Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmitro Kuleba revealed that “no progress has been made” in “difficult” Turkish talks with Russia.
Russia and Ukraine failed to find any breakthrough on a ceasefire and other humanitarian issues in the first high-level talks between the two sides since the attack on Moscow on Thursday.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ukrainian counterpart Dimitro Kuleba met on the sidelines of a diplomatic forum in the Turkish resort city of Antalya, attended by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Kavusoglu.
Kuleba said no progress had been made even on the 24-hour ceasefire, expressing his disappointment that “it looks like there are other decision-makers in Russia for this matter”.
He also reiterated his pledge that the country would not surrender, “I want to reiterate that Ukraine has not surrendered, has not surrendered, and will not surrender”.
He described the meeting as “difficult”, accusing his Russian counterpart of bringing “traditional narratives” about Ukraine to the table.
He said he would be ready to meet again with Lavrov in this format if there are possibilities or substantial discussions and solutions to be found.
Ukrainian and Russian delegations have also met in Belarus, but the team sent by Russia to those talks is relatively low-ranking, without a minister.
Lavrov placed greater emphasis on those talks, saying: “Today’s meeting has confirmed that there is no alternative to the Russian-Ukrainian format in Belarus”.
“We are in favor of any contact to resolve the Ukrainian crisis …
He said that the main topic of talks in Antalya was the humanitarian issues put forward by the Turkish hosts.
Images of the meeting showed Russian, Turkish and Ukrainian delegations sitting on either side of a ‘U’-shaped table, each minister accompanied by just two other officials.
There was no indication that they had shaken hands before the discussion.
attack on hospital
The meeting came against the backdrop of international outrage after an attack on a children’s hospital in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol killed at least three people, including a young girl, according to Kyiv.
Kuleba said he wanted to emerge from the meeting with an agreement on a humanitarian corridor from the besieged city of Mariupol, but “unfortunately Minister Lavrov was not in a position to do it”.
Kuleba said that Lavrov “will correspond with the relevant authorities on this issue”.
Lavrov claimed that the hospital was serving “as a military base for nationalists” from the radical Azov battalion.
He also accused the European Union and other countries of “dangerous” support of arms supplies to Ukraine.
“We see how dangerously our Western allies, including the European Union, are now acting in a way that encourages the supply of lethal weapons to Ukraine, in violation of all its so-called principles and values.”
The Turkey talks are one of several diplomatic initiatives.
Israel is seeking a solution through direct talks with President Vladimir Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron is also calling the Kremlin chief frequently.
“Today is a very slim expectation and we need to hold on to it … without gullibility,” French Europe Minister Clement Beaune told France Inter radio before the meeting.
“The goal is to stop the fighting, but we need to put a lot of pressure on Russia,” he said.
Turkey is a traditional ally of Ukraine and has supplied the country with Bayraktar drones – made by a firm whose technology director is Erdogan’s own son-in-law – which Kyiv has deployed in the conflict.
But it is trying to maintain good relations with Russia, on which Turkey depends heavily for gas imports and tourism revenue.
“We are working to prevent this crisis from turning into a tragedy,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday. He said he expected a permanent ceasefire.
According to the Turkish president, Erdogan is scheduled to speak with US President Joe Biden on the phone on Thursday at 1530 GMT.
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