“In such times of conflict, India attaches the highest priority to safety and well-being of civilians, in particular women, children and elderly. We are of the view that core principles of humanitarian assistance should be fully honoured,” he said.

Tirumurti noted that India remains deeply concerned about the unfolding developments in Ukraine where the situation continues to deteriorate.

“Our considered call for an immediate cessation of violence and an end to all hostilities is an urgent imperative,” he stated.

Tirumurti highlighted that Indian prime minister Narendra Modi has advocated this strongly in his recent conversations with the leadership of the Russian Federation and Ukraine.

“We welcome their commencement of direct talks. We reiterate our conviction that differences can only be bridged through sustained dialogue and diplomacy,” he said, adding that “We also underline that all member states have agreed on the principles in UN Charter, international law and on the respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states.”

Tirumurti further expressed deep concern for the safety and security of thousands of Indian citizens, including students, stranded in Ukraine.

“Our evacuation efforts have been adversely impacted by the developments on the ground at the border crossings. Given that the safety of Indian nationals is of paramount importance to my Government, senior Ministers from the Government of India are being deployed as Special Envoys to Ukraine’s neighbouring countries,” he said.

“We thank them for their cooperation at this difficult time. We stand ready to help those from neighbours and developing countries who are also stranded in Ukraine and may seek assistance,” he added.

Tirumurti also noted that the appointment of Amin Awad of Sudan as United Nations Crisis Coordinator for Ukraine by the Secretary-General, to lead the coordination of all UN efforts, including the humanitarian response, on both sides of the contact line. “We support and welcome the UN’s efforts in this direction.”

Concluding the remarks, Tirumurti reiterated there is no other option but to return to the path of diplomacy and dialogue as the only way ahead.

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