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Ukraine crisis: Russia ‘hopes’ sanctions don’t impact S-400 & other defence projects with India

Russian Charge d’Affaires to India Roman Babushkin says India’s stand on Ukraine crisis is ‘independent and balanced’, and ‘reflects’ India’s status as a ‘global power’.

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New Delhi: Russia Tuesday said Moscow “hopes” the slew of economic sanctions slapped on the country amid escalating tensions with Ukraine will not impact its ongoing military projects with India.

Addressing a press conference here Tuesday, the Russian Charge d’Affaires to India, Roman Babushkin, said sanctions have become a foreign policy tool for the US.

He also said India’s position on the Ukraine crisis was “independent and balanced”.

“With India, we have very strong, long and trusted cooperation (in defence). Russia is the only country which is sharing sophisticated technologies with India and defence cooperation between us is a strong factor for international peace and stability,” Babushkin told reporters.

He added, “We will continue our work with our Indian partners in defence areas. We have big plans and we hope that our partnership will continue at the same level which we are enjoying today.”

Referring to the India-Russia Summit that took place in December, Babushkin said, without explicitly mentioning the S-400 deal, “We have a lot of big projects in the pipeline and we are confident that all our plans will be successful if implemented.”

He also stressed the fact that both Russia and India had last December signed a new Long-Term Program for Military and Technical Cooperation for a period of 10 years, from 2021-2031.

India is procuring the Russian S-400 missile systems under a $5.43 billion deal, notwithstanding the threat of US sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). India has said the S-400 missile systems, the deliveries of which have begun, are needed for its national security interests.

“The sanctions will not only negatively affect the Russian economy and Russian banking sector, but it will bring more instability to the global economy because of the fear of sanctions,” said Babushkin.

“Of course we have learned to live under the sanctions… Sometimes, it is even beneficial to Russia, because we have learned not to rely on western technologies and western financial resources. There are many independent states in the world with whom we have mutual cooperation,” he added.

Also read: Putin’s visit is a defining moment for India-Russia ties. It’s a telling message to China

India’s position on Ukraine ‘independent and balanced’

Responding to a query, Babushkin said the position taken by India on the escalating tensions between Moscow and Kiev, the latter supported by the US, Europe and NATO, as an “independent and balanced” approach.

Hailing the statements made by India at the UN Security Council since the tensions began to gather momentum, the Russian Embassy in India Tuesday told reporters that New Delhi’s stance has shown that as a special and strategic partner, it understands Moscow’s interests and concerns.

“We welcome India’s independent and balanced position, which was declared in the UNSC. It reflects the Indian status of a responsible global power. Our special and privileged strategic partnership is based on the unparalleled level of mutual understanding and trust as well as respect of mutual interests and concerns,” Babushkin said.

He also said, “We strongly stand for the establishment of just and equal multipolarity with the central role of the UN and international law, and are closely coordinating in this regard at all multilateral fora.”

During an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on Ukraine Monday, India expressed deep concern over the unfolding crisis, sought “restraint on all sides” and said the issue “can only be resolved through diplomatic dialogue”.

(Edited by Saikat Niyogi) 

Also read: From Russia with drift: Why the Delhi-Moscow romance is now a fading diplomatic relationship


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