After a barrage of Russian missile strikes on several Ukrainian cities Monday, two of Russia's biggest allies, China and India, are calling on President Vladimir Putin to "de-escalate" the eight-month long conflict.
"All countries deserve respect for their sovereignty and territorial integrity," The New York Times reported Mao Ning, a spokeswoman for China's Foreign Ministry, telling reporters at a briefing Monday. "Support should be given to all efforts that are conducive to peacefully resolving the crisis."
India's Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Arindam Bagchi said in the Times report that New Delhi would offer support for efforts to calm the fighting.
"India is deeply concerned at the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine, including targeting of infrastructure and deaths of civilians," the Times reported Bagchi saying.
Both China and India have provided some relief to the vast array of sanctions the west imposed on Russia after it invaded Ukraine in February, but are now publicly calling for an end to the hostilities.
The two nations have continued to economically engage with Russia, while trying to somewhat distance themselves from the military action, according to the report.
Putin unleashed a barrage of missile strikes on several cities including the capital of Kyiv.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Monday that Ukraine citizens "were killed and injured" in the multiple strikes across the war-torn country.
The strikes were launched from air, land, and sea on 14 different regions in Ukraine, and appear to be retaliation for an explosion last week at the Kerch Bridge, a key transportation route between Russia and Crimea that served as a supply line for Russian forces.
The leaders of both China and India expressed their concerns to Putin during a summit in Uzbekistan last month, and he told them he was responding in a "restrained manner," the Times reported at the time.
"I know that today's era is not of war," the Times reported Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi telling Putin at the beginning of the September meeting, describing global challenges like the food and energy crises that were hitting developing countries especially hard. "Today we will get a chance to discuss how we can move forward on the path of peace."
In recent days, however, Putin has threatened more and more escalation in the wake of losing the bridge.
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