The foreign ministers of Ukraine and Russia failed to reach peace during the highest-level meeting in three weeks of war Thursday — as airstrikes continued to devastate the city of Mariupol, a day after a young girl was among three killed in a blown-up maternity hospital.
Ukraine’s Dmytro Kuleba admitted even before his meeting in Turkey with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Turkey that his expectation of an agreement was “low.”
Both made clear in dueling news conferences after the face-to-face that they had made no progress.
Kuleba said he failed to get a promise of a ceasefire so aid could reach civilians, including Kyiv’s main humanitarian priority — evacuating hundreds of thousands of people trapped in the besieged port of Mariupol.
In fact, airstrikes continued to blitz the city Thursday, according to the local council — a day after the devastating blast destroyed a maternity hospital, killing three, including a 6-year-old girl, and injuring 17 others.
Lavrov instead insisted that those killed were not civilians, even though one was a child and horrifying images captured heavily pregnant women covered in blood and being stretchered out of the carnage.
Despite that clear evidence, Lavrov insisted patients and nurses had been moved out of the hospital which was instead a base for Ukrainian far-right radical fighters.
Ukraine President Zelensky called Wednesday’s blast an “atrocity” and part of the Kremlin’s “genocide.”
Lavrov dismissed such criticism as “pathetic shrieks” from its enemies.
Lavrov showed no sign of making any concessions Thursday, repeating Russian demands that Ukraine be disarmed and accept neutral status.
He said Kyiv appeared to want meetings for the sake of meetings, and blamed the West for intensifying the conflict by arming its neighbor.
However, he claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin would be open to meeting Zelesnky — who the day before claimed his warmongering counterpart may soon be ready to negotiate.
“I think he sees that we are strong,” Zelensky told VICE News. “He will [negotiate]. We need some time.”
Proof of the peace talks failing appeared to come with further airstrikes Thursday, including in Mariupol, a city described as being “apocalyptic” and with so many dead many have been buried in mass graves.
“Right now in Mariupol there is an air attack by the Russian occupiers,” the city council said.
“Bombs hit homes. There are hits in the building of the Azov State Technical University in the city center. The bombing in the area of the Drama Theater was also recorded. Information about the victims is being clarified.”
With Post wires