Russia, Ukraine FM begin talks in Turkey

AP , AFP , Thursday 10 Mar 2022

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says that the meeting between the Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers in Turkey on Thursday aims to pave the way for a meeting between the leaders of the two countries.

Cavusoglu, Lavrov   Kuleba
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, top left, chairs a tripartite meeting with Russia s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, and Ukraine s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, right, in Antalya, Turkey, Thursday, March 10, 2022. AP

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba on Thursday began talks in Turkey in the first such high-level contact since Moscow invaded its neighbour, officials from both sides and their hosts said.

The ministers began talks on the sidelines of a diplomatic forum in the southern Turkish resort of Antalya, joined by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, a Turkish official told AFP in comments confirmed by the Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministries.

"Our main goal is to bring the three leaders together," Turkey's Hurriyet newspaper quoted Cavusoglu as saying, in reference to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu are ahead of their tripartite meeting with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, in Antalya, Turkey, Thursday, March 10, 2022. AP

NATO-member Turkey, which has cultivated close ties with both Russia and Ukraine, is trying to balance relations with both nations. It has positioned itself as a neutral party, seeking to facilitate negotiations between the warring sides.

Turkey has criticized Russia's military actions in Ukraine as "unlawful'' and "unacceptable'' but it has also said Ankara would not give up on either Russia or Ukraine.

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