Russia open to India mediating in Ukraine crisis, says foreign minister Sergei Lavrov

Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday that Moscow is open to India mediating in the Ukraine crisis. Mr Lavrov arrived in India on a two-day visit on Thursday.

Mr Lavrov met with his Indian counterpart, S Jaishankar, on Friday and said that New Delhi has always been in favor of resolving differences and disputes through dialogue and diplomacy.

The Russian foreign minister, meanwhile, also said that he appreciates India’s “neutral” position on the war on Ukraine and said: “The western world wants to reduce any meaningful relationship to the crisis in Ukraine.” I have added that Moscow appreciates that India has not taken the situation in a one-sided way.”

Mr Lavrov on Friday said that he wished to convey a “message personally” from Russian President Vladimir Putin to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

He said: “The President (Putin) and the Prime Minister are in regular touch with each other and I will report to the President about my negotiations. He sends by the way his best regards to Prime Minister Modi and I would appreciate an opportunity to deliver this message personally.”

He also emphasized the ties that India and Russia share. “We have been able to find the balance that makes our relationship sustainable. We have had useful meetings as well as 2+2 talks. As far as I understand, we continue to implement projects in areas of energy, science, and pharmaceuticals as we manage to fight Covid. You know our position on Ukraine, we do not hide anything and you must take our position in the entirety and not in a one-sided way.”

The Russian foreign minister said that “we are interested in having a balanced world order which makes it sustainable.”

The talks between the two foreign ministers come at a time of heightened tension between the US and India with the US warning of “consequences” for countries attempting to circumvent American sanctions against Moscow.

In fact, when reports of the Russian foreign minister’s visit to India were released, the US criticized India and said that it was “deeply disappointing.”

“Now is the time to stand on the right side of history, and to stand with the United States and dozens of other countries, standing up for freedom, democracy and sovereignty with the Ukrainian people, and not funding and fueling and aiding President Putin’s war ,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told reporters in Washington on Wednesday. She also called reports of the arrangement “deeply disappointing.”

the Indian Express, quoting an unidentified source, reported that the focus of Mr Lavrov’s visit to New Delhi is expected to be on “India’s purchase of discounted Russian crude oil and putting in place a rupee-ruble payment system” for bilateral trade in view of the Western sanctions against Moscow. Russia is also offering deep discounts on its oil sales to India.

Mr Lavrov said on Friday: “If India wants to buy anything from us, we are ready to discuss and reach mutually acceptable cooperation.”

Meanwhile, on Friday, Mr Jaishankar said: “Our relations have grown and this meeting takes place in a difficult environment, apart from the pandemic.”

India’s prime minister Narendra Modi has also spoken with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy twice. Last week, Mr Jaishankar told parliament that India’s position on the Ukraine conflict has been “steadfast and consistent” and that it has been seeking immediate cessation of violence.

India and China are the only two countries that have not condemned Russia’s war on Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Russian forces are blocking efforts to deliver aid to the city of Mariupol, a local official has said.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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