New Delhi:

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has reacted sharply to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s brief visit to Russia and his interaction with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter) Mr Zelenskyy referred to Russia’s attack Monday – in which at least 37 people, including three children, were killed after a missile strike on a children’s hospital in Kyiv.

The strike also damaged nearly 100 buildings, including schools and maternity hospitals.

His tweet included photographs of the bombed hospital and babies in ambulances.

Mr Zelenskky’s post came after Prime Minister Modi met President Putin in Moscow and shared an embrace. Visuals from their meeting showed the two leaders drinking tea on a terrace at Mr Putin’s home in Novo-Ogaryovo outside Moscow, and Mr Modi being driven around in a golf cart.

One photo in particular – of Mr Modi and Mr Putin hugging – has been widely shared online.

READ | PM Hugs Putin On Russia Visit, Tea Meet At Home, Golf Cart Ride

And the Ukraine President was particularly critical of that image, posting, “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…”

PM Modi flew into Moscow on a two-day visit that treads a fine line between maintaining a longstanding relationship and courting closer ties with the West amid the war in Ukraine. 

This is the Prime Minister’s first visit since he was voted back to power last month.

It is also his first to Russia since the war in Ukraine began.

READ | At Modi-Putin Dinner, India’s Direct Appeal To End Ukraine War

Sources have told NDTV that Mr Modi, during his meeting with Mr Putin, stressed no solution – to the violence – could be found on the battlefield. “India has always called for respecting the United Nations Charter, including territorial integrity and sovereignty. There is no solution on the battlefield. Dialogue and diplomacy is the way forward,” Mr Modi is believed to have said.

Mr Modi has also spoken to Mr Zelenskyy on numerous occasions, including meeting him in Italy last month on the sidelines of the G7 summit. The two were photographed sharing a hug. Their first face-to-face meeting since the war started was in May last year, at the G7 summit hosted by Japan.

In a phone call with President Zelenskyy in October 2022, PM Modi said there can be “no military solution” and that India is ready to contribute to any peace efforts

READ | PM Speaks To Ukraine President, Call With Putin Later Today

Ever since the war began India has maintained it can only be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy, and the Prime Minister has said “India is ready to contribute to any peace efforts”.

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