'Urge India to use influence for peace': US lawmakers' ask on Russia-Ukraine war

Updated on Mar 18, 2022 11:09 AM IST

Russia Ukraine crisis: This is the second time in two days US lawmakers have spoken; earlier Ted W Lieu and Tom Malinowski (both Democrats) made their appeals.

Firefighters extinguish a fire after a Russian rocket attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, Monday, March 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Pavel Dorogoy, File)(AP)
Firefighters extinguish a fire after a Russian rocket attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, Monday, March 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Pavel Dorogoy, File)(AP)

A bipartisan group of United States lawmakers have urged India to 'speak out against Putin's targeting of civilians in Ukraine' and help end a war that has potentially killed thousands and left over three million homeless. Congressmen Joe Wilson (R) and Indian-origin Ro Khanna (D) spoke to India's US ambassador, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, and asked Delhi to 'use its influence for peace.

Full coverage: Russia's war on Ukraine

This week White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the US would not stand in the way of India importing oil from Russia (despite sanctions on Moscow) but remarked it was time for India to choose a side of history to stand on.

The appeals follow one from United Kingdom trade minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan, who said her country was 'very disappointed' with India's stance.

Trevelyan's comments follow pressure from UK deputy prime minister Dominic Raab, who has called on India and China to help increase pressure on Russia.

READ: 130 rescued from Mariupol theatre bombed by Russia - Ukraine media

India has walked a tightrope over Russia's actions - because Moscow is an key defence partner and to guarantee the safety of Indians in the conflict zone; over 22,000 have since been evacuated and a few dozen more remain. 

The government has abstained from United Nations resolutions against Russia. 

It has, though, expressed concerns over the humanitarian crisis, called for an immediate ceasefire, and for a return to 'dialogue and diplomacy'. Foreign minister S Jaishankar told parliament India believes the global order rests on a foundation of respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty of all states.

READ: India explains why it abstained from UN's Russia resolution

India's judge at the International Court of Justice, Justice Dalveer Bhandari, voted in favour of an order directing Moscow to suspend actions in Ukraine.

READ: Indian judge votes against Russia as World Court asks Moscow to stop

Russia's actions have invited some of the toughest sanctions - in addition to boycotts from companies and by sporting events - imposed on a country.

Vladimir Putin, however, has remained defiant; he delivered a frightening warning Thursday to those within that were questioning his actions in Ukraine. He called them 'scum and traitors' and talked about 'self-purification' of Russia.

READ: Putin's warning to 'traitors' sends chilling message

His comments follow a headline-making protest by an employee of state-run broadcaster Channel One Russia, who photo-bombed a live programme with an 'anti-war message' and has since been fined and quit her job.

With input from PTI, Reuters

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    Chandrashekar is a Senior Editor at Hindustan Times. A journalist with 11+ years across print and digital media, he also has degrees in Sociology and Economics. He has worked in the political, business, sports, and entertainment news spaces, but is happiest just watching football.

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