Ukraine and Russia have failed in the high-level talk scheduled between Foreign Ministers of the respective nations, Dmytro Kuleba and Sergei Lavrov, who couldn’t reach an agreement on a ceasefire or creating a humanitarian corridor for Mariupol, the besieged Azov Sea port city, Newsweek reported.
Kuleba told a press conference on Thursday that no progress had been achieved in Turkey. However, the top Ukraine diplomat said that he was willing to continue talks with Lavrov in the same format and expressed hope there’d be progress in helping end the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
While Lavrov was not in a position to personally commit to creating a humanitarian corridor to evacuate those in Mariupol, he said he’d correspond with Russian authorities on the situation, Kuleba said.
Neither were the countries able to agree on a 24-hour ceasefire, and Kuleba suggested again that Lavrov wouldn’t commit to it.
Previously, Russia and Ukraine have already held a series of talks at the Belarus border, and while no ceasefire agreements were reached, the two sides had decided on setting up humanitarian corridors to allow the safe evacuation of citizens trapped in conflict regions.
Russia has seemingly gone back on its word since a previous evacuation from Mariupol had to be halted after the corridor came under Russian shelling. However, these talks between Kuleba and Lavrov shows some promise that both sides are keeping an avenue open for a diplomatic resolution to the situation.
Notably, the talks between the two took place after Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky said in an ABC News interview that the country was no longer insistent on joining NATO, the military organization whose eastward expansion has been worrisome to Moscow and Russia’s security, as per President Vladimir Putin’s claims. One of Russia’s initial demands was that Ukraine shouldn’t join NATO and the organization’s military presence in eastern Europe should be reduced.
With Zelensky all but capitulating to the first demand, Russia might be more open to reaching a mutual resolution with Ukraine.