Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Wednesday, 17 August, said that by purchasing crude oil from Russia, India is in effect buying Ukrainian blood even though Ukraine has been a reliable partner to India.
The foreign minister said that Ukraine expected “more practical support” from India during its fight against the Russian military, The Hindu reported.
Responding to a question from The Hindu, Kuleba said, “When India purchases Russian crude oil [at a discount], they have to understand that the discount has to be paid by Ukrainian blood. Every barrel of Russian crude that India gets, has a good portion of Ukrainian blood in it.“
“We are friendly and open to India. I supported evacuation of Indian students. We expected more practical support from India to Ukraine,” he added, referring to India and Ukraine as two democracies that are extremely similar and that they “have to stand by each other.”
'Unreasonably High Prices of Oil': MEA Jaishankar
Previously, Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had said that prices of oil and gas are “unreasonably high” and added that Asia’s traditional energy suppliers are “diverting to Europe,” as every country tries to navigate the soaring energy prices in the backdrop of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Jaishankar, addressing the Indian community in Bangkok, had said:
“We are not doing it in a defensive way. We are being very open and honest about our interests. I have a country which has a per capita income of two thousand dollars. These are not people who can afford higher energy prices. It is my obligation, my moral duty to actually ensure that I get them the best deal.”
India has stepped up its oil imports from Russia since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February. Reuters reported that imports surged to around 9,50,000 barrels per day in June.
While the Ukrainian minister accepted that India’s decision has not “surprised” them, he observed that the war has provided Moscow with an opportunity to profit from the energy trade.
Commenting on colonial history, Kuleba said that Asian countries suffered for centuries at the hands of war and exploitation and added that the tradition of neutrality, followed by countries like India and Indonesia since the beginning of the invasion, cannot be justified while Ukrainian women and children lose their lives in the war.
He also cautioned that the deepening ties between Russia and India’s neighbour in the East, conflict-ridden Myanmar, will be a strategic challenge for India in the future, The Hindu reported.
“Russia is reaching out to Myanmar not because of bilateral reasons but because it wants to put its foot in the regional security and use Myanmar as a leverage,” Kuleba said.
(With inputs from The Hindu and Reuters.)