Antalya, 10 March 2022 (TDI): The Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, Sergey Lavrov, and his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba held a meeting in Turkey, today. 

This is the first such high-level contact since Russia invaded Ukraine. The meeting was held on the sidelines of the Antalya Diplomacy Forum. The Russian and Ukrainian Foreign Ministers were joined by Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Prior to this, the Turkish Foreign Minister also held bilateral meetings with the Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba, and Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov respectively, ahead of the meeting.

During the meeting, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba highlighted the necessity for an immediate cease-fire, improvement of the humanitarian situation in Mariupol, Kharkiv, Sumy, Volnovakha, and other Ukrainian cities.

According to a statement by the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, for his discussions with Lavrov, Minister Kuleba also outlined the need for the withdrawal of Russian troops from the territory of Ukraine.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke to the press following the trilateral meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey and Ukraine. Russian Foreign Minister said that Kyiv will be evaluating a proposal by Russia.

The proposal is about how the ongoing hostilities between the two countries can be resolved. However, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister reiterated that his country does not intend to meet Russian demands.

Sergey Lavrov stated in the press conference that Russia agreed to these trilateral consultations because it aims to resolve issues related to the cause of the current Ukraine crisis.

It is pertinent to note that today’s meeting in Turkey’s city of Antalya was separate from the Belarus-hosted peace talks. The Belarus-hosted peace talks saw three rounds without any significant progress.

Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine on 24th February after consultations with its Security Council. Earlier, Russia also recognized the Republics of the Luhansk and Donetsk, much to the West’s chagrin. The Donetsk and Luhansk are a part of the Donbas region that is pro-Russia territory.

The tensions between Ukraine and Russia spiraled into an all-out war because of Ukraines’ pro-West approach that Russia considers a threat to its national interest. One of the main issues of contention between Russia and the EU/US/Ukraine is NATO’s beefed-up defenses in northeastern Europe and Ukraine’s intent to join NATO.