Ukraine: Russia praises India for not judging war in ‘one-sided way’

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Russia has praised India for not judging the conflict in Ukraine in a “one-sided way” as foreign ministers from both countries met in Delhi.

India has not joined the widespread condemnation of Russia’s invasion and is a major buyer of Russian arms.

But it faces a diplomatic balancing act, and is under pressure from Western countries to help rein in Russia.

Following the talks India said it favoured peaceful resolutions of conflicts but did not criticise Russia.

India, which is a nuclear power, has a long history of pursuing a non-aligned strategy in international politics, not tying itself to the interests of other superpowers or political blocs.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke of the friendship between the two nations in his statement.

“These days our Western colleagues would like to reduce any meaningful international issue to the crisis in Ukraine,” he said.

“[We] appreciate that India is taking this situation in the entirety of facts, not just in a one-sided way.”

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Russia has justified invading Ukraine as a means to demilitarise and “de-Nazify” its neighbour, an argument widely dismissed by the West as a baseless pretext for invasion.

Mr Lavrov’s Indian counterpart, S Jaishankar, “emphasised the importance of cessation of violence and ending hostilities”.

“Differences and disputes should be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy and by respect for international law, [the] UN Charter, sovereignty and territorial integrity of states,” India’s foreign ministry said.

In pursuing ties with Russia, India may be seeking to find support against China, with which it was involved in a deadly border clash with in 2020. Complicating matters, China too has stopped short of condemning Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

The US chief sanctions strategist, Daleep Singh, alluded to Russia-China ties when he warned India that Russia would not be a reliable ally ahead of the foreign ministers’ meeting.

“Russia is going to be the junior partner in this relationship with China. And the more leverage that China gains over Russia, the less favourable that is for India,” he said.

India stepped up purchases of Russia oil after prices slumped in the wake of Western sanctions.

On Thursday, UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said she respected India’s decision to continue to buy oil but also urged “like-minded nations” to co-operate more closely on defence, trade, and energy and food security.

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