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'When innocent children killed, the heart bleeds,' Modi comments on Russian July 8 attack after meeting with Putin

by Kateryna Hodunova and The Kyiv Independent news desk July 9, 2024 11:46 PM 2 min read
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) attend the award ceremony as Putin awards the Order of St. Andrew to Narendra Modi for his contributions to the relations between the two countries in Moscow, Russia on July 9, 2024. (Sefa Karacan/Anadolu via Getty Images)
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The pain from Russia's July 8 attack is "very terrifying," Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said after the meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Reuters reported on July 9.

Modi arrived in Moscow on July 8 in what was his first trip to Russia since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Russia launched a missile attack against Kyiv, Dnipro, Kryvyi Rih, and other cities on the morning of July 8, killing at least 38 and injuring over 170. One missile struck a building of the Okhmatdyt hospital, Ukraine's largest children's medical center.

As Western officials condemned the Russian attack, Modi posted a photo of himself shaking hands and hugging Putin, voicing hope for "cementing the bonds of friendship" between the two nations.

President Volodymyr Zelensky criticized Indian official's visit to Russia, calling it "a devastating blow to peace efforts."

"Whether it is war, conflict or a terrorist attack, any person who believes in humanity is pained when there is loss of lives," Modi said on July 9, wrapping his visit to Russia.

"But even in that, when innocent children are killed, the heart bleeds, and that pain is very terrifying," he added.

New Delhi has been calling for a diplomatic solution Russia's war against Ukraine, while at the same time fostering close economic ties with Moscow.

India became one of the chief buyers of Russian oil following Western sanctions, although pressure from U.S. sanctions increasingly threatens this trade.

By the end of Modi's visit, the parties have defined nine key areas for closer cooperation, ranging from nuclear energy to medicine. They are also aiming to boost bilateral trade by more than half to hit $100 billion by 2030, according to Reuters.

Putin said that the countries enjoyed a "particularly privileged strategic partnership."

Speaking after the Russian president, Modi stressed that the path to peace must be found.

"Solutions are not possible on the battleground. Amidst guns, bullets, and bombs, peace talks cannot be successful. We have to find the path to peace only through talks," Modi told Putin.

While India participated in Ukraine's global peace summit in June, Modi did not attend personally, and India's representative did not ultimately sign the joint communique.

Opinion: Why India’s Modi won’t play the peace negotiator
As world leaders gathered in the U.S. capital for the NATO summit, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi traveled to Moscow to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin. It was Modi’s first visit to Russia not just since Putin ordered the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022 but also since 2019.

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