Senior Russian, Ukrainian diplomats to meet in Turkey
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will meet his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba on the sidelines of a diplomatic forum in Antalya on Thursday, the Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed on Monday.
The meeting will be held at the initiative of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as part of an agreement he reached with Russian leader Vladimir Putin in a phone call, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told TASS.
Earlier on Monday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu confirmed the development as well. “We will hold this meeting in a tripartite format in Antalya on Thursday, March 10,” he told journalists. The top diplomat also expressed hope that this will be “a turning point” and an “important step” towards peace and stability.
Upon President @RTErdogan’s initiatives & our intensive diplomatic efforts, Foreign Ministers Sergei Lavrov of #Russia & Dmytro Kuleba of #Ukraine have decided to meet with my participation on the margins of @AntalyaDF. Hope this step will lead to peace and stability.— Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu (@MevlutCavusoglu) March 7, 2022
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry’s spokesman, Oleg Nikolenko, told UNIAN news agency that a “possible meeting” in Antalya is “in the works.”
Russia has been engaged in a military operation in Ukraine since February 24, when Putin launched a “special operation” to “demilitarize” and “denazify” Ukraine in the name of protecting the people of the two Donbass republics, which Russia recognized earlier in February. Kiev has denied having plans to take the regions by force, accusing Russia of an “unprovoked” attack.
The move was met with outrage in the West, which slapped Moscow with unprecedented sanctions and has supplied arms to Ukraine. Some nations, including Turkey, have offered to act as mediators in the conflict.
Moscow has been engaged in direct talks with Kiev for some time, as the two nations’ delegations have met twice in Belarus and have so far reached an agreement on humanitarian corridors to allow civilians to leave combat zones. The third round of these negotiations is expected to start later on Monday.