Ukraine’s foreign minister accused his Russian counterpart of repeating the speech of the Kremlin and Putin. “We will not surrender,” he said
The long-awaited meeting in Turkey between the Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers, Sergei Lavrov and Dmytro Kuleba, mediated by the Turkish foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, ended without progress towards the goal of reaching a ceasefire in a war that has caused in two weeks more than two million refugees.
Çavuşoğlu, who before the trilateral meeting held two bilateral meetings in the Turkish city of Antalya with Lavrov and Kuleba, insisted during the first face-to-face meeting between the foreign ministers of Ukraine and Russia that the humanitarian corridors must remain open and unhindered.
Although Kuleba said after the meeting that “there was no progress” in the negotiations with Russia, Lavrov assured that Moscow wants to continue negotiations with the Kyiv government. For his part, Çavuşoğlu stressed that the meeting was cordial and calm despite the current situation and difficulties, and insisted that the most important thing was for both ministers to establish face-to-face contact. “Turkey is one of the countries that Ukraine looks to as a guarantor of a possible agreement towards a lasting peace,” the Turkish minister said.
“It’s been a difficult meeting,” says Ukrainian foreign minister
Speaking after the trilateral meeting in Antalya, Kuleba told reporters that the most difficult situation is currently in the city of Mariupol, where Lavrov did not want to commit to establishing a humanitarian corridor to evacuate civilians. “Unfortunately, Mr. Lavrov was not in a position to compromise,” Ukraine’s foreign minister explained, adding that his Russian counterpart will forward the request to Moscow.
“We also talked about a ceasefire, but no progress was made on that,” Kuleba continued, describing the meeting with his Russian counterpart as “difficult”, accusing Lavrov of attending the meeting in Antalya with “the usual arguments”. “It seems that those who make the decisions on this issue in Russia are others,” Kuleba said, in an apparent reference to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
According to Kuleba, everything indicates that Russia will continue its offensive in Ukraine and try to take Kyiv by surrender, something that, assured the Ukrainian foreign minister, is not going to happen. “We will not surrender,” the minister repeated on several occasions. “I want to repeat that Ukraine has not surrendered, is not surrendering, and will not surrender,” Kuleba insisted, stressing that while Ukraine is ready for diplomacy, it is also ready to defend itself.
Commenting on his impressions of the difficult meeting with Lavrov, Kuleba said that he had left with the feeling that Russia is currently not in a position to establish a ceasefire after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and accused Lavrov of not acting as corresponds to a foreign minister. However, Kuleba was willing to meet with him again “if there are prospects of an important discussion, and that solutions are going to be sought.”
“We are ready for diplomacy, we seek diplomatic solutions, but while there are none, we come with dedication, sacrificing ourselves, to defend our land, our people, against Russian aggression,” insisted Kuleba, who had words of gratitude for the role played by Turkey. “Turkish Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu has shown great professionalism in trying to find a solution to the crisis,” he stressed.
Lavrov: “The behaviour of the West in Ukraine is dangerous”
For his part, Lavrov, in a separate press appearance, said he had presented Russia’s proposals to his Ukrainian counterpart during the meeting, adding that the Russian government is now waiting for a response. The Russian foreign minister also accused the West of behaving dangerously in the conflict with Ukraine, adding that the “Russian military operation” in that country is proceeding according to the plan envisaged by the Kremlin.
Lavrov, who accused the EU and other countries of “dangerously” supporting the shipment of arms to Ukraine, assured that the West is creating a risk in the region that will persist for many years, adding that those who are sending weapons and mercenaries to Ukraine must be aware of the seriousness of their actions, which he said are “a violation of everything they call their principles and values.”
The Russian foreign minister insisted that Moscow is willing to continue the dialogue with Ukraine within the current format of talks that are being held in Belarus, implying that the meeting in the Turkish city of Antalya has been a failure. “Today’s meeting confirmed that the format of Russian-Ukrainian negotiations in Belarus has no alternative,” he stressed.
“Only the West speaks of a nuclear war”
At his press conference in Turkey, the Russian foreign minister also assured that Vladimir Putin is willing to meet with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy to discuss “specific” issues of the conflict”. Regarding the possibility of a third world war or a nuclear conflict, Lavrov said: “I don’t want to believe that… Only the authorities of the West have raised the idea of a nuclear war in their public speeches.”
Did you like it?
As a history lover, Pablo was captivated by Turkey from the first day he visited it in 2006: he got married there, has a house there… and has since become an expert on Turkey’s current affairs. With a long experience in media, he has been at the helm of hispanatolia.com since 2011, and now also of anatoliatoday.com