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Ukraine FM to make 1st India visit since Russian invasion, pitch for peace summit

New Delhi: Ukraine foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba is expected to make his first visit to India since the start of the Russian invasion in 2022 at the end of this month to lobby for support for a peace summit, people familiar with the matter said on Monday.

Ukraine foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba. (Photo credit:X)

Kuleba, who will be accompanied by a high-level delegation for the short visit, is also expected to co-chair a meeting of the India-Ukraine inter-governmental commission with his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar, the people said on condition of anonymity.

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This will be the first meeting of the commission, which is the body that oversees all aspects of the bilateral relationship, since 2018.

Kuleba’s visit is yet to be officially announced by either India or Ukraine, though he is expected to be in New Delhi around March 28, the people said.

Also Read: Continue to press Russia for discharge of Indians from military jobs, says India

A peace summit that neutral Switzerland plans to host in the coming months is expected to be on the top of Kuleba’s agenda, the people said. The proposed summit of world leaders is set to build on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s 10-point peace formula unveiled in 2022 and a series of meetings held in recent months.

China’s envoy to Switzerland was quoted as saying on Monday that Beijing will consider taking part in the peace conference aimed at ending the war in Ukraine. The Swiss government has said it aims to hold the peace summit by this summer after the idea was floated in January.

Kuleba’s first phone call in 2024 was with Jaishankar on January 3 to discuss Ukraine-India relations. In a post on X at the time, Kuleba said he had discussed Russia’s escalation of attacks and further cooperation on Zelenskyy’s peace formula.

Also Read: UN chief condemns Russia for holding presidential polls in occupied Ukraine

“In this regard, I informed my counterpart of Ukraine’s vision for the Global Peace Summit of leaders,” Kuleba had said in the post. Kuleba also said both sides had agreed to hold a meeting of the India-Ukraine inter-governmental commission “in the near future”.

He said the rejuvenation of “this primary mechanism of our bilateral ties will allow us to jointly move forward in a comprehensive manner”.

India has refrained from publicly censuring Russia over the invasion of Ukraine though it has repeatedly said it supports all initiatives aimed at finding a peaceful solution to the conflict through dialogue and diplomacy. During a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in September 2022, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said “today’s era is not an era of war”. Modi’s message was reflected in the leaders’ declaration at the G20 Summits in 2022 and 2023.

Ukraine has also sent deputy foreign minister Emine Dzhaparova to India in 2023 and this was followed by a visit by deputy foreign minister Iryna Borovets in February. Besides participating in the Raisina Dialogue, Borovets met foreign secretary Vinay Kwatra and deputy national security adviser Vikram Misri and invited the Indian side to participate in the planned peace summit.

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