''If You (India) Benefit From Our Suffering...": Ukraine Minister's Message

''The opportunity for India to buy Russian oil at a cheap price comes from the fact that Ukrainians are suffering from Russian aggression and dying every day,'' said Dmytro Kuleba in an exclusive conversation with NDTV.

The Ukraine's Foreign Minister said it was important to make a concerted effort

New Delhi:

Ukraine's Foreign Minister has hit out at India over imports of cheap Russian oil, referring to it as being ''morally inappropriate.'' ''The opportunity for India to buy Russian oil at a cheap price comes from the fact that Ukrainians are suffering from Russian aggression and dying every day,'' said Dmytro Kuleba in an exclusive conversation with NDTV.

''If you benefit because of our suffering, it would be good to see more of your help addressed to us," Mr Kuleba said, responding to Indian Foreign Minister S Jaishankar's statement on Monday that between the months of February and November this year, the European Union (EU) has imported more fossil fuel from Russia than the next 10 countries combined.

''It is not enough to point fingers at the European Union and say, Oh, they are doing the same thing," the Ukrainian Foreign Minister said.

NDTV has reached out to the Foreign Ministry for a response. 

According to Mr Kuleba, India's decision to import cheap Russian oil needs to be seen through the prism of human suffering in Ukraine.

The Ukrainian Foreign Minister also said that India, specifically Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has a key role to play in helping to end the war.

''India is a very important player in the global arena and the Prime Minister of India, with his voice, can make a change.'' At the same time, New Delhi, he believes, needs to be direct in referring to the situation in Ukraine.

''We are waiting for the moment when Indian foreign policy will call spade a spade, and name the conflict - not 'war in Ukraine', but what it is, a 'Russian aggression against Ukraine'," he said.

India maintains a close strategic relationship with Russia and has repeatedly abstained in voting against Moscow in United Nations resolutions which condemn the Russian annexation of Ukrainian territory.

Asked if New Delhi's intervention could realistically make a difference in the thinking of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Mr Kuleba said it was important to make a concerted effort.

''If you don't try, nothing can change,'' said Mr Kuleba.

''We have seen some encouraging messages coming from your Prime Minister - when he said this is not the time for war. We hope that (there) is more active, even if it is quiet, behind-the-scenes diplomacy (that) will take place in the coming weeks. It's worth trying (in) any way to end the war," he said.

Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February 2022 capturing thousands of square kilometres in the East and South of Ukraine, territory that it has since lost to concerted Ukrainian military counter-attacks. Over the last few weeks, Ukraine has been able to re-take the city of Kherson.

He said Kyiv will not halt its military offensive this winter. ''We will not stop for a single day because every pause means more time for the Russians to dig into the ground, to build fortifications and to strengthen their defensive lines in the occupied territories of Ukraine," he said.

Over the last several weeks, Ukraine has come under concerted Russian drone and missile attacks targeting civilian infrastructure, particularly power facilities.

"Our problem is that our electricity grid was built during the Soviet times and, therefore, Russia has all the maps and technical documentation necessary to identify precisely the most critical elements of our energy infrastructure," Mr Kuleba said.

"They hit it one by one, knocking out one transformer after another. They do it in a very systematic way with only one purpose - to terrorise the population of Ukraine, to create unbearable conditions for civilians and to break us down. But they are not going to break us down. Whatever they do, we will survive and we will prevail," he added. 

.