Russia-Ukraine war: Ukrainian foreign minister apologises to India for ‘distorted’ Ma Kali artwork

An artwork depicting the Hindu deity Ma Kali, posted on Twitter by the official page of the Ministry of Defence, Ukraine (name: Defense of Ukraine; handle: @DefenceU), received such a backlash online that Emine Dzhaparova, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, had to issue an apology on Twitter (Emine Dzheppar/@EmineDzheppar) today, saying that the country regretted how its defence ministry depicted Kali “in [a] distorted manner”.

This artwork had been posted by the Ministry of Defence, Ukraine, on April 30, and was removed quickly, but was retweeted by several people and was seen by thousands, with a huge backlash coming on May 1. Photo courtesy: Twitter/@DefenceU

Dzhaparova, who visited India in April and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to provide more humanitarian and diplomatic support to Ukraine, wrote in her apology today about the respect and appreciation that “#Ukraine &its people” had for Indian culture.

Ukraine has been repeatedly urging the world — that includes India — to take a stand against Russia, which started the war on February 24, 2022. However, India-Russia ties go back decades, and India has so far abstained from voting at the United Nations against Russia, except at a small “procedural vote” in August 2022. Modi has, without condemning Russia or without siding with Ukraine, called for an end to the conflict through dialogues.

Also read: Russia-Ukraine war: Ma Kali artwork to show bombing destruction has Hindus on Twitter all riled up

Hindu Indians have been infuriated by the Ukrainian ministry’s artwork on Ma Kali. Many posts on Twitter have been sarcastic about how Ukraine came asking for India’s help and yet showed such disrespect for India’s majority faith.

Emine Dzhaparova, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, at an event in April. Photo courtesy: Twitter/@EmineDzheppar

The image had disappeared quickly from the Ukrainian defence ministry’s official account after being posted a day earlier. However, it was widely seen through retweets and drew a range of reactions, from vengeful memes of Kali punishing Ukraine to individuals saying that they were giving up their neutral stance to now support Russia in the war.