Putin, Modi discuss Ukrainian crisis, bilateral economic ties over phone

Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the Ukrainian crisis, the global food market and bilateral economic ties with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the phone on Friday.

Putin said Kiev and its "Western patrons" were escalating the Ukrainian crisis and disrupting efforts to resolve it diplomatically, the Kremlin said in a statement.

Modi "reiterated India's long-standing position in favor of dialogue and diplomacy" regarding the crisis, according to a statement by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.

Both leaders reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening "the specially privileged strategic partnership between Russia and India," and discussed the development of bilateral trade and economic ties, the Kremlin statement said.

Putin said the current situation of the global food market was the result of "systemic mistakes by a number of countries," which have disrupted the free trade of food products and provoked price increases.

Despite the difficult situation, which has been further complicated by "the illegitimate anti-Russia sanctions," Russia has been and remains "a reliable producer and supplier of grain crops, fertilizer and energy carriers to Indian partners, among others," said Putin, according to the statement.