He was speaking on the theme “The Russian-Ukrainian crisis, floating narratives and the roadmap to peace” during a meeting organized by the Usanas Foundation, a think tank dealing with strategic affairs.
Asked about recent revelations about the killings of Bucha civilians, Babushkin said there had been no impartial investigation into the matter. He noted that when the Russian troops left Bucha, the mayor of this city did not raise his voice. It was only after Ukrainian troops entered the city that reports of killings of civilians emerged.
He said Russia wanted to approach the international community to investigate the killings impartially. Additionally, he mentioned how the news about Bucha stalled the peace process and hinted at the possibility that entities outside of Ukraine are controlling the stories and have a vested interest in not resolving the conflict.
On the issue of narratives, Babushkin spoke at length about Western media bias in portraying the Russian operation in Ukraine. Moreover, Russian media were not allowed to work in Europe and other countries, which made it difficult to access an alternative perspective.
The West has dominated the information war in the current scenario. Russia tried to balance this by providing other sources of information, but DDoS attacks on official websites hampered an effective response, according to the deputy envoy. According to Babushkin, the Russian Embassy in India appreciated the freedom of speech that India allowed regarding the presentation of Russia’s views on its operation in Ukraine.
Babushkin also stressed the importance of India’s balanced independent stance regarding the Russian-Ukrainian war. “India has shown that it will not join the unilateral sanctions movement and will not give in to Western pressure to follow a unipolar world order. It plays an important and impartial role in the mediation and peace process which can resolve the conflict on the basis of international principles – security for all.
Highlighting the prospects for the future of Indo-Russian relations, Babushkin said: “When some are closing, it is natural to move towards the doors that remain open”. Russia is open to closer ties with all its partners, including India, to trade beneficially with mutual respect and equality. Russia is particularly interested in productive collaborations with Indian tech and pharmaceutical companies, he added.
Asked about Indian students who had to leave Ukraine, Babushkin said Russian universities are willing to accept such students on a case-by-case basis, and relevant agencies and student associations are in dialogue.