October 5, 2022

Putin is appeasing India over Ukraine as he backs key allies in court

Samarkand, Uzbekistan — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday sought to allay India’s concerns over the clashes Ukraine While he works to court key allies, Moscow says he wants to see a quick end to the fighting and that Ukrainian officials will not negotiate.

Putin was speaking when he met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was attending a security summit in Uzbekistan. His comments echo those he made during talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday.

China and India have refused to join Western sanctions against Russia, while Moscow has increased its purchases of oil and gas to help offset financial restrictions imposed by the United States and its allies.

“I know your position on the Ukraine conflicts and the concerns you have repeatedly voiced,” the Russian leader told Modi. “We will do everything we can to reach a conclusion as quickly as possible. Regrettably, Ukraine’s leadership, on the other hand, has rejected the negotiation process and said it prefers to achieve its goals by military means on the battlefield.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that Russia does not want serious talks. He has also insisted that the withdrawal of Russian troops from the occupied territories of Ukraine is a precondition for talks.

Putin sought to strengthen ties with Russia’s allies during the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit last week following a Ukrainian counteroffensive that prompted Moscow’s troop withdrawal from the northeastern province bordering Russia.

He met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday to discuss strengthening economic cooperation and regional issues, including a deal brokered by Turkey and the UN in July that allowed Ukrainian grain exports from the country’s Black Sea ports to resume.

Speaking at a summit in Uzbekistan on Friday, Xi warned his Central Asian neighbors not to allow outsiders to destabilize them. The warning reflects Beijing’s concern that Western support for pro-democracy and human rights activists is a plot to undermine Xi’s ruling Communist Party and other authoritarian governments.

“We must prevent outside forces from instigating a color revolution,” he said in a speech to leaders of Shanghai Cooperation Organization member states, referring to protests that toppled unpopular regimes in the former Soviet Union and the Middle East.

Xi offered to train 2,000 police officers, set up a regional counter-terrorism training center and “strengthen law enforcement capacity”. He did not provide any details.

His comments echoed long-standing Russian grievances about color-coded uprisings in several former Soviet states that the Kremlin sees as fueled by the United States and its allies.

Xi is promoting a “global security initiative” announced in April following the formation of the Quad by the United States, Japan, Australia and India in response to Beijing’s more assertive foreign policy. Xi has offered few details, but U.S. officials complain that Russian arguments echo support for Moscow’s actions in Ukraine.

China’s relations with Washington, Europe, Japan and India have been strained by disputes over technology, security, human rights and territory.

Central Asia is a part of ChinaThe multibillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative expands trade by building ports, railways and other infrastructure. In dozens of countries from the South Pacific through Asia to the Middle East, Europe and Africa.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization was created by Russia and China as a counterweight to US influence. The group also includes India, Pakistan and the four former Soviet Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Iran is on track for full membership.

On Thursday, Putin held a one-on-one meeting with Xi and thanked the Chinese leader for his government’s “balanced stance” on the Ukraine war, while also saying he was ready to discuss China’s unspecified “concerns” about Ukraine.

Xi, in a statement released by his government, expressed support for Russia’s “core interests” but was also interested in working together to “instill stability” in world affairs.

Li Xin, director of the Institute of European and Asian Studies at Shanghai University of Political Science and Law, noted that Beijing wants a negotiated end to the Ukraine war, adding, “China will not decide whether Russia’s special military action is justified. No.”