WARSAW — (WARSOOR)- The foreign ministers of Ukraine and Russia held talks in Turkey Thursday marking the first high-level discussions between the two countries since Russia launched an all-out invasion of its neighbor. But after a 90-minute dialogue, both sides said there had been no breakthrough.
Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, said he had discussed a 24-hour cease-fire with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, but no progress was made. “We also talked on the cease-fire, but no progress was accomplished on that,” Kuleba told reporters after the meeting concluded. He described the in-person meeting as “difficult” and accused Lavrov of bringing “traditional narratives” to the negotiating table.
“I want to repeat that Ukraine has not surrendered, does not surrender, and will not surrender,” said Kuleba.
Meanwhile, Lavrov said Russia is ready to continue negotiations and he said Russian President Vladimir Putin would not refuse a meeting with Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy to discuss “specific” issues. He blamed Western powers for the conflict, saying Russia was forced to act because the West had rejected “our proposal on security guarantees.” And he echoed Putin’s claims that Russia’s military campaign was going according to plan.
Hopes for any breakthrough had been low heading into the negotiations in the southern Turkish resort of Antalya. Ukraine’s Kuleba cautioned he had “low expectations.”
And Zelenskyy also appeared to lower expectations of any major breakthrough, telling a German broadcaster Thursday “only after direct talks between the two presidents can we end this war.”
The dialogue brokered by Turkey was mediated by Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, and photographs released at the start showed the Russian, Turkish and Ukrainian delegations sitting around a U-shaped table, with each minister accompanied by two other officials.
Turkey’s Cavusoglu said when announcing the talks earlier this week he hoped it would mark “a turning point and… an important step towards peace and stability.” And on Wednesday, after holding more phone conversations with Kuleba and Lavrov, he said the talks could “crack the door open to a permanent cease-fire.”
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