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President Joe Biden spoke with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday with a focus on how Russia’s war in Ukraine has destabilized the food supply in parts of the world and about the clear distance between the U.S. and India on whether Russia should be punished for the invasion.
Watch the event in the live player above.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki described the talks as “constructive,” and “productive,” and said that the relationship between the two countries was important to Biden.
READ MORE: Russia says it hits Ukraine air defenses before eastern push
Psaki said recently India had spoke out against the violence in Bucha. “We always encourage leaders to do to speak out, to be vocal, to ensure they are on the right side of history,” she said.
India’s neutral stance in the war has raised concerns in Washington and earned praise from Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who lauded India this month for judging “the situation in its entirety, not just in a one-sided way.”
Modi on Monday called the situation in Ukraine “very worrying,” and he noted that an Indian student lost his life during the war. He said he has spoken with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, appealing to both of them for peace. India has condemned the killings uncovered in the city of Bucha and has called for an independent investigation.
A senior U.S. official described the Biden-Modi exchange as warm and productive, though the official stressed that India would make its own decisions on how to respond to Putin. The official insisted on anonymity to discuss the meeting.
Reacting to Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Psaki urged him to also engage with Ukraine’s leadership. “If you’re going to play a role in diplomacy, that is an especially important component,” she said.
In a statement released by his office after the meeting, Nehammer said Monday his primary message to Putin was “that this war needs to end, because in war both sides can only lose.”
Nehammer was the first European leader to meet Putin in Moscow since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in February.
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