Sunday, January 29

Russian foreign minister says Ukraine ceasefire was never going to be agreed upon during trilateral talks

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Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov talks to journalists during a news conference following a tripartite meeting with the Turkish and Ukraine Foreign Ministers in Antalya, Turkey, on March 10. (AP)
A ceasefire to the hostilities in Ukraine was never going to be agreed on Thursday during trilateral talks between Russia, Ukraine and Turkey, according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Speaking in a news conference in Antalya after the talks, Lavrov said he had warned his Turkish and Ukrainian counterparts that Russia did not want to create a “parallel track” to talks already taking place alongside the Belarusian border.

“It is there that all practical issues are discussed, it is there that it was explained in the most detailed way what needs to be done in order to end this crisis. This includes demilitarization and denazification and ensuring the neutral status of Ukraine,” Lavrov said, echoing rhetoric that Russian President Vladimir Putin has invoked to justify his invasion of Ukraine.

During the last round of Belarus talks, Russia presented Belarus with a draft legal document detailing “extremely specific considerations” with the Ukrainian side assuring that they would give answers, he said.

Russia wants to “have a serious conversation on the Belarusian site,” Lavrov said, stressing the country’s belief that the issue “should be resolved in the context of a comprehensive settlement of the Ukrainian crisis.”

The foreign minister added that he “wasn’t surprised” that Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said it wasn’t possible to reach a ceasefire during Thursdays talks.

“No one was going to agree on a ceasefire [at this meeting], these proposals and the sequence of steps outlined in these proposals are well known to the Ukrainian side,” the Russian foreign minister continued.

The parties “mainly talked about humanitarian issues at the initiative of our Turkish friends,” Lavrov added.

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