Turkey says Russia, Ukraine close on ‘critical’ issues after talks last week


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.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (L) arrive to attend a joint news conference following their talks in Moscow, Russia, 16 March 2022.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (left) attended the talks between Russia and Ukraine, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (right).
EPA/MAXIM SHEMETOV / POOL
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is pictured during his meeting with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Lviv, western Ukraine, March 17, 2022.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu during his meeting with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Lviv, Ukraine, March 17, 2022.
Alona Nikolaievych/Ukrinform/Abaca/Sipa USA
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivers a video address in Ukraine
A permanent cease-fire could happen only after a meeting between President Vladimir Putin and President Volodymyr Zelensky.
HANDOUT/UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SER/AFP via Getty Images

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.

A Ukrainian family from Mykolaiv sit inside a tent to warm up after crossing the border from Ukraine to Poland
A Ukrainian family from Mykolaiv sit inside a tent to warm up after crossing the border from Ukraine to Poland, March 20, 2022.
REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
A firefighter carries a refugee child fleeing from Ukraine to Romania
A firefighter carries a refugee child fleeing from Ukraine to Romania, March 20, 2022.
REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne
A refugee looks out of the window of a shuttle bus after crossing the border with her relative from Ukraine to Poland, fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine, at the border checkpoint in Medyka, Poland, March 20, 2022
A refugee looks out of the window of a shuttle bus after crossing the border with her relative from Ukraine to Poland, March 20, 2022.
REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
market buildings damaged by shelling, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Chernihiv, Ukraine, in this handout picture released March 20, 2022.
Market buildings damaged by shelling in Chernihiv, Ukraine, March 20, 2022.
Press service of the National Police of Ukraine/Handout via REUTERS
Russian invasion of Ukraine as of March 19, 2022.
Russian invasion of Ukraine as of March 19, 2022.
Ukrainian soldiers carry a dead soldier through debris at the military school hit by Russian rockets in Mykollaiv on March 19, 2022.
Ukrainian soldiers carry a dead soldier through debris at the military school hit by Russian rockets in Mykolaiv on March 19, 2022.
AFP via Getty Images
A Ukrainian serviceman takes a photo of a damaged church after shelling in Mariupol on March 10, 2022.
A Ukrainian serviceman takes a photo of a damaged church after shelling in Mariupol on March 10, 2022.
AP
Women embrace after fleeing from Ukraine to Romania at the border crossing in Siret, Romania on March 19, 2022.
Women embrace after fleeing from Ukraine to Romania at the border crossing in Siret, Romania on March 19, 2022.
REUTERS

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.



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