International

Zelensky says he wants Asian countries to ‘change their attitude’ towards Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said during a press conference on Saturday he is hoping Asian countries will “change their attitude” towards Ukraine as European countries have done.

Zelensky said that NATO not accepting Ukraine as a member was a “gross mistake” and that some of the alliance’s European member states had underestimated the country. He added, however, that Ukraine’s “unity” and “strength” in response to Russia’s invasion “managed to change the attitude of the alliance and the European member states” toward the country.

“I want very much want the Asian countries to change their attitude to Ukraine as well,” Zelensky said. 

He said those countries are closer to Russia due to their past ties to the Soviet Union.

“Therefore, after the fall of the Soviet Union they historically were close to, the Russian Federation was the successor of the Soviet Union and the biggest country as part of former Soviet Union, that’s why their relations remain strong with Russia,” he said.

However, he said he sees some of the nations now being “more inclined” toward Ukraine and their people possibly changing their attitude about the country.

The comments come as India has faced pressure from the U.S. and Western countries to join them in pushing back against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian ambitions and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

India has close ties to Moscow due to Russia’s military assistance and allyship against China’s ambitions to expand its influence in the region. 

A U.S. senior official said President Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke about Russia earlier this month in a conversation that the official characterized as “warm and productive.”

The official said the Biden administration doesn’t want to see India “accelerate or increase imports of Russian energy” and that India, which has continued to buy Russian oil as the U.S. and other nations have sanctioned Moscow over the invasion, could cut off Russian oil if it wanted to without taking a huge hit to its economy.

It also comes after Chinese officials this week said they would strengthen their relationship with their Russian counterparts amid the invasion.

“No matter how the international landscape may change, China will continue to strengthen strategic coordination with Russia for win-win cooperation, jointly safeguard the common interests of the two countries and promote the building of a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind,” Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng said in a statement. 

China has refused to condemn Russia over its invasion of Ukraine and has opposed sanctions levied against Moscow in response amid the conflict.

Tags China india Russia-Ukraine conflict US Volodymyr Zelensky Volodymyr Zelensky Volodymyr Zelensky

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