Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Saturday called on governments of several countries including India to appeal to Russia to stop the ongoing conflict and demanded a fresh round of sanctions. In a televised address, he accused Russia of violating ceasefire agreements and urged it to stop violence in Ukraine to allow citizens, foreign students to evacuate.

Kuleba claimed that Russia’s trying to “win the sympathy” of countries that have foreign nationals in Ukraine. He said that if Russia stops “manipulating" the issue of foreign students, they will all be safely evacuated. “I call on the governments of India, China, and Nigeria, to appeal to Russia to stop the fire and allow civilians to leave,” he said.

“For 30 years, Ukraine was a welcoming home for thousands of students from Africa, Asia… to facilitate their (foreign students’) movement, Ukraine arranged trains, set up hotlines, worked with embassies… The Ukrainian government is doing its best,” he said.

The foreign minister further called on countries that enjoyed special relations with Russia to appeal to President Vladimir Putin that “this war is against the interest of all.”

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“India is one of the largest consumers of Ukrainian agricultural products and if this war continues, it’ll be difficult for us to seed new harvests. So, even in terms of global and Indian food security, it’s in the best interest to stop this war,” said Kuleba.

Calling on Indian nationals to put pressure on Russia to stop the war, he defended Ukraine’s retaliation by saying that the country is fighting because it was attacked “…and we have to defend our land because Putin does not recognize our right to exist.”

Kuleba claimed that humanitarian corridors and ceasefires do not exist because Russian forces violated the agreement reached in the morning to arrange humanitarian corridors.

Meanwhile, India on Saturday “strongly pressed" the Russian and Ukrainian governments through multiple channels for an immediate ceasefire in Sumy to ensure a safe passage for around 700 Indian students stuck there as it keeps focus on their evacuation from the war-hit city in eastern Ukraine.

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said India’s main focus is now on evacuating the students from Sumy, and that the safe exit of Indians from Kharkiv and Pisochyn is almost complete.

Indian envoy to Ukraine Partha Satpathy on Saturday said no stone will be left unturned for the safe evacuation of Indian students from the conflict-stricken eastern Ukrainian city of Sumy as he hailed the unparalleled strength and fortitude displayed by the young citizens in dealing with the adversities.

Satpathy made the remarks in a message that came hours after the Indian students in Sumy posted videos, saying they have decided to leave for the Russian border and that the Indian government and the embassy in Ukraine will be responsible if anything happens to them.