Ukrainian and Russian foreign ministers’ meeting in Turkey makes no progress on ceasefire or humanitarian corridors – but Ankara remains hopeful about its attempt at mediation.

Turkey-Hosted Ukraine-Russia Talks Stall, but May Resume

Russia and Ukraine delegations meet on March 10 on the margins of the Antalya Diplomacy Forum. Photo: Turkish Foreign Ministry

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on Thursday failed to reach an agreement on almost everything, including a safe corridor for civilians and a ceasefire, but agreed to continue with negotiations.

“There is nothing to replace the negotiation process,” Lavrov told reporters, continuing to condemn the West and the EU for their support for Ukraine.

Lavrov insisted that Russia did not attack Ukraine when asked about whether Russia plans to intervene in other countries in the region.

“We are not planning to attack other countries. We did not attack Ukraine in the first place,” Lavrov said, warning that those who send weapons to Ukraine, or encourage mercenaries, will be held responsible for their actions.

The meeting was held on Thursday in Turkey on the margins of Antalya Diplomacy Forum and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu played the role of mediator.

“We continue our efforts to stop bloodshed and tears in Ukraine. We defend resolving disputes by diplomatic means. We are aware that there is no victor in such wars,” Cavusoglu said, thanking both ministers for their attendance.

Cavusoglu said miracles at the first-high level meeting should not be expected, underlying the importance of a ceasefire and humanitarian corridors.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister was not hopeful after the meeting. “No progress has been made on a ceasefire as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was not authorized to discuss the matter,” Kuleba said, defining the meeting as “easy and difficult” at the same time.

“Russia is not in a position at this point to establish a ceasefire. They seek a surrender from Ukraine. This is not what they are going to get. Ukraine is strong, Ukraine is fighting,” Kuleba told reporters.

Turkey’s diplomatic chief Cavusoglu said a meeting was necessary between the Presidents of Ukraine and Russia, and Turkey would be happy to host that meeting as well.

“Volodymyr Zelenski accepted this kind of meeting and Vladimir Putin informed our President that he is not against the idea in principle,” Cavusoglu added.

Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine on February 24. However, the success of the Russian military is being questioned and the Ukrainian army and people have resisted more than was expected.

Russia is also hit by record-heavy Western sanctions, which aim to cripple its economy and businesses.

On Thursday, Russia announced it would no longer participate in the Council of Europe, CoE, after the European organisation suspended Russia’s rights of vote due to its military campaign in Ukraine.

According to the UN, more than 2 million Ukrainians have fled the country seeking shelter in neighbouring countries as Russia pounds major Ukrainian cities including the capital, Kyiv, the second-largest city, Kharkiv and the port of Mariupol.

On March 2, the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly condemned Russia’s Invasion with the votes of 141 countries, including Turkey, out of 193 UN member states.

However, Turkey has not joined Western sanctions and has not closed its airspace to Russia, unlike all other NATO and EU member countries.

Yet, Turkey also has close ties with Ukraine, and Ankara has helped to equip the Ukrainian army, most prominently with armed drones, which have resulted in heavy Russian casualties recently.

Source link: