Standing alongside the Indian ministers for foreign affairs and defense on Monday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivered a pointed message about supporting Ukraine.
Blinken noted that the United States would continue to call on nations to back Kyiv, “just as we call on all nations to condemn Moscow’s increasingly brutal actions.”
In remarks at a news conference following the US-India 2+2 Ministerial in Washington, Blinken said, “Russia’s war against Ukraine is an attack on Ukraine’s people. It’s also an attack on that rules-based order that we both adhere to and defend.”
The United States, Blinken said, “will continue to increase our support to the government and people of Ukraine and call on other nations to do the same, just as we call on all nations to condemn Moscow’s increasingly brutal actions.”
Blinken declared that Russia’s war “stands in stark contrast to the vision that the United States and India share for a free and open Indo-Pacific,” and noted that Moscow’s actions were having worldwide consequences.
India has continued to purchase Russian oil in the wake of the war in Ukraine and last week abstained in a vote to remove Russia from the UN Human Rights Council.
The US secretary of state also said Monday that “India has to make its own decisions about how it approaches” the Russian war in Ukraine and that the US believes “it is important that all countries, especially those with leverage, press Putin to end the war.”
“We, as a general proposition, are consulting with all of our allies and partners on the consequences of Putin’s war, the atrocities being committed against the people of Ukraine,” Blinken said at the news conference following the US-India 2+2 Ministerial.
Blinken said it was important that “democracies stand together and speak with one voice to defend the values that we share — and we do share, profoundly, the values of freedom, openness, independence, sovereignty, and those values need to apply everywhere.”
The top US diplomat noted that “India’s relationship with Russia has developed over decades, at a time when the United States was not able to be partner to India,” but “times have changed” and the US is “able and willing to be a partner of choice with India.”
“And I would also note that India is providing significant humanitarian assistance to the people of Ukraine, notably medicines which are very necessary and in real demand,” he added.
Indian Minister of External Affairs S. Jaishankar said that India is “against the conflict” and “for dialogue and diplomacy” and the “urgent cessation of violence.”
“We are prepared to contribute in whatever way to these objectives,” he said.
Blinken said that “when it comes to oil purchases, sanctions, etc, I’d just note that there are carve outs for energy purchases. Of course, we’re encouraging countries not to purchase additional energy supplies from Russia.”
“Every country is differently situated, has different needs, requirements, but we’re looking to allies and partners not to increase their purchases of Russian energy,” Blinken said.
On oil, Jaishankar said that the world should look to Europe, suggesting that Europe buys more Russian oil than India does.
Blinken said President Joe Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi “had a very warm and productive conversation,” and “on Russia-Ukraine, they talked about ways of mitigating the profound impact that this is having on global food supplies and prices, commodity markets and working together to achieve that.”
Meanwhile, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, who also attended the event, spoke on the importance of the US and India remaining aligned.
“As strategic threats converge, especially following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it is more important than ever that” the US and India “stand together to defend our shared values and to preserve the international rules-based order,” Austin said.