Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi underscored the “importance of de-escalation” in his conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba as Kyiv battles a Russian invasion.
“Foreign Minister Qureshi shared Pakistan’s perspective in detail, reiterating serious concern at the situation, underscoring the importance of de-escalation, and stressing the indispensability of diplomacy,” said the Foreign Office spokesperson about Pakistan’s top diplomat’s telephonic conversation with Ukraine’s Kuleba.
According to the spokesperson, Foreign Minister Qureshi informed his Ukrainian counterpart that Prime Minister Imran Khan, during his recent visit to Moscow, “regretted the latest situation between Russia and Ukraine”.
He added that the Pakistani premier “had hoped diplomacy could avert a military conflict”.
“Conflict was not in anyone’s interest, and that the developing countries were always hit the hardest economically, in case of conflict,” said Qureshi.
Islamabad believes that disputes should be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy, he added.
Pakistan’s top diplomat also took up the issue of evacuation of the Pakistani community and students in Ukraine and their safe return to their home country.
He appreciated the Ukrainian authorities’ role in the “evacuation process and asked for continued facilitation and smooth border crossing at the earliest possible”.
Russia launched its invasion by land, air and sea on Thursday following a declaration of war by President Vladimir Putin. An estimated 100,000 people fled as explosions and gunfire rocked major cities. Dozens have been reported killed.
The United States and Ukrainian officials say Russia aims to capture Kyiv and topple the government, which Putin regards as a puppet of the US. Russian troops seized the Chernobyl former nuclear power plant north of Kyiv as they advanced along the shortest route to Kyiv from Belarus to the north.
On the fourth day of the biggest assault on a European state since World War Two, the Ukrainian president’s office said negotiations between Kyiv and Moscow would be held at the Belarusian-Ukrainian border. They would meet without preconditions, it said.
The capital Kyiv is still in Ukrainian government hands, with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy rallying his people despite Russian shelling of civilian infrastructure.