Outcome of 'difficult' Russia-Ukraine talks revealed
Russia and Ukraine have not yet reached a ceasefire agreement, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told journalists after meeting his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Turkey on Thursday. He described the talks as having been “difficult.”
Lavrov said Kiev had been invited to review a Russian proposal as to how the ongoing hostilities between the two countries might be resolved. Kuleba reiterated that his country did not intend to meet Russia’s demands.
The meeting in the Turkish city of Antalya was separate from the Belarus-hosted peace talks, three rounds of which have concluded without any significant progress having been made.
Lavrov stressed that the Thursday meeting was not a substitute for talks in Belarus. He suggested Kiev’s goal at the meeting was to create the impression that it was doing its best on the diplomatic front.
“They always want to substitute real work on implementing agreements by inventing new formats that are supposed to be covered prominently in the news,” the minister said. “I am not surprised that Mr. Kuleba made a statement that we didn’t agree to a ceasefire. Nobody was negotiating it here in the first place.”
Commenting on the possibility of holding negotiations at presidential level, Lavrov said Russian President Vladimir Putin would not meet with Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky just for the sake of having a meeting.
Russia launched an attack on Ukraine in late February, having accused it of stonewalling attempts to peacefully resolve its conflict with the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Lugansk and compromising Russian national security through allowing in NATO forces. Moscow says its goals are to demilitarize Ukraine and eradicate radical nationalist elements in its government and armed forces.
Kiev and its Western supporters called the attack an unprovoked act of aggression. The US and its allies have imposed harsh sanctions on Moscow, intended to cripple Russia’s economy, and also ramped up their supply of arms to Ukraine, but have refused to intervene in the conflict militarily.