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Did US say PM Modi can convince Putin to stop the war in Ukraine?

Many news outlets misquote White House spokesperson John Kirby who did not say any such thing.

Claim

America says that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi can stop this War

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Explanation

The war in Ukraine began as Russia invaded Ukraine almost a year ago, on 20th February 2022. The invasion led to a bloody conflict that is still ongoing. The death and displacement of millions of civilians in Ukraine has become a major humanitarian crisis, which is getting worser as the war continues. Russia had been meticulously attacking key infrastructure points in Ukraine such as power plants, malls, bridges etc. There are allegations of several war crimes committed by the Russian military, most notably the attack on Mariupol theatre.

Mariupol Theatre after the deadly attack by Russia.

 

As the international community is wary of not escalating the war any further, Russia continues its offense in the Ukraine, which it claims is an integral part of Russia in historical terms.

Now, several media outlets such as Zee News, Oneindia News, Outlook India, India Today, Daily Hunt had been reporting that the US had said Prime Minister Narendra Modi could convince the Russian President Putin to stop the war.

 

What’s the truth?

The news outlets mention that the statement was given by the US’ National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby. In our search we found out that the claimed statement was issued in a press conference that was held on 10th February 2023 in the White House Briefing Room.

According to the White House’s website which has the transcription of the press briefings, John Kirby was asked by Raghubir Goyal, a reporter, “do you think there is still time for Prime Minister Modi to stop the war or convince President Putin?” In response to this question, Kirby said “I think there’s still time for Mr. Putin to stop the war.  I think there’s still time for Mr. Putin to stop the war.”

National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby

 

The reporter again asked Kirby “Do you think Prime Minister Modi can convince?

Kirby responded by saying “I’ll let Mr. — I’ll let the Prime Minister speak to whatever efforts he’s willing to undertake.” He followed it up saying that US would welcome any effort to end the hostilities in Ukraine.

Video of the Press Conference posted by ANI

The full version of the video that was posted on the White House’s official YouTube channel can be seen here. From that video, we can see the part about Narendra Modi begin at 48th minute (47:30) where the reporter asks if there is still time for PM Modi to stop the war. Just as Kirby was responding to the question by saying that he thinks there is still time for Putin to end the war, he was interrupted by Goyal who asked again if he thinks whether Prime Minister Modi can convince Putin.

Buildings ravaged by Russian Military in Ukraine. Photo from Reuters.

 

Kirby responded that if Putin thinks, he can end the war right now but instead he chooses to attack energy and power infrastructure which causes the Ukrainians to suffer in the cold weather in addition to the suffering of the war.

From this, it is quite clear that US or its Press Secretary did not say that PM Modi could end the war or convince Putin/Russia to end the war. Several news outlets have reported wrongly that the US Press Secretary had said so.

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Conclusion

The US did not say that Prime Minister Modi could convince Vladimir Putin and Russia to end the war on Ukraine. Several news outlets have wrongly reported so.

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