*** ----> Ukraine FM wraps up visit to India, traditional Russia ally | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Ukraine FM wraps up visit to India, traditional Russia ally

AFP | New Delhi     

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

Ukraine's foreign minister concluded his visit to New Delhi on Friday after talks on bolstering trade and the war with Russia, India's traditional ally.

India has shied away from explicit condemnation of Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, even as it has pursued greater security ties with the United States.

But Indian foreign minister S. Jaishankar said on social media that talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba had "reiterated our commitment to strengthen the overall relationship with Kyiv".

"Our immediate goal is to get trade back to earlier levels," he added.

Kuleba said his meeting with Jaishankar "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".

New Delhi and Moscow have ties dating back to the Cold War and Russia remains by far the biggest arms supplier to the world's most populous country.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi this month congratulated President Vladimir Putin on his re-election, and said that he was looking forward to developing their "special" relationship.

Modi's government has faced criticism for purchasing hundreds of millions of barrels of Russian crude since the Ukraine invasion, bolstering Moscow's war chest.

Kuleba sparked controversy following Russia's invasion by saying that every barrel of Russian crude oil delivered to India had a "good portion of Ukrainian blood in it".

He has since struck a more conciliatory tone, with the minister telling broadcaster NDTV on Thursday that if the oil payments are done in Indian rupees, it would not help finance the Russian "war machine".

Ukraine faces mounting pressure on the front line, where it has lost ground to Moscow in recent months.

Kyiv is aiming to hold a summit of world leaders this year to gain support for its peace plan, which calls for the withdrawal of Russian troops from its territory.