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No cease-fire after meeting of Russian, Ukrainian diplomats

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba
Posted at 8:20 AM, Mar 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-10 08:20:45-05

ANTALYA, Turkey — Ukraine's foreign minister says talks between the top diplomats of Moscow and Kyiv produced no breakthrough on ending the war in Ukraine following Russia's invasion.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said he attended the meeting Thursday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Turkey to discuss humanitarian corridors and a cease-fire.

Kuleba said there are "other decision-makers" in Russia who need to be consulted, adding that he agreed with Lavrov to continue to seek a solution to humanitarian issues caused by the war.

He said Moscow is not ready to offer a cease-fire.

"They seek Ukraine's surrender. This is not going to happen," Kuleba said.

Kuleba said "the last thing" he wanted was to kill hope for Ukrainians seeking safe passage out of cities besieged by Russian bombardments and attacks.

During the talks on Thursday, Lavrov responded to criticisms of his country's airstrike on a Ukrainian maternity hospital as "pathetic shrieks" from its enemies.

Lavrov claimed the site had earlier been seized by Ukrainian far-right radical fighters who were using it as a base. Even though there were many images of civilians wounded in the attack and the city council said a child was among the three people killed, Lavrov claimed all the patients and nurses were moved of the hospital before the assault.

Lavrov said Russia was ready for more negotiations but showed no sign of softening Moscow's stance in the dispute.

The talks were the first high-level talks between the two countries since Russia invaded Ukraine two weeks ago. NATO member Turkey, which has cultivated close ties with both Russia and Ukraine, is trying to balance relations with both nations. It has positioned itself as a neutral party, seeking to facilitate negotiations between the warring sides.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who took part as a facilitator during Thursday's talks, said he had not expected "miracles" from the first meeting. Even so, he welcomed the fact that Lavrov and Kuleba spoke of the possibility of a meeting between the Ukrainian and Russian presidents — with Russia agreeing "in principle" to such a meeting.

The Turkish minister said that during the three-way talks, he pushed for a "sustainable cease-fire."

"Until that can be established, we stressed the need for humanitarian corridors to remain open...We especially stressed the need for humanitarian corridors in Mariupol," he said.