India on Wednesday voted against Russia on the Ukraine conflict for the first time since Moscow’s invasion began on February 24.

Till now, India had abstained from several resolutions on the Russia-Ukraine conflict but repeatedly called to end the violence.

On Wednesday, the 15-member United Nations Security Council invited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to address a meeting through a video tele-conference.

Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily A Nebenzia, however, objected to this. Nebenzia said that his country does not oppose Zelenskyy’s participation but wants him to appear in-person.

“During the Covid-19 pandemic, the UN Security Council had decided to work virtually, but such meetings were informal and, after the pandemic’s peak, the council returned to the provisional rules of procedure,” Nebenzia argued.

The Russian representative stressed that the council cannot make an exception for one country or one person.

Nebenzia then called for a procedural vote concerning Zelenskyy’s participation in Wednesday’s meeting through a video tele-conference.

Albania’s Ferit Hoxha countered that Zelenskyy “cannot leave the country for reasons beyond his control”.

“We all know what those reasons are,” Hoxha added, adding that under Rule 37, participation through video tele-conference should be allowed.

Hoxha also urged other members to vote in favour of Ukraine.

India then proceeded to vote in favour of Ukraine. While Russia voted against, China abstained from the procedural vote.

Russia should be held accountable, says Zelenskyy

Zelenskyy, who joined the meeting virtually, called for the Russian Federation to be held accountable for its aggression towards Ukraine.

“If Moscow is not stopped now, then all these Russian murderers will inevitably end up in other countries,” the Ukrainian president said.

He added: “The international community must force Moscow to recognise that the inviolability of borders and peace are unconditional values for all nations. It is on the territory of Ukraine that the world’s future will be decided. Our independence is your security.”

He also called on Russia to cease its “nuclear blackmail” and withdraw from the Zaporizhzhia plant.

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant is Europe’s largest atomic power plant. It was captured by Russia in March.

India calls for dialogue and diplomacy

India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ruchira Kamboj on Wednesday reiterated New Delhi’s approach to promote dialogue and diplomacy to end the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

“We encourage talks between Ukraine and Russia,” Kamboj told the council members. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi has himself, more than once, spoken to them, in this regard.”

She said that it was in everyone’s “collective interest to work constructively, both inside the United Nations and outside, towards seeking an early resolution to this conflict”.

She added that India has dispatched its 12th consignment of humanitarian aid to Ukraine, including 26 types of medicines.

“In the last six months, India has dispatched 11 consignments of approximately 97.5 tonnes of humanitarian aid to Ukraine and neighbouring countries like Romania, Moldova, Slovakia and Poland,” she added.

Later on Thursday, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said that India’s stance should not be seen as a voting against any country.