(Antalya) Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba arrived in Turkey for the first meeting on Thursday at this level since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.
Officials from Kyiv and Moscow have already met several times, but this is the first time that Russia has sent a minister for discussions on this crisis.
Dmytro Kuleba arrived in Antalya (south) “for discussions on a cessation of hostilities and an end to the war waged against Ukraine by Russia”, tweeted the spokesperson for the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday evening.
A Turkish official confirmed with AFP the arrival of Sergei Lavrov.
Talks between Kyiv and Moscow have so far resulted in several local ceasefires and the opening of humanitarian corridors to evacuate residents, but Russia has been accused of violating those agreements.
Kuleba said in a Facebook video that his expectations were “limited” as Russia maintains a brutal bombing campaign and siege of major cities.
He said the success of the talks would depend “on the instructions and guidelines given to Lavrov” by the Kremlin.
“I don’t pin high hopes on them, but we will try to make the most of the talks with effective preparation, he said.
These discussions illustrate the efforts of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to play a mediating role since the beginning of the crisis.
“We are working to prevent this crisis from turning into a tragedy,” Erdogan said on Wednesday.
“I hope the meeting between ministers will pave the way for a permanent ceasefire. »
The Russian and Ukrainian ministers will be joined in the meeting on Thursday morning by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, with Turkey, a NATO member, keen to maintain strong relations with both sides despite the conflict.
It is Lavrov’s first trip abroad since Russia was hit with harsh Western sanctions that also directly targeted him.