Turkey says Russia, Ukraine close on ‘critical’ issues

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Turkey says Russia, Ukraine close on 'critical' issues

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.


Get the latest updates in the Russia-Ukraine conflict with The Post’s live coverage.


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.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivers a video address in Kyiv.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivers a video address in Kyiv.
HANDOUT/UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SER/AFP via Getty Images
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks during a news conference following talks with the United Arab Emirates' Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Moscow, Russia March 17, 2022.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba met in the Turkish resort town of Antalya.
REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina/Pool
Russian invasion of Ukraine as of March 19, 2022.
Russian invasion of Ukraine as of March 19, 2022.

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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