Modi meets Zelensky during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G7 Summit in Hiroshima. Image Credit: ANI

HIROSHIMA: India will do “whatever we can” to resolve the Ukraine crisis, Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged Saturday as he met President Volodymyr Zelensky for the first time since Russia launched attacks.

“I understand your pain and the pain of Ukrainian citizens very well,” Modi said, as the pair met on the sidelines of the Group of 7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan.

“I can assure you that to resolve this India and, me personally, will do whatever we can do,” Modi said.

It was the pair’s first in-person meeting since Russia’s attacks were launched 15 months ago, which New Delhi has pointedly resisted criticising.

A post on Zelensky’s Telegram account said he had “thanked India for supporting the territorial integrity and sovereignty of our country, in particular at the sites of international organisations”.

Zelensky also thanked Modi for providing humanitarian aid to the war-torn country, and invited India to join the implementation of the “peace formula” initiative devised by Ukraine.

Zelensky arrived in Hiroshima on Saturday afternoon for a surprise in-person appearance after winning US approval for Ukraine to obtain advanced fighter jets.

He quickly embarked on a whirlwind of diplomatic pitstops with leaders from the major developed democracies in the G7, as well as invited developing nations, including India.

Modi also thanked Zelensky for the help provided to Indian students after war began, the Telegram post added.

The Ukrainian leader earlier held talks with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and Britain’s Rishi Sunak, who he also met days ago on a tour of European allies to drum up support for a planned spring offensive.

On Telegram, Zelensky said he had thanked Sunak “for the UK’s leadership in the international fighter jet coalition”.

And in discussions with European Council President Charles Michel, Zelensky raised export restrictions on Ukrainian agricultural products and the “inadmissibility” of the measures being extended after June 5, he said on his Telegram account.

The EU has approved restrictions through June 5 on the imports of several Ukrainian products to help ease excess supplies in neighbouring countries.

French President Emmanuel Macron praised Zelensky’s decision to make the in-person visit, telling him in talks that the chance to engage developing countries “can be a game changer”.