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Was Ukraine using Indian students as a form of “leverage” against India?

The Ukrainian Ambassador to the United Nations attempted to use stranded Indian students in Ukraine as a hostage to force the Modi government to reconsider its position on the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis after India abstained from a UN Security Council resolution criticizing Russia’s actions against Ukraine.

India had abstained from voting on the draught resolution that “deplored” Russia’s “aggression against Ukraine,” along with China and the United Arab Emirates. The United States sponsored a draught Security Council resolution that requested Russia “immediately cease its use of force against Ukraine” and “immediately, completely, and unconditionally remove all of its military forces from Ukraine’s territory within internationally recognised borders.”

According to media reports, by abstaining, India kept the option of reaching out to relevant parties to bridge the difference and find a middle ground in order to develop conversation and diplomacy.

India, as a responsible global power, has indicated that the recent course of events in Ukraine has profoundly troubled it. The Indian government also requested that all efforts be made to promptly end violence and hostilities.

“No solution can ever be found at the expense of human life,” India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador TS Tirumurti, had said.

The Indian government has taken a neutral stance on the Ukraine-Russia issue so far, urging all parties to preserve state sovereignty and territorial integrity while adhering to the UN Charter and international law.

However, the Indian government’s cautious attitude appears to have enraged the Ukrainian administration, which is now attempting to exploit trapped Indian students studying in Ukraine as a “leverage” against India.

On Friday, the Ukrainian ambassador warned India with retaliation if it did not vote against Russia in the UN Security Council.

Speaking during the UN Security Council emerging session, Ukraine’s Ambassador to the UN, Sergiy Kyslytsya, made a subtle threat, saying that countries that did not vote should have thought before making a decision. “It is exactly the safety of your nationals in Ukraine that you should be the first to vote to stop the war to save your nationals in Ukraine, and not to think that you should vote or not vote,” the Ukrainian Ambassador at the UNSC said, without naming India, the UAE, or China, the three abstaining countries.

Essentially, the Ukrainian Ambassador to the United Nations was using Indian students as hostages to warn the Indian government that if it does not help Ukraine in the continuing hostilities, it will be difficult to rescue the stranded students in the war-torn country.

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