welcoming India’s “unbiased stand” on the Ukraine issue, Russia on Wednesday said that it didn’t want New Delhi to “choose partners”.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had announced that troops were being sent as “peacekeepers” into the two Ukrainian republics that he recognised as sovereign nations. In response, the United States, in coordination with other western powers, has imposed a series of sanctions against various Russian state entities.
Talking to reporters on Wednesday, the Russian embassy’s Charge d’Affaires, Roman Babushkin, said that he “welcomed India’s independent and unbiased stand”.
India’s reaction was articulated at the United Nations Security Council, where the Indian representative had stated that “developments” at the Ukrainian-Russian border had “potential to undermine peace and security of the region”. India had again refrained from directly criticising Russia or referring to Ukraine’s territorial integrity as other countries on the Security Council had done.
Babushkin stated that India was “playing a vital role of independent global power” at the United Nations. “India is balanced in its approach.”
Regarding whether India is in a tight spot as it has close relations with both Russia and the West, the Russian diplomat said, “We don’t expect India to choose partners.”
At the same time, Babushkin also asserted that Russia was the “only country which is honestly sharing technology with India”.
Currently, on a visit to Europe, external affairs minister S. Jaishankar has had to face many questions at public interactions about New Delhi having different standards on the conflict in Indo-Pacific and Eurasia. He responded that there was no parallel between Chinese actions in Indo-Pacific and Russia’s military build-up in Ukraine.
Asked whether the sanctions would hurt Russia, Babushkin agreed that it would harm the economy, but also added that it would trigger a domino effect.
“It (sanctions) would inevitably affect the Russian economy banking system, and it would bring more instability to the global economy as it would lead to an atmosphere of mistrust continuous fear,” he said.
Striking a defiant note, Babushkin said that the sanctions had been beneficial to Russia, as “we have learned to be more independent of western technology”.
He reiterated Russia’s justification for its actions in Ukraine, claiming that they were all in accordance with international law and were only a response to security threats emanating from Ukraine.