India abstained from voting on the UNSC resolution on the Russian attack on Ukraine.
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Saturday tweeted that he had spoken to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking "political support", shortly after Russia praised India's decision to abstain from a vote at the United Nations to condemn its invasion.
President Zelenskiy, who has earned international admiration for holding his ground in capital city Kyiv and rejecting offers of evacuation, said he briefed PM Modi about the course of the Russian assault with more than 1 lakh invaders.
A statement from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's office said, "President Zelenskyy briefed the Prime Minister in detail about the ongoing conflict situation in Ukraine. Prime Minister expressed his deep anguish about the loss of life and property due to the ongoing conflict."
"He reiterated his call for an immediate cessation of violence and a return to dialogue, and expressed India's willingness to contribute in any way towards peace efforts. Prime Minister also conveyed India's deep concern for the safety and security of Indian citizens, including students, present in Ukraine. He sought facilitation by Ukrainian authorities to expeditiously and safely evacuate Indian citizens," it added.
Russia's mission to India, meanwhile, tweeted that it was "highly appreciative" of India's "independent and balanced" position at the UN.
Explaining India's position at the UN, government sources told news agency PTI on Saturday that abstaining from the Security Council resolution allowed India to retain the option of reaching out to all relevant parties to find a middle ground and foster dialogue and diplomacy to defuse the crisis.
Though India abstained from voting on the resolution, it called for respecting "sovereignty and territorial integrity" of states and sought immediate cessation of "violence and hostilities", in comments that the sources said reflected a "sharper tone" and criticism of the Russian offensive.
In India's three previous statements at the UN Security Council on the Ukraine crisis, there was no reference to the need for respecting the "sovereignty and territorial integrity" of states.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he sought India's support at the UNSC. (File)
At the crucial UN Security Council session on Friday, Russia used its veto power to block the US-sponsored resolution deploring in the "strongest terms" Russian "aggression" against Ukraine. Besides India, China and the United Arab Emirates too abstained from voting.
The resolution sought to isolate permanent and veto-wielding member Russia on the global stage after Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to launch an attack on Ukraine on Thursday.
President Zelensky's call to Prime Minister Modi came a day after Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba spoke to his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar and sought India's support to a UN Security Council resolution.
In the telephonic conversation, Mr Kuleba urged Mr Jaishankar to use India's influence over Russia to force it to cease "military aggression" against Ukraine besides supporting the UN resolution.
(With inputs from PTI)