Ukraine and India agree to restore ties to pre-war levels, discuss peace plan


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Ukraine and India agree to restore ties to pre-war levels, discuss peace plan

FILE PHOTO. Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba attends a news conference in Odesa, Ukraine, on September 14, 2022.

Umit Bektas/Reuters

India traditionally has close economic and defense ties with Russia and refrains from criticizing Russia over its war in Ukraine

NEW DELHI, India – The foreign ministers of India and Ukraine said on Friday, March 29, they had agreed to restore trade and cooperation to levels before Russia’s invasion, as Kyiv seeks to build support for its peace plan with an old friend of Moscow.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba was in India on the first visit by a top official from Kyiv since Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022, ahead of a possible international summit in the coming months to advance its blueprint for peace.

New Delhi has traditionally had close economic and defense ties with Moscow and refrained from criticizing Russia over its war in Ukraine. It has urged the neighbors to resolve their conflict through dialogue and diplomacy while increasing purchases of cheap Russian oil to record levels.

“We paid specific attention to the peace formula and next steps on the path of its implementation,” Kuleba posted on X after talks with his counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.

“We … agreed to restore the level of cooperation between our countries that existed prior to the full-scale war launched by Russia, as well as identify new promising projects to take our relations to the next level,” Kuleba said.

Jaishankar said that “our immediate goal is to get trade back to earlier levels”.

Ukraine hopes to hold a summit, without Russian participation, to advance a peace formula that calls among other things for the withdrawal of Russian troops from its territory.

Russia has dismissed the initiative as a non-starter. 

In newspaper interviews ahead of his talks, Kuleba said Ukraine was not against cooperation between India and Russia, but urged New Delhi to stand by Kyiv, saying India’s close ties with Russia were based on a Soviet legacy that was evaporating.

“Our job is to convey a simple message to New Delhi,” he told the Times of India. “When you decide to engage with Russia, please know the red line for Ukraine is financing Russia’s war machine.” 

India had much to gain, he told the Financial Times, from expanding trade and technology ties with Ukraine, which was interested in importing heavy machinery.

Kuleba offered Indian companies a role in postwar reconstruction.

Ukraine and India agree to restore ties to pre-war levels, discuss peace plan

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