Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says he has sought India’s help with implementing a “peace formula” in a phone call with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The conversation on Monday came at a time when India is seeking to strengthen trade relations with Moscow while Western nations introduce new measures to limit Russia’s funding of its war in Ukraine.
“I had a phone call with PM Narendra Modi and wished a successful G20 presidency,” Zelenskyy wrote on Twitter. “It was on this platform that I announced the peace formula and now I count on India’s participation in its implementation.”
Zelenskyy asked the Group of 20 (G20) major economies last month to adopt Ukraine’s 10-point peace formula to end the war. India holds the G20 presidency for a year.
The Indian government said in statement that the two leaders discussed opportunities for strengthening cooperation.
“The prime minister explained the main priorities of India’s G20 presidency, including giving a voice to the concerns of developing nations on issues like food and energy security,” it said.
Modi also “strongly reiterated” his call for an immediate end to hostilities in Ukraine and conveyed India’s support for any peace efforts, the statement said.
India, which has not explicitly condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, has emerged as the largest buyer of Russian oil after China. Western sanctions have targeted Russia’s fuel and energy products, which are its biggest exports and money makers, but this month, India bought barrels of Urals crude oil at well below a $60 price cap agreed by Western nations.
India’s foreign minister has said that a country with huge energy demand where income levels are not high has to look after its own interests as he called Russia “a steady and time-tested partner“.
The Reuters news agency reported last month that Moscow had sent India a list of more than 500 products it needs – including parts for cars, aircraft and trains – as sanctions squeeze Russia’s ability to keep vital industries running.
India, too, has sent the Kremlin a list of Indian products that need access to the Russian market, according to the foreign minister. New Delhi is seeking to balance bilateral trade, which is now tilted towards Russia.