Ukraine minister apologises for Goddess Kali tweet, says ‘we respect unique Indian culture’

London:¬†Ukraine’s Deputy Foreign Minister Emine Dzhaparova, who recently visited India, on Tuesday expressed “regrets” over the depiction of Goddess Kali in a “distorted manner” by the defence ministry and apologised for the act, saying her country and its people respect “unique Indian culture”.

Dzhaparova visited India on April 9, the first official visit from the eastern European country since the Russian invasion began in February last year.

“We regret @DefenceU depicting Hindu goddess Kali in a distorted manner. Ukraine & its people respect unique Indian culture & highly appreciate (India’s) support. The depiction has already been removed. (Ukraine) is determined to further increase cooperation in spirit of mutual respect & friendship,” she tweeted following a massive outrage among netizens over the incident.

The Ukraine defence ministry’s tweet, which has now been deleted, was captioned “Work of art” with an image of Goddess Kali superimposed over a blast fume.

The image, which was tweeted on April 30, triggered outrage on the social media platform pointing out the resemblance of the image with Goddess Kali.

“Recently Ukraine Dy Foreign Minister was in Delhi soliciting support from India Behind that fakery lurks the real face of Ukraine Govt. Indian goddess Ma Kali has been caricatured on a propaganda poster. This is an assault on Hindu sentiments around the world. @UkrembInd,” Kanchan Gupta, senior advisor, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, tweeted on April 30 while sharing the tweet by Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence.

Gupta also said Ukraine has mocked “Goddess Kali in a manner no foreign government or country has ever done”. He also branded the Ukraine ministry’s actions as “brazen hate speech”.

Some Twitter users even sought External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s intervention.

“Please take note of this defamatory post that shows Maa Kali in a bad light,” a user said tagging Jaishankar.

“Absolutely disgraceful behaviour from @DefenceU (Defense of Ukraine) with their distasteful depiction mocking Maa Kali. India has given aid to Ukraine and this is how they repay them. Hindus demand an apology NOW,” another Twitter user wrote.

“Shocking! The official handle of the Ukraine Defence Ministry portrays Maa Kali in a demeaning pose. This is not a work of art. Our faith is not a matter of joke. Take it down and apologise @DefenceU,” another user tweeted.

Since the Ukraine conflict began in February last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy several times.

In a phone conversation with Zelenskyy on October 4 last year, Modi said that there can be “no military solution” and that India is ready to contribute to any peace efforts.

India has not yet condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine and has maintained that the crisis must be resolved through diplomacy and dialogue.