Ukraine crisis: Working on providing safe passage to Indians from conflict zones: Russia
New Delhi, Mar 2: Russia on Wednesday said it is working “intensely” to create a “humanitarian corridor” for safe passage to Russian territory of Indian nationals stuck in Kharkiv, Sumy and other conflict zones in Ukraine following a request from India.
At a media briefing, Russian Ambassador-designate Denis Alipov said Russia is in touch with India on the issue of the safety of the stranded Indians in Ukraine and that the safe passage will be put into place soon. He also said that there will be no impact on Russia’s supply of S-400 missile systems to India in view of increasing Western sanctions on Moscow following the crisis in Ukraine, noting that there is a mechanism to deal with the punitive measures. Alipov said Russia was grateful to India for its “balanced” position on the situation in Ukraine and hoped that it will continue to demonstrate such an “approach”.
“We have received the Indian request for the emergency evacuation of all those stuck in the conflict zones to the Russian territory and we are now actively working on the ways and means to launch an operation to provide the humanitarian corridors so that people have the secure passage to the Russian territory,” he said.
His comments came amid increasing concern in India about the safety of its nationals in Kharkiv and many other Ukrainian cities witnessing intense fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces. “We are working intensely to create the corridors and securing a safe passage for the Indian nationals who are stuck in those areas so that they can be taken safely from areas where combat actions are going on to the Russian territory,” Alipov said.
Asked how long the military campaign in Ukraine will continue, he described the situation in Ukraine as a “tragedy for Russia as well as for Ukraine”. “We want to stop the military actions as soon as possible. We want peace to be reached as soon as possible,” he said. Asked when the “humanitarian corridors: will be activated, Alipov said he hoped they would be in place as “soon as possible”. The Russian diplomat also said Russia is grateful to India for its “balanced” position on the situation in Ukraine.
He said Russia has been coordinating with India at the United Nations including informing it about Moscow’s approach to the current crisis. Alipov said Russia does everything possible to keep India up-to-date on what is happening. “We are strategic allies with India. We are very grateful to India for the balanced position that has been displayed by it at the United Nations as I said India understands the depth of the current crisis.
“India sees the whole situation in its complexities. This is very important. I think this is the reason why its stand has been so unbiased and balanced. We hope India will continue to demonstrate such an approach,” he added. Asked about the possible impact of the Western sanctions on the S-400 missile deal, Alipov said he does not see any obstacles on the supplies of the air defence systems to India.
“As regards the S-400 deal, be rest assured that it will not be impacted in any way. It is a 100 surety… As regards the overall trade and economic cooperation, we will see what will be the ultimate impact of those severe restrictions that are being imposed,” he said.
Alipov said there is a bilateral mechanism to do business in national currencies. “We have bilateral mechanisms and means of doing business in national currencies. Much will depend on the readiness of Indian partners to continue the business because some of them are over-cautious with regard to their exposure to the US and European markets,” he said.
Replying to a question on whether Western sanctions and the conflict will impact the overall delivery of key defence equipment to India, he said there are mechanisms in place to offset the impact of the restrictions.
“Russia has always risen from ashes. It will rise again. Do not have any doubt about that. We have taken steps to secure ourselves,” he said. “Our economy is stable and I believe we will withstand the pressure that we are experiencing and we will experience in the future,” he said.
“As regards the bilateral trade in defence, we have the mechanism of cooperation and transactions independent of western mechanisms,” he added. PTI
Story first published: Wednesday, March 2, 2022, 23:51 [IST]