Ukraine’s foreign minister to visit India next week, sources say

By Thomson Reuters Mar 20, 2024 | 1:49 AM

(Reuters) – Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, will visit India next week as Kyiv looks to build support for its peace plan, two Indian officials aware of the matter said, the first visit by a top Ukrainian leader since Russia’s invasion over two years ago.

New Delhi, which has traditionally had close economic and defence ties with Moscow, has so far refused to criticise Russia for the February 2022 invasion, instead stepping up purchases of Russian oil to record levels.

Kuleba’s visit comes at the invitation of his Indian counterpart, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, after a telephone call between the leaders of the two nations at the beginning of the year, said one of the officials.

Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity.

Ukraine’s peace plan, as presented by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, calls for removing all Russian troops, restoring Ukraine’s 1991 post-Soviet borders and a process to make Russia accountable for its actions.

Apart from talks with Indian officials, Kuleba is also set to “review the India-Ukraine inter-governmental commission”, one of the officials said, referring to a panel charged with keeping up the two nations’ economic, cultural and technological ties.

India’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

One of the officials said a formal announcement of the visit was expected next week. Indian media first reported it on Tuesday.

Ukraine has also pitched for New Delhi to help rebuild its war-ravaged economy, inviting investment from Indian companies at a January business summit in India.

Kuleba’s visit will come about two weeks after Andriy Yermak, the head of the Ukraine president’s office, spoke to India’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval on March 15.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has spoken several times to the leaders of both combatants, having met Zelenskiy in May on the sidelines of a G7 summit in Hiroshima.

India has insisted on the need for both sides to talk, with Modi telling Russian President Vladimir Putin during a meeting in September 2022 that this is not an era of war.

(Reporting by Krishn Kaushik in New Delhi; Editing by Jamie Freed and Clarence Fernandez)