In meetings with his Russian colleague Sergei Lavrov on Thursday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said no progress had been made on achieving a truce in Ukraine, the first high-level talks between the two countries since Moscow invaded its neighbour.
The news: After their discussion in Turkey, Kuleba told reporters that the most serious situation was in the southern port of Mariupol, but that Lavrov had refused to commit to a humanitarian corridor there and that there had been no progress on reaching an agreement on a wider truce.
- “I made a simple proposal to Minister Lavrov: I can call my Ukrainian ministers, authorities, president now and give you 100 per cent assurances on security guarantees for humanitarian corridors,” he said.
- “I asked him ‘can you do the same?’ and he did not respond.”
- President Vladimir Putin would not refuse a meeting with his Ukrainian colleague Volodymyr Zelenskiy to discuss “specific” issues, Lavrov said at a separate news conference.
- Russia will never again rely on Western states or enterprises, according to Lavrov, who also stated that the West is using Ukraine to destabilise Russia and is causing a dangerous situation in the region that will last for many years.
- In response to Kyiv’s criticism of a maternity hospital bombing in Mariupol on Wednesday, Lavrov said the structure was no longer used as a hospital and had been captured by Ukrainian forces, while the Kremlin stressed the matter was being probed separately.
What’s going on: More than 2 million people have been displaced as a result of Russia’s invasion, according to the United Nations, in the fastest humanitarian crisis in Europe since World War II.
- To terminate the assault, Moscow has stated that all of its demands, including that Kyiv adopt a neutral stance and abandon its ambitions to join NATO, must be accomplished.
- Moscow describes its assault as a “special military operation” aimed at disarming Ukraine and removing “neo-Nazi” leaders. Kyiv and its Western allies dismiss this as a spurious justification for an unprovoked attack on a 44-million-strong democratic country.
- Turkey, which shares a Black Sea maritime border with both Russia and Ukraine and has strong relations with both, has condemned Russia’s incursion and urged for an immediate ceasefire, but has rejected sanctions against Moscow.
- Turkey has provided drones to Ukraine, angering Moscow, while building tight connections with Russia on energy, defence, and trade, and depending largely on Russian visitors.