Turkey brokers first high-level talks between Russia, Ukraine
Ankara, March 10 (EFE).- Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba, met with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on Thursday in Turkey for the first high-level meeting between the two countries since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began two weeks ago.
The meeting started just after 11:00 local time with Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlüt Çavusoglu brokering negotiations, Turkish government sources told Efe.
Talks are expected to focus on a broader ceasefire on the ground although the scope of what might be agreed is difficult to predict.
Ukraine’s Kuleba said he had “limited” expectations on the meeting’s outcome, after arriving at the Belek resort in Antalya province on Wednesday.
Moscow is steadfast in its demands which include the demilitarization of Ukraine, the recognition of Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula and the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Luhansk.
According to a Kremlin spokesperson, Russia is no longer demanding an overthrow of the current Ukrainian government.
Regarding Putin’s other demands, Ukraine has hinted this week that it could negotiate a neutral status after giving up on applying for NATO membership. However, Zelenskyy’s government has reiterated it will not give up any of Ukraine’s territories.
Turkey, a NATO member, has condemned Russia’s invasion that began on Feb. 24 as “illegal and unjust” and supporting “the territorial integrity of Ukraine”, including Crimea, but Ankara has refrained from joining international sanctions targeting Moscow.
The director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, was also due to join the meeting.
In a statement released Wednesday night, he said his goal was “to make progress on the urgent issue of ensuring the safety and security of Ukraine’s nuclear facilities.” EFE