Ukraine tries to forge ties with Russia's historic ally India

Protestors calling for a stop to the Russian invasion of Ukraine appeal to motorists outside of the federal building in Los Angeles Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.
Protestors calling for a stop to the Russian invasion of Ukraine appeal to motorists outside of the federal building in Los Angeles Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022. Copyright David Crane/ Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG
Copyright David Crane/ Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG
By Euronews with AP
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“Ukraine is interested in strengthening our trade and economic ties with India," wrote Zelenskyy on X.

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Ukraine's foreign minister arrived in New Delhi on Thursday for a two-day visit to boost bilateral ties and cooperation with India, a time-tested Russian ally from the Cold War era.

Dmytro Kuleba will meet with his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar on Friday, as well as the deputy national security advisor, according to India's Foreign Ministry. 

Kuleba on Thursday will pay his respects to Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi at the Rajghat memorial site.

His visit comes a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

India has so far avoided criticizing Moscow over the war in Ukraine. Instead, New Delhi has stressed the need for diplomacy and dialogue to end the conflict. 

It has also expressed a willingness to contribute to peace efforts.

On 20 March, Modi posted on social media platform X to say he had expressed to Zelenskyy “India's consistent support for all efforts for peace and bringing in an early end to the ongoing conflict.”

He added that the country will continue to provide humanitarian assistance.

FILE - Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, attends a joint news conference with Moldova's Foreign Minister Mihai Popsoi in Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, March. 13, 2024.
FILE - Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, attends a joint news conference with Moldova's Foreign Minister Mihai Popsoi in Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, March. 13, 2024.Efrem Lukatsky/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved

This came after Modi spoke to Putin to congratulate him on his re-election as president. According to a statement from India's Foreign Ministry, the two leaders agreed to further strengthen their relationship, while Modi reiterated that dialogue and peace was the best way forward for the Russia-Ukraine war.

Under Modi, India has promoted itself as a rising global player who can mediate between the West and Russia on the war in Ukraine.

In his phone call with Modi last week, Zelenskyy said he encouraged India to participate in the Peace Summit that Switzerland has offered to organize.

“Ukraine is interested in strengthening our trade and economic ties with India, particularly in agricultural exports, aviation cooperation, and pharmaceutical and industrial product trade,” the Ukrainian president said in a post on X.

At the United Nations, New Delhi has refrained from voting against Moscow and has ramped up its purchases of Russian oil at discounted prices following the invasion.

Meanwhile, India has stepped up its engagements with Western powers like the United States and the European Union. 

New Delhi has been trying to reduce its dependence on Moscow for arms and technology because of disruptions in supplies due to the war. India is also part of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad, along with the US, Australia and Japan.

On a visit last year, Ukraine's Deputy Foreign Minister Emine Dzhaparova urged India to play a bigger role in helping end Russia's invasion, saying Kyiv would “welcome any effort that is directed at resolving the war."

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