“These agreements must be concluded (…), there is some progress in recognizing the impossibility of Ukraine being part of any bloc,” the Russian foreign minister said, adding that there was an “initial understanding” on the conflict in the Donbass region.
Lavrov made the remarks during a two-day official visit to India, a country that has maintained a neutral image since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and refrained from condemning the aggression at the United Nations General Assembly.
Today, the head of Russian diplomacy met with his Indian counterpart, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, who thanked him for his impartial stance on the conflict, for looking into the whole matter, not just one of the parties.
“We have always respected each other’s interests (…) and this is the meaning of our conversation, which covered all bilateral fields,” the Russian minister concluded during the press conference that followed the meeting.
Asked about Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s possible mediation in the conflict, Lavrov replied that he was not aware of this possibility, but stressed that India’s position “does not change as a result of dictates or threats”.
In addition to discussing the situation in Ukraine, the meeting between Lavrov and Jeshankar should help both countries develop effective payment mechanisms to continue their trade dealings, despite international sanctions burdening the Russian economy.
The biggest of these difficulties relate to the impossibility of access for most Russian banks to the international SWIFT system of interbank communications, as well as the withholding of the foreign exchange reserves of the Central Bank of Russia, which significantly limits their financial activity.
However, Lavrov insisted on the possibility of continuing the exchange method based on national currencies, thus avoiding dependence on a financial system that “can close at any moment” and whose creators can “steal money at night”.
“It was absolutely clear that transactions would be done through this system without going through dollars, euros and other currencies that proved to be unreliable,” the diplomat said.
In this way, Lavrov emphasized, if India wants to buy “any good” from Russia, Moscow is ready “to discuss and reach acceptable forms of cooperation.”
“Hardcore alcohol maven. Hipster-friendly analyst. Introvert. Devoted social media advocate.”