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Ukraine and India, a historical ally of Russia, agree to restore ties to pre-war levels, discuss peace plan

The foreign ministers of India and Ukraine said on Friday they had agreed to restore trade and cooperation to levels before Russia’s invasion, as Kyiv seeks to build support for its peace plan with an old friend of Moscow.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba was in India on the first visit by a top official from Kyiv since Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022, ahead of a possible international summit in the coming months to advance its blueprint for peace.

New Delhi has traditionally had close economic and defence ties with Moscow and refrained from criticising Russia over its war in Ukraine. It has urged the neighbours to resolve their conflict through dialogue and diplomacy, while increasing purchases of cheap Russian oil to record levels.

“We paid specific attention to the peace formula and next steps on the path of its implementation,” Kuleba posted on X after talks with his counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.

“We … 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,” Kuleba said.

Jaishankar said that “our immediate goal is to get trade back to earlier levels”.

Ukraine hopes to hold a summit, without Russian participation, to advance a peace formula that calls among other things for the withdrawal of Russian troops from its territory.

Russia has dismissed the initiative as a non-starter.

In newspaper interviews ahead of his talks, Kuleba said Ukraine was not against cooperation between India and Russia, but urged New Delhi to stand by Kyiv, saying India’s close ties with Russia were based on a Soviet legacy that was evaporating.

“Our job is to convey a