Russian, Ukrainian FMs say ready to continue dialogue over conflict
Published: Mar 10, 2022 11:46 PM
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, agreed on continuing negotiations over the conflict but failed to make progress in declaring a ceasefire during their meeting in Turkey on Thursday.

The tripartite meeting, held on the sidelines of the Antalya Diplomatic Forum, in the presence of Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, was the first high-level meeting between Moscow and Kiev since Russia's special military operation in Ukraine started on Feb. 24.


Addressing a press conference after the meeting, Kuleba said that he is ready to meet with Lavrov again in the same format with Turkey as a mediator, whereas Lavrov said that Russia wants to continue talks with Ukraine within the current format in Belarus.

"We had come here not to replace track of negotiations taking place in Belarus. We will not create a parallel track. If there is added value, we are ready to discuss it in different formats," Lavrov told reporters.

"Everyone is well aware that President (Vladimir) Putin never refuses contacts. We only want these contacts to be organized not for their own sake, but in order to fix some specific agreements," Lavrov said.

The Russian top diplomat said that the discussions with his Ukrainian counterpart were mostly focused on the "efforts of our friends in Turkey regarding issues related to the humanitarian field," referring to Ankara's mediation efforts.

He also warned that the West was behaving dangerously in reaction to the situation in Ukraine, adding that Russia's military operation there was going on in accordance with the plan.

At a separate press conference, Cavusoglu said that Turkey is ready to continue its "efforts for diplomacy between Russia and Ukraine" and has played a role of "facilitator" during the meeting, adding that both the Ukrainian and Russian sides are not opposed to further meetings in principle.

Ukrainian and Russian delegations have held three rounds of peace talks in Belarus since last week, though the negotiations ended without a significant breakthrough.


Kuleba noted the failure to make progress in declaring a ceasefire.

Turkey stressed that humanitarian corridors in Ukraine should be kept open without any obstacles, Cavusoglu said after the meeting.

On Thursday, Ukraine continued evacuating civilians from conflict-torn cities and towns through seven humanitarian corridors in northern, north-central, eastern, and southern Ukraine, the Interfax-Ukraine news agency reported, citing Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk.

On Wednesday, more than 40,000 civilians were evacuated from Ukraine in one day.

Meanwhile, Ukraine's state-run energy company Ukrenergo on Thursday also called for a ceasefire to allow repair teams to enter and restore power supply to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

"We have everything ready to immediately repair the lines and resume power supply to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant that has been disconnected from power for more than one day. Just stop shelling and give a pass to our repair teams," Ukrenergo said in a statement on Facebook.

Earlier on Thursday, the Belarusian news outlet BelTA said on Telegram that Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has instructed specialists to ensure power supply to the Chernobyl plant, though Ukrenergo later reported that Ukraine needs no assistance from Belarus in repairing the plant.