Russia and Ukraine, mediation of Turkey

Turkey proposes Russia and Ukraine a humanitarian corridor through Istanbul

The plan, mediated by Turkey, includes an agreement between Russia and Ukraine to reunite unaccompanied minors with their families.

Turkey’s Ombudsman, Şeref Malkoç, has proposed to his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts to create a humanitarian corridor for wounded soldiers and civilians trapped on the front lines that could pass through Istanbul, according to the Turkish daily Hürriyet.

The idea of a humanitarian corridor through Istanbul will also be discussed shortly by Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan in talks that he plans to hold soon with Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky; even so, Malkoç would have proposed to the ombudsmen of both countries that they previously speak with their presidents to try to convince them of the suitability of the project, according to the Turkish newspaper.

The idea would have stemmed from a request made 3 months ago by UNICEF to the Turkish Ombudsman’s Office, in which it requested this Turkish institution to act as a mediator for unaccompanied minors as a result of the war in Ukraine. To achieve this, the Turkish Ombudsman contacted his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts and made them a proposal, which included both the tracing of orphaned minors and a mutual exchange.

Although the Russian and Ukrainian ombudsmen initially welcomed the proposal and discussed it with their respective governments, due to the evolution of the conflict the final agreement has been delayed over time. Finally, the Ukrainian Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets and the Russian Tatyana Moskalkova were able to meet last week in Ankara within the framework of the International Conference of Ombudsmen held in the Turkish capital.

For now, the ombudsmen of Ukraine and Russia have already held eight meetings thanks to the mediation of Turkey, not only to reunite unaccompanied minors with their families, but also to establish a humanitarian corridor through Istanbul, in a plan that would take place in three phases. To date, Kyiv has reportedly submitted a list of 800 people for the exchange, while Moscow has reportedly proposed 200 names. The plan also includes the exchange of about 40 prisoners including civilians and military.