Russia and Ukraine ‘close to an agreement’ in negotiations, says Turkey | Russo-Ukrainian War

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Turkey’s foreign minister said that although the negotiations were “not easy”, there is “momentum” towards agreement on key points.

Turkey said Russia and Ukraine had made progress in their negotiations to end the war and that the two sides were “close to an agreement”.

Russian forces invaded Ukraine on February 24, with President Vladimir Putin calling his country’s actions a “special operation” designed to demilitarize Ukraine and purge it of what he considers dangerous nationalists. Ukraine and the West say Putin launched a war of aggression by choice.

“Of course, it’s not an easy thing to accept while the war is going on, while civilians are being killed, but we would like to say that the momentum is still going,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said. in Sunday live commentary in Antalya province in southern Turkey.

“We see that the parties are close to an agreement.”

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, center, chairs a tripartite meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, right, in Antalya, Turkey, March 10 2022 [File: Cem Ozdel/Turkish Foreign Ministry via AP Photo]

Cavusoglu said Turkey was in contact with the two countries’ negotiating teams, but he refused to divulge details of the talks because “we are playing an honest role of mediator and facilitator”.

In an interview with the Hurriyet daily, presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said the parties were negotiating six points: Ukraine’s neutrality, disarmament and security guarantees, so-called “denazification”, removal of obstacles to the use of the Russian language in Ukraine. , the status of the separatist republics of the Donbass region and the status of Crimea annexed by Russia in 2014.

Both Ukraine and the West have dismissed Russian references to “neo-Nazis” in Ukraine’s democratically elected leadership as baseless propaganda.

Need for “meaningful” discussions

Foreign Ministers Sergei Lavrov of Russia and Dmytro Kuleba of Ukraine met in the Turkish resort town of Antalya earlier this month with Cavusoglu also present. The discussions did not lead to concrete results.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has repeatedly called for peace, urging Russia to agree to “meaningful” talks to end the invasion.

“It’s time to meet, to talk, time to renew territorial integrity and fairness for Ukraine,” he said, in a video posted on social media on Saturday.

Turkey has said it is ready to host a meeting between Zelenskyy and Russian President Vladimir Putin. “We are working day and night for peace,” Cavusoglu said on Sunday.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly said Turkey will not abandon relations with Russia or Ukraine, saying Ankara’s ability to talk to both sides is an asset.

Ankara has not sanctioned Russia or closed its airspace but has closed the Turkish Strait connecting the Black Sea to the Mediterranean, which affects access for Russian warships except those returning to port.

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