'Death of children heart-wrenching': PM Modi seeks end to Ukraine war in talks with Putin

Modi receives Russia’s prestigious civilian honour

India Russia relations Russia's President Vladimir Putin and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi attend a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow | Reuters

A day after the Russian missile strike hit a children's hospital in Kyiv, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a meeting with President Vladimir Putin, expressed anguish and pain over the incident.

The death of the innocent children is heart-wrenching and very painful, said Modi.

During the India-Russia summit talks, Modi stressed to the world community that India is on the side of peace and that conflict must be resolved through talks. In the Ukraine war, India has always taken the stand that a solution should be reached through talks.

"For a bright future of the new generation, peace is most essential. A solution is not possible on the battlefield...Peace talks do not succeed amidst bombs, guns and bullets," he said.

India is ready to cooperate in all possible ways for the restoration of peace, said Modi.

Modi is on a two-day official visit to Russia which is closely watched by the West and China amid the Ukraine conflict.

"Everyone believing in humanity is pained if there is loss of lives. In that too, if innocent children are murdered; if innocent children die, it is heart-wrenching and very painful," Modi said.

While acknowledging Modi's call for peace, Putin thanked him for trying to find a peaceful solution to the Ukraine crisis.

"I am grateful to you for the attention you pay to the most pressing issues, particularly trying to find ways to resolve the Ukraine crisis, primarily through peaceful means,” Putin was quoted as saying by the official TASS news agency.

Taking objection to Modi-Putin 'bromance' Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said it is a huge disappointment and a devastating blow to peace efforts.

"It is a huge disappointment and a devastating blow to peace efforts to see the leader of the world's largest democracy hug the world's most bloody criminal in Moscow on such a day," said Zelenskyy.

PM Modi received Russia's prestigious civilian honour

PM Modi on Tuesday officially conferred the 'Order of St Andrew the Apostle' award by Putin for his contribution to fostering bilateral ties between the two countries.

Modi receives Russian highest civilian honour Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, awards Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle the First-Called at the Kremlin in Moscow | AP

The honour was conferred in a special ceremony held at St. Andrew Hall in the Kremlin. The award was announced in 2019.

Modi is the first Indian leader to be conferred with this award, which was established in 1698 by Tsar Peter the Great in honour of Saint Andrew, the first apostle of Jesus and patron saint of Russia.

Modi dedicated the award to the people of India and to the traditional bonds of India-Russia friendship.

"I am heartily grateful to you for conferring me with the highest civilian honour of Russia. This honour is not just mine, this is an honour of 140 crore Indians. This is an honour of the centuries-old and deep friendship and mutual trust between India and Russia," Modi said after receiving the award.

Modi also said that he had projected Global South's expectation of peace and stability during his informal meeting with Putin on Monday.

India-Russia bilateral ties

The PM appreciated the India-Russia cooperation in averting food, fuel, and fertiliser shortages for Indians in the past few years.

When the world was facing a shortage of food, fuel and fertilisers, we did not allow our farmers to face any problem and our friendship with Russia played a role in that, Modi said.

Modi described his discussions with Putin as "productive" after the summit.

"Held productive discussions with President Putin at the Kremlin today. Our talks covered ways to diversify India-Russia cooperation in sectors such as trade, commerce, security, agriculture, technology and innovation," he said.

"We attach great importance to boosting connectivity and people-to-people exchanges," he added.

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