New Delhi, March 18:
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday discussed the situation in Ukraine and the Crimean referendum with Russian President Vladimir Putin over telephone, and hoped that all sides show restraint and find a solution protecting the interest of all parties.
According to the external affairs ministry, Putin telephoned the prime minister at 7.30 p.m. and “discussed the evolving situation in Ukraine and the recent referendum in Crimea”.
“The prime minister thanked President Putin for explaining the Russian position with regard to recent developments in Ukraine. He emphasised the consistent position India had on the issues of unity and territorial integrity of countries,” a ministry statement said.
“The prime minister expressed hope that all sides would exercise restraint and work together constructively to find political and diplomatic solutions that protected the legitimate interests of all countries in the region and ensured long term peace and stability in Europe and beyond,” it added.
Manmohan Singh and Putin also discussed “the close relationship and mutually beneficial partnership” between their countries and reaffirmed the importance that the two sides attached to their special and privileged strategic partnership.
“The prime minister also thanked President Putin for his personal leadership in further deepening and strengthening the India-Russia strategic partnership in recent years,” the release said.
Crimea, a Ukrainian autonomous republic, held a referendum Sunday, with over 96 percent of the voters choosing to join Russia.