Antalya : Following a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Turkey’s Antalya, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dymtro Kuleba said on Thursday that the two nations have agreed to continue efforts to seek a solution to humanitarian issues as Moscow continues its war on Kiev.
This was the first face-to-face meeting between the two diplomats since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
Addressing a press conference, Kuleba said: “I’m ready to continue this engagement with the purpose of ending the war in Ukraine, stopping the suffering of Ukrainian civilians and liberating our territories from the Russian occupying force,” the BBC reported.
The Minister also highlighted two tasks of priority — organising a humanitarian corridor from Mariupol and reaching a 24-hour ceasefire.
He further expressed hope that Lavrov will urge authorities in Kremlin to enable the humanitarian corridor from Mariupol to start working.
Kuleba added that the war cannot be stopped if Russia does not want it, reports the BBC.
In his remarks at a separate presser, Lavrov said the discussions with his Ukrainian counterpart were mostly focused on the “initiative of our Turkish friends regarding humanitarian issues”.
He however, repeated Russian claims that “civilians are being used as hostages” by what he described as “so-called territorial defence forces”.
Lavrov added that Russia was continuing to operate humanitarian corridors for civilians to escape the besieged cities of Ukraine.
Regarding Russia’s “special operation” in Ukraine, the Minister said it is “proceeding to plan overall”.
Kuleba and Lavrov’s meeting came on the sidelines of an international forum in the presence of Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, reports Xinhua news agency.
While Ukrainian and Russian delegations have held three rounds of peace talks in Belarus since last week, the negotiations ended without any substantial progress on ending the conflict.