Turkey on Sunday said talks between Ukraine and Russia are nearing agreement on “critical” issues that could lead to a cease-fire, according to a report.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba met in the Turkish resort town of Antalya earlier this month but the talks did not lead to any results, but discussions last week offered a glimmer of hope, Reuters reported, citing Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s comments in Turkish media.
Cavusoglu said the talks last week in Russia and Ukraine, which he attended, indicated “rapprochement in the positions of both sides on important subjects, critical subjects.”
“We can say we are hopeful for a cease-fire if the sides do not take a step back from the current positions,” he said, without elaborating on the issues.
Turkey’s presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said the two sides were nearing agreement on several issues — Moscow’s demand that Kyiv back off its ambitions to join NATO; demilitarization of the country, which Russia has called “de-Nazification;” and proposals to protect the Russian language in Ukraine.
Western nations and Ukraine have dismissed Russia’s claims that “neo-Nazis” are behind the government in Kyiv as propaganda, pointing out that President Volodymyr Zelensky is Jewish.
Kalin said a permanent cease-fire could happen only after a meeting between President Vladimir Putin and Zelensky, but that the Russian leader believed “strategic issues” involving Crimea and Donbas remained too unresolved to merit a sit down.
Russia invaded Crimea in 2014 and has supported pro-separatist militias in Donbas, a region in eastern Ukraine that is now occupied by Russian forces.
Turkey, a NATO member, shares a maritime border with Russia and Ukraine in the Black Sea and has a good relationship with both countries.