” India has said Russia holds “legitimate interests” in Ukraine, becoming the first major nation appearing to publicly lean towards Moscow at a time it is largely isolated internationally over its military intervention in the Crimean Peninsula.
India’s first official response came on a day Crimean MPs voted to secede from Ukraine and join Russia, prompting the US to activate some sanctions.
National security adviser Shivshankar Menon has said India wants the confrontation between the West and Moscow over Ukraine resolved peacefully. But he added that it also hoped that the interests of Russia and other stakeholders were taken into account.
“ We hope that whatever internal issues there are within Ukraine are settled peacefully, and the broader issues of reconciling various interests involved, and there are legitimate Russian and other interests involved…. We hope those are discussed, negotiated and that there is a satisfactory resolution to them,” Menon said today.
Menon’s reference to Russia’s “legitimate interests” sparked a sharp diplomatic response from Kiev.
“ We are not sure how Russia can be seen having legitimate interests in the territory of another country,” Roman Pyrih, the media secretary at the Ukrainian embassy in New Delhi, said. “In our view, and in the view of much of the international community, this is a direct act of aggression and we cannot accept any justification for it.”
The US, UK, Canada, Germany, France, Italy and Japan — the seven G8 nations other than Russia — have criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to send troops into Ukraine’s southeastern Crimean Peninsula.”
IndiaTelegraph has more