Discussed ‘Peace Formula’ with India, says Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba

At the meeting with External Affairs Minister Jaishankar, he called for energising India-Ukraine relations with new projects 

March 29, 2024 06:35 pm | Updated 10:37 pm IST - New Delhi

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar with Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba. Photo: X/@DrSJaishankar

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar with Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba. Photo: X/@DrSJaishankar

India and Ukraine on Friday discussed a ‘Peace Formula’ for the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, visiting Foreign Minister of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba said at the conclusion of official exchanges. Mr. Kuleba, who was on a two-day visit to India, met with External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and described the Russian campaign against Ukraine as a “full-scale war”, while arguing for energising India-Ukraine relations with new projects. 

“In New Delhi, I had sincere and comprehensive talks with Mr. Jaishankar about Ukraine-India bilateral relations, the situation in our regions, and global security. We paid specific attention to the Peace Formula and next steps on the path of its implementation,” said Mr. Kuleba after the official interaction that was also attended by Secretary (West) Pavan Kapoor and J.P. Singh, Joint Secretary of the External Affairs Minister’s Office, and others. In comments to The Hindu on Thursday, Mr. Kuleba had urged India to play a “more proactive role” in the upcoming peace process in Switzerland.

“We have been looking forward to this visit. In recent months, we have had actually interactions at various levels. This has created a certain momentum in our bilateral relations. Your visit gives us an opportunity to obviously understand the situation in your own region,” said Mr. Jaishankar in his opening remarks at the delegation-level meeting. Since the beginning of the crisis, India has maintained contact with both Ukraine and Russia as well as other stakeholders. On March 16, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval spoke with Andriy Yermak, head of the office of the Ukrainian President, which was followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s telephonic conversation with President Vladimir Putin in Moscow and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv.

‘Global Peace Summit’

The mention of the Peace Formula by Mr. Kuleba has attracted attention as a ‘Global Peace Summit’ aiming to end the stalemated conflict is expected to meet soon in Switzerland. Mr. Kuleba had earlier called upon India to participate in the summit along with other major countries in the world. Prospects of the summit however received a jolt with Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Maria Zakharova dismissing the possibility of Moscow’s participation in the Switzerland-led peace talks. “Russia does not intend to participate in such a conference. Zelensky’s formula is nothing but alchemy,” said Ms. Zakharova.

Ukraine’s President Mr. Zelenskyy had presented a 10-point peace plan in 2022 during the G-20 summit in Bali. That plan which called for “complete withdrawal of Russian forces from the 1991 borders”, was rejected immediately by Moscow. Russia feels that Mr. Zelenskyy’s peace formula does not take the Russian concerns into consideration. It is expected that the Swiss-backed peace process may help finding a solution between the two positions. Diplomatic sources however could not confirm when precisely the Swiss would host the event, indicating that hectic talks are on at various levels to make that a reality. The Indian side did not elaborate on what the Ukrainian peace formula was but mentioned that Friday’s exchange included “a comprehensive discussion on the ongoing conflict and efforts to achieve a peaceful settlement.”

“We also co-chaired the Ukrainian-Indian intergovernmental commission review meeting and 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,” said Mr. Kuleba, who is the highest level Ukrainian official to visit New Delhi since the conflict started on February 24, 2022 when Russia fired missiles at various locations of Ukraine. Ahead of his visit, Mr. Kuleba had sent a video message standing in front of the statue of Mahatma Gandhi and called for “freedom and independence” presenting Kyiv’s fight against Moscow through the Gandhian prism of fighting against oppression.

A separate statement from the Ministry of External Affairs mentioned that Friday’s meeting between the two delegations focused on “fostering constructive dialogue and strengthening bilateral relations between India and Ukraine, including in areas such as trade and investment, science and technology, defence, agriculture, health, culture and education.”

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