First meeting without breakthrough of the heads of Russian and Ukrainian diplomacy under Turkish auspices

The meeting was the first at this level since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine two weeks ago. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba met on Thursday (March 10) in the Turkish resort of Antalya for talks hosted by their counterpart Mevlüt Çavusoglu. “We are working to prevent the crisis from turning into tragedy”, assured Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who himself planned to meet Joe Biden during the day. The director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, is also said to participate in the Antalya talks to secure the Ukrainian nuclear power plants, which are now at the heart of the conflict.

“We have talked about a ceasefire, but no progress has been made in this direction”explained mr. Kuleba to the press, adding, however, that he “hoped” to continue the discussion with his counterpart. According to him, his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov assured him that Russia “intended to continue (his) aggression until we accepted their demand to capitulate”† At the same time, Emmanuel Macron and Olaf Scholz joined with Valdimir Poutine and “demands that Russia immediately cease fire”

As a prelude, Volodymyr Zelensky seemed to be making an overture to Moscow. In an interview broadcast Monday evening by the American channel ABC, the Ukrainian president confirmed that he no longer wanted to push for Ukraine’s accession to NATO, one of the topics that officially motivated Russia’s invasion of his country. Another sign of reconciliation, he said he was ready for a… “compromise” on the status of the separatist areas of Donbass, from which Russian President Vladimir Putin unilaterally recognized the independence on 21 February, three days before the start of the invasion.

“When it comes to NATO, I tempered my stance on this issue some time ago when we realized that [que] NATO was not ready to accept Ukraine”said Volodymyr Zelensky in this interview. “The Alliance is afraid of anything controversial and of a confrontation with Russia”he complained, adding that he did not want to be president of a “land that begs on its knees” such membership.

“We reject ultimatums”

After recognizing the independence of the self-proclaimed ‘republics’ of Donestk and Luhansk, Vladimir Putin is demanding that it be recognized by Ukraine today. Asked by ABC about this, President Zelensky said he was open to dialogue. “I’m talking about security guarantees. I think with regard to these temporarily occupied territories recognized only by Russia, we can discuss and find a compromise on the future of these areas. † “What is important to me is how the people who are in these areas and who want to be part of Ukraine will live,” he continued, convinced that the question was: “more complex than simply recognizing them”. “That’s another ultimatum, and we reject ultimatums. What is needed is for President Putin to talk, to start a dialogue, instead of living in a bubble.” he launched.

You still have 48.29% of this article to read. The following is for subscribers only.