Modi meets with 'dear friend' Putin

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made a visit to Moscow as NATO leaders gather in Washington focused on the war in Ukraine. Modi has embraced Russian President Vladimir Putin as his "dear friend" while NATO leaders try to isolate him.

Putin sat down with Modi on Tuesday to explore how to further cooperate in business, technology and security. He said trade between their countries increased last year by more than 60 percent, and he called the partnership "specially privileged." He also thanked Modi for maintaining ties throughout the conflict in Ukraine.

Putin said, "I am grateful to you for the attention you pay to the most pressing problems, including trying to find ways to resolve the Ukrainian crisis."

Modi told Putin they need to find a path to peace as soon as possible. He said he is ready to help in any way. Modi said, "Solutions are not possible on battlegrounds. Amid bombs, guns and bullets, solutions and peace talks do not succeed."

Modi also broached the plight of Indians tempted to take "support" positions in the Russian army only to be forced into fighting in Ukraine. He secured a promise to have them discharged.

However, he has been criticized for his displays of friendship with Putin. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on social media that he was disappointed to see the leader of the world's largest democracy hug the world's "most bloody criminal."