India on Thursday said at the United Nations General Assembly that it was very concerned about the deteriorating situation in Ukraine and reiterated its call to end the violence.

India’s ambassador to the United Nations TS Tirumurti made the statement at an emergency meeting of the General Assembly called in to discuss Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

Tirumurti said that all member states of the United Nations “are not only obliged to follow the UN charter, but also [to] respect international law and territorial integrity and sovereignty of states”. He, however, did not name any particular country in this context.

“My government firmly believes that there is no other choice but to return to the path of diplomacy,” Tirumurti told the General Assembly. He added that Prime Minister Narendra Modi advocated for the same approach during his recent conversation with leaders of Russia and Ukraine.

“We reiterate our firm conviction that all differences can only be bridged through honest, sincere and sustained dialogue,” Tirumurti said.

The envoy said that India’s top priority is the safety of its citizens, including a large number of students. However, he added that the “complex and uncertain situation at the border crossings is adversely impacting the uninterrupted and predictable movement of people”.

Tirumurti thanked countries around Ukraine for opening their borders to Indian citizens and helping officials in their evacuation efforts. “We stand ready to help those from our neighbours and developing countries who are also stranded in Ukraine and may seek assistance,” he said.

Currently, India is evacuating its citizens through Moldova, Romania, Poland, Hungary and Solvakia.

On Sunday, India had abstained from voting on a United Nations Security Council resolution on holding the special emergency session in the General Assembly.

On Friday, the United Nations Security Council had voted for a resolution that deplored Russia’s “aggression” against Ukraine. India had abstained from voting on that resolution as well.

‘If Ukraine doesn’t survive, neither will UN’

The resolution adopted in the General Assembly on Monday “deplores” Russia’s actions in Ukraine over the past week, according to AFP.

Ukraine’s envoy to the United Nations Sergiy Kyslytsya urged countries to support the resolution. “If Ukraine does not survive, the United Nations will not survive,” he said. “Have no illusions.”

However, Russian envoy Vassily Nebenzia claimed that Moscow launched the “military operation” to protect people living in separatist regions of Ukraine. “The hostilities were unleashed by Ukraine against its own residents,” he said, according to AFP. “Russia is seeking to end this war.”

Fighting must stop, says UN chief

Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said that Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders must be respected.

“Soldiers need to move back to their barracks,” he said. “Leaders need to move to peace. Civilians must be protected.”