Ukraine on Wednesday criticised India for buying crude oil from Russia and said that it expected “more practical support” from New Delhi, The Hindu reported.
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that his country has been a reliable partner of New Delhi, but by purchasing crude oil from Russia, India is in effect buying Ukrainian blood.
“Every barrel of Russian crude that India gets, has a good portion of Ukrainian blood in it,” Kuleba said during a press briefing, according to The Hindu. “We are friendly and open to India. I supported the evacuation of Indian students.”
Kuleba’s response came a day after External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had justified India’s decision to buy oil from Russia, saying that every country tries to ensure the best deal possible to cushion high energy prices.
“Oil and gas prices are unreasonably high,” Jaishankar had said at an event organised by the Indian diaspora in Bangkok on Tuesday. “Europe is buying much more from the Middle East and other sources who would have supplied to India.”
On March 16, India had said it was exploring options to buy Russian crude oil, as its prices had tumbled to their lowest in view of the Ukraine conflict and the sanctions imposed on Moscow by western countries.
European countries and the United States have imposed heavy sanctions on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
According to Reuters, India imported 8,19,000 barrels of oil per day from Russia in May, an increase from 2,77,000 barrels per day in April and 33,000 barrels per day a year ago. Russia at present is the second biggest supplier of crude oil to India, replacing Saudi Arabia. Iraq continues to be the largest.
On Wednesday, Kuleba said that India’s decision to buy oil from Russia at a discount has not surprised Ukraine.
He said that the war in Ukraine is providing Russia with an opportunity to make money from the energy trade, according to The Hindu.
“Throughout human history, in every conflict, in every war, there are those who suffer from the war and then there are those who make money,” the foreign minister said.
Kuleba added that the concept of neutrality, which has been followed by many countries like Indonesia and India since February, cannot be justified as the war in Ukraine was costing the lives of women and children.
Since the conflict in Ukraine began on February 24, India has abstained from several resolutions on the matter, including the one in the General Assembly, that have condemned Russia’s military operation in Ukraine.
TS Tirumurti, India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, had said that New Delhi believes that neither Ukraine nor Russia could win this conflict and that pursuing the path of dialogue and diplomacy is the only way out.