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Indian PM Modi arrives in Moscow in first visit to Russia since beginning of full-scale war

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk July 8, 2024 5:45 PM 2 min read
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (center) arriving in Moscow, Russia, on July 8, 2024. (Prime Minister Narendra Modi/X)
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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Moscow on July 8 in what was his first trip to Russia since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

"Landed in Moscow. Looking forward to further deepening the special and privileged strategic partnership between our nations, especially in futuristic areas of cooperation," Modi wrote on X.

"Stronger ties between our nations will greatly benefit our people," he added.

Modi last met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in September 2022 at the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Uzbekistan.

According to a statement by the Kremlin after the dates of the trip were formalized, Modi and Putin will discuss the "prospects for the further development of traditionally friendly Russian-Indian relations, as well as current issues on the international and regional agenda."

Modi's official website said the visit would entail talks on the "entire range of multifaceted relations between the two countries and exchange views on contemporary regional and global issues of mutual interest."

The two leaders will reportedly attend a dinner on July 8 and hold talks at the Kremlin the following day.

New Delhi has been calling for a diplomatic solution to Russia's war against Ukraine but has been simultaneously fostering close economic ties with Moscow. India became one of the chief buyers of Russian oil following Western sanctions, although pressure from U.S. sanctions increasingly threatens this trade.

While India participated in Ukraine's global peace summit in June, Modi did not attend personally, and India's representative did not ultimately sign the joint communique.

Modi was also one of the few democratically elected leaders to congratulate Putin on his reelection in March after a vote that was widely considered to be neither free nor fair.

The trip coincided with a massive Russian missile strike on Kyiv and other cities across Ukraine on the morning of July 8 that killed at least 28 civilians and injured 112 others.

The Okhmatdyt hospital, Ukraine's largest children's medical center, was hit in the attack, President Volodymyr Zelensky said.

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More than half of the signatories came from Europe. When counting other key Western allies outside of Europe – the U.S., Canada, and Australia – the disparity is even more stark.
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