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Liz Truss visits India at the same time as Russian minister in scramble to sway ‘neutral’ power over Ukraine



Liz Truss will appeal to India to side with the West in the Ukraine war as she visits New Delhi at the same time as Russia’s foreign minister.

The Foreign Secretary is not planning to meet her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, who is seeking to persuade India’s Government to build closer ties with the Kremlin.

The country has refused to back either Russia or Ukraine since the invasion started a month ago, though it has bought up large amounts of cheap Russian oil and other goods shunned by Western firms.

While India has historically maintained close ties with some Western countries, it is also reliant on Russia for military supplies amid its own border tensions, with around two-thirds of its military hardware originating in Russia.

Mr Truss said: “Deeper ties between Britain and India will boost security in the Indo-Pacific and globally, and create jobs and opportunities in both countries. This matters even more in the context of Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and underlines the need for free democracies to work closer together in areas like defence, trade and cyber security.”

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Ahead of the visit, the Foreign Office has imposed fresh sanctions on Russian oligarchs, moving to ground their aircraft by prohibiting Britain aviation and maritime engineers from working on craft owned by sanctioned individuals.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Today’s legislation adds new routes at our disposal to deprive oligarchs’ access to their luxury toys.”

But the Government has been forced to admit that eight Russians who entered the UK on so-called “golden visas”, which allow people to settle in Britain as long as they invest enough money in the country, have now been hit by sanctions because of their close links to the Putin regime.

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran said: “For too long the Government has rolled out the red carpet for Putin’s cronies. These people should never have been able to buy their way into the UK with ill-gotten wealth.”

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace will convene a meeting of ministers from around the world on Thursday to increase donations of weapons to Ukraine.

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