Following the meeting between Russia’s foreign minister Lavrov and Ukraine’s foreign minister Kuleba, the Ukrainian minister said that no progress was made on a ceasefire and that he was ready to meet again in the same format. Lavrov, on the other hand, underlined that it was understood that there was nothing to replace negotiations and that Putin did not reject meeting Zelensky.
Today, the foreign ministers of Russia and Ukraine met for face-to-face talks in Antalya, Turkey, in the first high-level contact between the two sides since the war started. The meeting, which lasted 1,5 hours, was also attended by Turkey’s foreign minister Çavuşoğlu.
Ukraine’s Dmytro Kuleba said in his first statement that “the talks were neither easy, nor difficult” and that no progress was made on ceasefire.
Kuleba said: “Lavrov did not give any commitment for evacuations but said that he would talk about this with the related authorities.”
Saying that their target is to stop the war in Ukraine, Kuleba stated: “I agreed to meet again in the same format. I agree to meet again if there is a need to seek a solution.”
Kuleba added: “We are not able to stop the war. If the country and the state attacking us does not want this we will not be able to stop the war.”
Kuleba also said: “The request of Lavrov is like a surrender list.” and continued: “I came here as a Foreign Minister with authority to make decisions in order to find a solution. However, he only came to listen.”
Lavrov: ‘We want Ukraine to be an impartial state.’
Lavrov, meanwhile, said in his press conference, which started nearly simultaneously, that the decision for the summit was made in the talks between Putin and Erdoğan. Lavrov said: “It was understood in the meeting today that there is nothing to replace negotiations.”
Lavrov also said:
• We will support all initiatives towards the solution of the Ukraine crisis.
• It was understood after our meeting today that there is nothing to replace negotiations. We have taken up the humanitarian issues.
• Civilians are being used as human shields by the volunteer corps. This is known. The opening of a humanitarian corridor is being planned.
• We want the talks in Belarus to reach a solution.
• We want the Ukraine crisis to be resolved to take into account the interests of all parties. We want the problem to be solved also taking into account the views of the European countries.
• Those that send weapons to Ukraine are responsible. Those who encourage paid fighters will be responsible for this. Moscow has presented the United Nations that the maternity hospital bombed in Mariupol had been taken over by the far-right Azov corps.
Lavrov said they were ready to talk about security guarantees and said: “We want Ukraine to be an impartial state. Opposing enlargement of NATO, we are in no way opposing Ukraine ensuring its security.
Lavrov also said: “Putin does not refuse meeting Zelensky” and said that they only did not want such meetings to be held just for the sake of conversation.
Stating that there were no patients in the hospital bombed yesterday in Mariupol, Lavrov complained that media in the West only reflected the view of Ukraine.
There have been comments claiming that such a summit in Turkey was a success of Turkish foreign policy.
However, the fact is that Erdoğan’s administration of Turkey, torn apart in its positions between Russia and USA/NATO and also between Russia and Ukraine, is, by all appearances, making these efforts not because a peace-loving state of mind government runs it, but rather because it is the only hope for their survival.
Lavrov was probably indirectly mentioning Turkey, selling Bayraktar drones used in the war to Ukraine, when saying “those giving weapons to Ukraine will be responsible”.