Latest News on Russian-Ukrainian War: Half of Kyiv’s Population Fleed, Mayor Says; Talks with Turkey end without progress on ceasefire | world news

Turkey was keen to promote the importance of what it called “tripartite” talks between Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, despite few results, reports Ruth Michaelson.

“It is significant that this meeting took place,” Çavuşoğlu told a press conference. “Both sides wanted Turkey to be present at this meeting.” Asked about the mood in the room, he said it “took place in a civilized manner. They didn’t raise their voices.

“I didn’t expect all demands to be met, some decisions can only be made at management level,” he added. “Of course, we couldn’t expect a miracle to come out of it, but it was significant because a political contact took place.”

In an interview with Turkish broadcaster TRT World immediately after the talks, Kuleba said he was surprised that Lavrov had not been empowered by the Kremlin to reach agreements on his demands for humanitarian corridors and a possible ceasefire. fire.

“He came to discuss but not decide,” he said. “I would like to congratulate Çavuşoğlu, who really did his best to facilitate the discussion, but I have the impression that Lavrov came to speak but not to decide, so we did not find common ground on these issues. I offered a number of solutions, but unfortunately he was unable to accept them, I feel like he had no authority to make decisions during these talks,” he said. he declared.

“I was surprised to hear that because I guess foreign ministers have the power to make decisions, the power to make deals. But it seems that, specifically for the first round of talks, Lavrov didn’t was not in that position,” he added.

Turkey has deep diplomatic and economic ties with Russia and Ukraine and has positioned itself as a neutral partner willing to retain the trust of both countries while maintaining its own international commitments as a NATO member. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is due to speak with US President Joe Biden later today, and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is due in Ankara next week.

Still, Turkey’s push for a diplomatic push is partly a self-preservation effort, as the war in Ukraine risks further endangering Turkey’s economy and perhaps even domestic politics. The country is currently going through a protracted economic crisis which saw the lira lose half of its value last year, and protests over rising energy costs and soaring inflation.

As a major buyer of Russian natural gas as well as Russian and Ukrainian wheat, Turkey’s economy is only becoming more vulnerable as the conflict in Ukraine continues. Many in Turkey expected Erdoğan to call a snap election later this year, which now seems uncertain as the country’s economy appears unlikely to recover as the government had previously hoped.

“We don’t have to take sides in the war; on the contrary, we are a country that can establish an equal dialogue with both parties to end it. We cannot afford to take sides,” Çavuşoğlu told Turkish TV channel Habertürk earlier this month when asked about international sanctions against Russia.

Turkey worked to assert its alliances with Russia and Ukraine even before the Russian invasion, including a visit by Erdoğan to Kiev in early February. Turkish officials have since stressed that they have remained neutral, despite a steady stream of footage released by Ukraine’s Defense Ministry showing Turkish Bayraktar TB2 drones attacking Russian artillery columns. Ukraine recently received a new batch of drones last week, according to Ukrainian officials.

Çavuşoğlu and Kuleba stressed that they are open to further talks if the Russian side agrees. “Turkish diplomacy has succeeded in what others have not been able to, bringing us together for the first meeting between Ukrainian and Russian foreign ministers in years, especially since the start of the conflict,” Kuleba said.

Çavuşoğlu also raised the possibility of a direct meeting between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin either in Belarus or Turkey. “Lavrov said that Putin was not against such a meeting in principle,” he said.

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