Foreign ministers of Russia and Ukraine arrive in Turkey for face-to-face talks
Mar 10, 2022: According to a report by AFP, the foreign ministers of Russia and Ukraine have arrived in Turkey for face-to-face talks set for Thursday morning, officials said, in the first high-level contact between the two sides since Moscow invaded its ex-Soviet neighbour.
Kyiv and Moscow officials have held several rounds of talks in Belarus, but the meeting in the southern city of Antalya is the first time that Russia has sent a minister to discuss the crisis.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko tweeted Wednesday evening that Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba had arrived in Antalya for talks on “ending Russia’s hostility and ending its war against Ukraine.” A Turkish official told AFP that his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, had also arrived for talks.
Talks between Kyiv and Moscow have so far resulted in several local ceasefires and humanitarian corridors, but Russia has been accused of violating those agreements. Kuleba confirmed in a Facebook video that he would travel to Turkey for talks, but said his expectations were “limited” as Russia continues its brutal bombing campaign and siege of major cities.
He said the success of the talks would depend on “what instructions and directives Lavrov is under” from the Kremlin.
“I am not pinning any great hopes on them, but we will try and get the most out of” the talks with effective preparation, he said.
The talks come as Turkey’s president Erdogan has pushed for Ankara to play a mediation role.
“We are working to stop this crisis from transforming into a tragedy,” Erdogan said Wednesday. “I hope the meeting between the ministers will open the way to a permanent ceasefire.”
The Russian and Ukrainian ministers will join Thursday’s meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. NATO member Turkey wants to maintain strong ties with both sides despite the conflict.
This is Lavrov’s first foreign trip since Russia’s isolation from the West through tough sanctions, which also targeted President Vladimir Putin’s longest-serving diplomat.
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