President Zelensky will be happy to speak at the G-20 summit in September, says Ukrainian ...

President Zelensky will be happy to speak at the G-20 summit in September, says Ukrainian First Deputy Foreign Minister Emine Dzhaparova

Ukrainian First Deputy Foreign Minister urges India to follow ‘balanced position’, invites NSA Doval to visit Kyiv

India should invite representatives from Ukraine during the G-20 summit to be held here in September, said Kyiv’s First Deputy Foreign Minister Emine Dzhaparova in New Delhi on April 11. Addressing a special gathering at the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA), Ms. Dzhaparova described Russia’s war against Ukraine as “unprovoked” and said the United Nations has failed to deliver peace as Russia continues have a veto power in the UN Security Council.

“Presidency of G-20 brings additional responsibility to India. My message during the visit is, let us consider participation of Ukrainian officials at the G-20 summit to be held in India. During the September G-20 summit, my President will also be happy to speak up on behalf of the Ukrainian people,” said Ms. Dzaparova, who arrived here on Monday and met Minister of State for External Affairs Meenakshi Lekhi and Secretary of the MEA Sanjay Verma.

Ms. Dzhaparova said “any effort” to bring the war to an end is welcome but emphasised that Ukraine will not surrender those areas that are under the control of Russia.

The Minister’s remarks about seeking the inclusion of President Zelensky in the G-20 summit have come against the backdrop of continued discussion on the war in Ukraine at various levels in the preparatory meetings for G-20. The matter was taken up forcefully by the Western countries during the G-20 Foreign Ministers meeting held during March 1-2. Last year, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba criticised India for purchasing Russian oil saying, “India is buying Ukrainian blood by purchasing Russian crude oil.”

Ms Dzhaparova, however, said that India has a sovereign right to choose its energy supplies but in response to a question from The Hindu pointed out that “some of India’s actions demonstrate unbalanced position, but we don’t take it as the immovable ground. We live in a dynamic world and it is my mission here to change this position, to bring the message that siding with Russia is to be at the wrong side of history. The pragmatic approach is important here.”

Ms. Dzhaparova said Ukraine has the right of self-defence and argued that Russia has failed to conquer her country and that the prolonged nature of the war has proved that Russian aim to conquer Ukraine in a short war failed. She presented a tragic picture of the ongoing war, accusing Russian soldiers of carrying out systematic rape and massacre of civilian population in Ukraine.

The visit by Ms. Dzhaparova is the first such outreach by the Government of Ukraine since the launch of the so-called “special military operation” by the Russian forces on February 24, 2022. President Zelensky, who met President Modi on the sidelines of the COP-26 meeting in Glasgow in November 2021, has spoken to the latter on several occasions since the beginning of the war but Ukraine had not sent any senior official before this.

“Being with Russia is to be with the wrong side of history. India should follow a balanced approach,” Ms. Dzhaparova said.

She argued for strengthening the multilateral institutions to ensure accountability of Russia and President Putin for his role in the war and said, “Whenever aggression is not held accountable, it becomes bigger. So we are trying to hold Russia accountable. UN is incapable of dealing with the crisis as a P5 member is the perpetrator. The veto right of Russia is a direct license to kill in Ukraine.”

Ms. Dzhaparova also argued in favour of strengthening the bilateral ties between Delhi and Kyiv and for the diversification of India’s defence requirements. She pointed to the exchange of high-level visits between India and Russia and suggested similar visits to Ukraine should be undertaken, especially by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval. Mr. Doval has maintained a channel with the head of the Ukrainian President’s office, Andriy Yermak. “As National Security Advisor Doval has visited Moscow three times, maybe he would like to come to Ukraine to demonstrate a balanced position as India hholds the G-20 Presidency,” she suggested.

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