Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, in Turkey on Thursday and discussed the possibility of a meeting between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Throughout the fighting in Ukraine, Zelensky has said he’s willing to meet with Putin. After Thursday’s talks, Lavrov said Putin wouldn’t “refuse” a meeting with the Ukrainian leader.
Kuleba said that the talks failed to make progress on establishing a ceasefire around the city of Mariupol. Both sides have accused the other of hampering civilian evacuations from the city. “We also talked on the ceasefire but no progress was accomplished on that,” Kuleba said.
The talks in Turkey were the highest-level meeting between the warring parties since Russia started its invasion. Three rounds of talks between lower-level Ukrainian and Russian officials have been held in Belarus, which made some progress on humanitarian corridors.
Russia has said that if Ukraine declares neutrality, recognizes Crimea as Russian territory, and recognizes the independence of the Donbas republics, it would stop its assault. Zelensky has signaled that he’s willing to negotiate neutrality and is open to discussing Crimea and Donbas.