| 18 April 2024, Thursday |

Turkey Says Lavrov-Kuleba Meeting Was Civil despite All Difficulties

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu described the meeting between the Ukrainian and Russian foreign ministers in Turkey, as “civil” despite all the difficulties

Speaking at a news conference after the meeting between Dmytro Kuleba and Sergei Lavrov, which Cavusoglu also attended, he said there was a need for both a humanitarian corridor from the Ukrainian city of Mariupol and for a sustainable ceasefire, according to Reuters.

The meeting was the first high-level contact between the two sides since Moscow invaded its ex-Soviet neighbor.

Officials from Kyiv and Moscow have held several rounds of discussions in Belarus, but the meeting in the southern city of Antalya was the first time Russia has sent a minister for talks on the crisis, AFP said.

Dialogue between Kyiv and Moscow has so far yielded several local ceasefires and humanitarian corridors to evacuate residents, but Russia has been accused of breaching those agreements.

Earlier, Kuleba confirmed in a Facebook video that he would travel to Turkey for the 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 sit-down comes as Turkish President Recep Tayyip 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.”

  • Asharq Al-Awsat