Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba attends an United Nations Security Council about Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine at United Nations headquarters in New York, New York, US, 17 July 2023. EFE-EPA/JUSTIN LANE

Ukraine’s foreign minister arrives in Pakistan on first-ever visit

Islamabad, July 20 (EFE).- Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba arrived in Pakistan early Thursday to hold talks with his Pakistani counterpart, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.

It is the first-ever visit by a Ukrainian minister to the South Asian country since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1993.

Kuleba will also call on the Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif during the two-day visit.

The Ukrainian minister will hold “detailed talks” with Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the Pakistani foreign ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Pakistan and Ukraine enjoy close and cordial relations, particularly in the fields of trade, investment, agriculture and higher education,” the ministry added.

The visit is expected to contribute to further strengthening of bilateral ties between the two countries, the ministry said.

The Ukrainian foreign minister’s visit comes at a time when his country is fighting a war with Russia.

Pakistan has not condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine, maintaining a neutral stand and calling for negotiations for peace and an end to the humanitarian crisis.

In recent years, Pakistan has also been boosting its bilateral relations with Russia in different fields, including energy.

Pakistan has also abstained from voting in the United Nations against Russia over the war and from expressing support for calls for withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine.

The official visit of then-Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan to Moscow to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin on the same day that Russian forces entered Ukraine on Feb. 24 last year had sparked mixed views on Islamabad’s position.

Earlier this year, Zardari and Kuleba met for the first time on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference in Germany.

Both ministers held wide-ranging negotiations during the meeting.

After their meeting in Islamabad on Thursday, Zardari and Kuleba will hold a joint press conference at the Pakistani foreign ministry.

The Ukrainian embassy in Islamabad has described bilateral relations between the countries as a dynamic process based on traditionally high levels of cooperation in political, military-technical, trade and economic, humanitarian spheres.

However, military-technical collaboration remains one of the main pillars of bilateral ties.

The first major contracts to be sealed between Pakistan and independent Ukraine in 1996 were in the military-technical sphere.

One of them is the well-known multimillion-dollar tank contract which provided Pakistan with modern tanks and Ukrainian enterprises with prospective long-term orders.  EFE